LATAM SaaS gains traction in the UK
Company: Chilean startup
Industry/Sector: SaaS and Online Marketing
Target: UK market
Back in 2010, a Chilean entrepreneur working on his new market place made a discovery: the algorithm he had developed could organically improve how most of the products listed in his platform ranked on the main search engines. Based on the relevance of some keywords and the best SEO practices, his algorithm could get incredible results in a fraction of the time it would take using SEO alone. After loads of testing and fine tuning for a few years, he finally registered his Intellectual Property in 2014, found a business partner and the fun began.
They started marketing their new platform in Latin America and the service was well received, signing big marketing agencies and names like Coca Cola, Fox and Nokia. Fuelled by this success, they decided to venture into Europe.
First problem: fierce resistance from SEO experts. SEO advisors play an influential role in the digital marketing industry, mainly because of the complexity of SEO practices these days, but also because of the time it takes to generate tangible results. When confronted with a new platform they haven't heard of before (and don't fully understand), these "experts" would first disbelieve the facts: our client generates results in a fraction of the time SEO alone does. And then, they would play hardballs in order to discredit our Client's innovation: "I don't know what this technology does, but I'm afraid Google may penalise our customers for using it".
Second problem: stereotyping and cultural mismatch. This is something we encounter more often than you may think. In northern Europe, Latin Americans come across as easy going people that don't take time seriously and often bend the rules. So, for digital marketing agencies, it is hard to trust a platform their SEO advisors don't understand and even harder if it comes from a Latin American entrepreneur.
Aconcagua Partners' intervention
This Client came to us seeking advice to register the company in the UK. We took them under our Soft Landing programme, created a vehicle in the UK, opened a bank account, provided basic fiduciary services and off they went to sell their services in Europe. Fast forward 16 months, they had some traction in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, etc.), but non in the UK. We suspected the second problem mentioned above was playing a role in Northern Europe, but we could see the competitive edge they had, so we upgraded this Client to our Business Venture programme in 2019. We cracked on with a bit of research to identify early adopters for this service. After some interaction we saw a pattern and the problems mentioned above became evident: our Client wasn't inspiring trust in the UK target audience, the image they projected was their weakest point.
We overhauled the market entry strategy, fine tuned pricing and the invoicing process, did some further client segmentation and created new business models for the new segments. We took the basic sales collateral our Client had at the time and consulted a copyrighter that helped us explain the way the platform worked and better articulate the message. We also worked with some designers to improve the visual of the colateral. Towards the end of 2019 we identified and targeted more than 500 marketing agencies in London and by the first quarter of 2020 we were finally beginning to see the first signs of traction in the UK.
If you are a LATAM startup with a unique value proposition that wants to venture into the European market, contact Aconcagua Partners. We are certain we can help you.