4 ways to find companies looking to expand overseas

| Hannah Skingle

Category: Product, Scaleups

Many of our clients use the Beauhurst platform to find promising early stage companies that they can support through their next stages of growth. One of the biggest steps in a company’s growth journey is expansion into international markets, a move that often requires the help and expertise of numerous advisers, agencies and investors.

There are a number of indicators that imply a company intends to set up teams and open offices abroad, whether that be an outright public announcement or a more subtle change in business activity. We collect a variety of data points that can reveal these intentions, and provide users with powerful tools to easily find and keep track of them on the Beauhurst platform. In this post, we’ve outlined four of these methods. Let us know if you can think of any others, whether you’re a user of the platform or not!

1. Keep an eye on public announcements and rumours

Some companies may be very vocal about their ambitions to operate on a global level, especially those that are selling direct to consumers and are cultivating a transparent brand. For example, Monzo has laid their product roadmap for their US expansion completely bare on a public trello board, allowing anyone to vote on the features they would like to see built next. Most companies will present their plans in a more reserved manner, via press releases or senior leadership interviews.

Using Beauhurst’s Advanced Search tool, you can identify companies that have been featured in an article which also mentions a particular country, region or even a specific phrase like ‘international expansion’. This method casts a fairly wide net, but can be a great place to find the high-growth companies that are publicly speaking about expanding overseas, or are being rumoured to.

Beauhurst search for companies expanding abroad

Create a Collection from your search and you can choose to receive a notification to your inbox when a new company meets the criteria, so you can get a new list of new leads on a daily or weekly basis – whatever fits best with your workflow.

News artixles about international expansion

2. Look out for recent fundraisings with foreign investors

Going global is, like many startup activities, capital intensive. Many companies will secure equity fundraisings a few months prior to an international launch in order to fund the operation. A fundraise that is backed by foreign investors acts as an even stronger indication of plans to expand overseas, as foreign investors can better advise on the business environment in their home locations, and introduce their portfolio companies to local contacts.

For example, in May 2014, whilst operating solely within the UK, Deliveroo raised a £2.7m equity round backed by all British investors (Hoxton Ventures, Index Ventures and JamJar Investments). In January 2015 the company raised again, this time with participation from Belgian Hummingbird Ventures, as well as US firm Accel, which operates globally. Three months later and it officially launched in Paris and Berlin before rolling out across larger areas of Europe. So it seems that bringing these foreign investors on board in January helped enable the company to launch abroad in April.

Investment into deliveroo January 2015

How can you utilise this knowledge? Our Advanced Search allows you to narrow down a list of companies by the type and location of their funders, the relative dates of their latest raise and even the proposed use of funding rounds (where it’s been announced).

Companies backed by foreign investors

3. Check the volume of direct exports

Within financial statements submitted to Companies House, a business declares the value of its exports to other countries. When this value becomes significant and is growing quickly between financial years, there’s fairly good reason for the team to be considering a dedicated team and office that’s based abroad.

volume of exports may indicate a company is opening a new office abroad

4. See what languages are being used on the website

If we pick up on foreign languages being used on company websites, then this shows some intention to appeal to an international market. You can search across companies using specific languages on their website within the Advanced Search Tool.

Fintech company Revolut provides services to residents in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. This is reflected in the languages used on its website.

languages used on Revolut's website

‘HREF’ refers to a piece of code that tells Google which language is being used, so it can show the relevant page for users, depending on which language their search query uses.

Want to try it for yourself?

If you’d like access to the data and tools you need to carry out these searches, track the progress of the resulting companies, and see verified contact details for the key stakeholders, then just click this button.