Strategies Behind UK Tech Companies’ Global Growth

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 offers a revealing glimpse into the driving forces behind the remarkable growth of the UK’s leading tech firms.


With an average compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 107% between 2017 and 2020, the 2021 cohort presents a compelling case study. The successful expansion into overseas markets is among the key catalysts for this growth surge.


Choosing the Right Market – 


The United States often emerges as the primary target for UK tech ventures venturing abroad. With the world’s largest GDP, a shared language, and a reputation as a trendsetter, the US presents an enticing landscape for expansion. Grubin notes, “A lot of our first-to-market innovations have come from the US,” citing examples like sampling through Snapchat. However, with Asia’s economic ascendancy, markets like China, Japan, and South Korea are increasingly gaining traction for UK tech firms, despite the added challenges of language and cultural differences.


Targeting the US First and Acting Early – 


The US remains a magnet for expansion, evident in the growing number of UK companies establishing a presence there. Winners of the Fast 50 exhibit notably accelerated growth with US offices, underlining the strategic importance of targeting this market. Grubin’s experience underscores the significance of early entry, citing how his Newcastle-based firm’s growth in the US outpaced its UK counterpart. Similarly, Wireless Logic’s expansion mirrored the global proliferation of IoT, aligning with the needs of its multinational clientele.


Leadership on the Ground – 


Traditionally, global expansion was deemed a risky endeavour reserved for mature businesses. Yet, the landscape is evolving, with burgeoning UK enterprises venturing into new territories shortly after inception. A common thread among successful expansions is the involvement of senior leaders, often founders, who spearhead the foray into new markets. Grubin emphasises the pivotal role of founder-led initiatives, highlighting the necessity of personal commitment in navigating overseas expansion.


Tailoring Strategies to Individual Businesses – 


While global expansion is a common aspiration for tech companies, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. ClearBank’s journey illustrates the importance of timing, and waiting for substantial growth and maturity before venturing abroad. Similarly, Wireless Logic’s patience in assessing the US market’s readiness reflects the nuanced approach required for successful expansion. Each business must evaluate its unique circumstances and market dynamics to determine the optimal expansion strategy.


Embracing Global Opportunities – 


The UK tech scene boasts world-class entrepreneurship, as evidenced by the Fast 50 cohort’s consistent performance. With significant growth potential in global markets, UK tech firms are poised to seize international opportunities. Whether opting for early expansion or strategic patience, committed leadership remains paramount for navigating the complexities of global expansion.


As UK tech companies continue to thrive globally, the journey towards international expansion demands careful consideration and strategic alignment. With the right approach and leadership, these ventures can capitalise on the boundless opportunities awaiting them beyond domestic borders.


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Strategies Behind UK Tech Companies’ Global Growth

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