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G’day USA: Three high-growth businesses taking on the US market

Making the leap into the US market is a major goal for many Aussie businesses, and it’s easy to see why. The large audience and huge potential for growth are unparalleled to the Australian market, making the US a tempting second home. But to make the transition work over the long term, a combination of tenacity, a unique offering, and a deep understanding of the new market are required. 

The US alone is home to an estimated 60 million small businesses, a number that dwarfs the estimated two million in Australia. This fertile ground is proving ripe for a number of Australian businesses, with some, like Aussie-founded digital marketing agency King Kong, finding a slew of US clients before ‘officially’ launching in the US. 

King Kong tackles the world’s biggest market

King Kong has been crowned Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency on the AFR Fast Starters list and the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards and has been named the ninth fastest-growing SME by Smart Company. It is the 17th fastest-growing company in Australia across all industries.

The company has carved out a niche in a very fragmented industry by guaranteeing results – or they don’t get paid. 

“We have reached a stage where work coming in from overseas is tipping the scales with the overflow of clients we have here in Australia,” says King Kong founder Sabri Suby. “We already have clients in each of these continents, and so an official, global status update for King Kong was well overdue.”

G’day USA: Three high-growth businesses taking on the US market
King Kong founder and head of growth, Sabri Suby

However, Sabri is keen to stress the difference between a genuine overseas expansion and a half-baked attempt. “So many businesses make the mistake of slapping a couple of U.S.-based email addresses on the website, sticking one poor guy in a back room to deal with enquiries and calling it ‘global’. This is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.”

The key, says Sabri, is realising that every single market in the world is tackling the same problem. “Everything is centred around the fundamentals that all these businesses face,” he explains. “How do I get more customers?”

“The platforms that people are on also remain the same, thanks to Facebook and Google’s global footprint – they’re unavoidable, wherever you go – and there are billions of active users on these platforms.”

Breathe Education delivers Pilates education at scale

Pilates education company Breathe Education has similarly set its sights on expansion in the USA, looking to fill a gap in the Pilates market which is currently approximately five to ten years behind Australia’s retail Pilates industry. This presents a massive opportunity for the business to export its Australian expertise into the US market. 

Hiring its first US-based team member in mid-2020, the company now has educators based in California and Texas, with students based in California, Texas, Florida and New York. Breathe Education’s goal is to create and dominate a market for online pilates education in Australia and North America by the end of 2022. By the end of 2023, the goal is to become the number one Pilates educator in the USA.

G’day USA: Three high-growth businesses taking on the US market
Breathe Education CEO, Raphael Bender

And its international expansion continues despite the challenges of a global pandemic. Since its launch in Australia in 2009, the company has trained over 3,000 graduates across the USA, Australia, UAE and the Philippines. Breathe Education is the fastest-growing Pilates education company in the world, with 100% year on year growth since 2016. Its revenues currently sit at AUD 5.5M, with 36 full-time team members across the globe.

BaseUp addresses US parking challenges

Another Australian business, BaseUp, has been finding renewed opportunities in the US thanks to its unique, smart parking tech platform, which helps businesses save money on parking costs. 

BaseUp provides businesses with an easy-to-use desktop and mobile dashboard, which puts the control into the hands of their people – and their prospective teams – to manage the parking spots they are allocated. The innovative parking technology collects data on who, where, when and why spaces are being used to continuously drive parking efficiency, with little to no input required from HR or the C-suite, and helpful notifications that flag when spots are unfilled or at capacity.

Propelled by the pandemic and the growing need for solutions in Australian CBDs, BaseUp has been able to set its sights on US territory where parking problems present a similar challenge: lack of innovation. 

G’day USA: Three high-growth businesses taking on the US market
BaseUp founders, Jack Perkins, Alex Peck and Peter Carey

Jack Perkins, the co-founder of BaseUp, explains: “We identified an issue with commercial parking here in Australia and have the honour of working with some of Australia’s leading corporations to find solutions that work for them and to grow. 

“The same problems exist in the US. We are not alone in seeking ways to adapt to ‘new ways of working’, and we are excited to extend our expertise overseas to help provide solutions to a global problem.”

Austrade offers support to Australian exporters entering the USA:

Mr Tony Davis

Executive General Manager – The Americas

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

Email: info@austrade.gov.au

Contact: 13 28 78

Read more: Australian exporters continue to target the world’s largest economy

Read more: New Zealand: Aussie exporters’ number one destination

Read more: The UK: Aussie exporters discover new opportunities in a familiar market

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Clare Loewenthal

Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.

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