The importance of local knowledge cannot be underestimated, according to one of New Zealand’s most dynamic fintech firms that have expanded into the UK.
Richard Eaddy founder and CEO of Hedgebook told a recent webinar how important he believed it was to get the right advice on UK business culture, law, and regulations before embarking on an expansion effort.
“Hedgebook is a fintech business that develops software for companies to do their foreign exchange and interest rate hedging and commodity risk for SMEs. We started six or seven years ago and established a footprint in NZ and Australia,” he said.
Four years ago we decided the big opportunity for Hedgebook didn’t lie in the typical next step – Australia – but it was in fact the UK. “We were fortunate that we could engage people there to help us validate the idea. So, on the back of positive feedback, I packed my bags and moved to the UK three years ago,” he said.
“The first thing is that if you are looking to go to the UK then get as much sorted out and in place, before you go, Eaddy told the audience of startups, advisers and representatives from regulators in the UK, Australia, and NZ. “So we were referred to Paul by PwC here in NZ and that was a cost-effective solution. We tried to set up as much as we could and it was so important to get that done.”
“That means putting in place things like the bank account, getting the company incorporated, and so on. Paul did all that and we’ve come to rely on him a lot for those things.”
Given that Hedgebook in NZ is owned by a family trust that can be difficult to translate to the UK. “So we started the process of transitioning to a bank account with Paul here, and if we’d stuck at it we probably could have got there but we use Paul’s client trust account, and that works just as well. So if you’ve got family trust shareholders it can be difficult to set up banking in the UK so good advice is really important.”
Eaddy had some clear advice for his compatriots considering the UK move:
“Getting your ducks in line is really important. So if someone asked me now what the key to successfully setting up in the UK, I’d say it’s about having someone senior in place to get things going on the ground. And then using organizations like DIT and NZTE to access all the good things they provide can really help, as well as looking to partner with other firms that can open doors.”
And three years on Hedgebook is now well established, having deliberately changed tack and followed a channel partner strategy instead, dealing with currency brokers, audit firms, and banks. And like most firms in that position, it took a while to get traction, but we got there in the end, and now we employ people and have some profile. And we’ve never looked back.”
Paul has helped numerous companies from NZ and beyond to smooth their journey to UK success. For more information on what Paul Beare Ltd can do for your businesses, just get in touch.