Can you tell us something about your company?
In the early and mid 90s, Chris Gerretsen had been working for several tech and software companies around Western Europe, Russia and the Asia Pacific region. Chris noticed that these were good companies with high-growth but they were just not able to scale outside of their own countries. The main things they were struggling with seem obvious in hindsight, but they didn’t speak the language, didn’t have the right contacts and didn’t know the local business culture. Some of the companies tried to spend their way out of the problem by renting office space, taking legal advice and hiring a local workforce. The trouble is that none of this investment provided these companies with what they needed and despite the money spent, many of them failed to get a positive ROI and some fell by the wayside altogether. It takes a special skillset to scale internationally. And this was the spark that provided Chris with his ‘eureka’ moment.
Aexus was established in 2000, with one, clear mission: To facilitate innovation and change by making tech companies successful. This would be achieved by focusing on new market entry consulting, business development and sales outsourcing for innovative tech and software companies.
Aexus was a small, highly specialized boutique sales consultancy and sales outsourcing company that worked primarily with software companies. Every year they helped tech disruptors to gain a foothold in the EU and US markets, building a good name for themselves in the process and now they are going from strength to strength.
Why did Aexus choose to open an office in Texas?
With direct flights to Amsterdam and a not too disruptive time difference, Houston was a very handy location in terms of being able to get to and being able to stay connected to. There were significant business benefits as well though. Not only are taxes and labor costs lower when compared to New York, Silicon Valley and San Francisco but Houston is also beginning to become recognized as a tech hub and is snapping at the heels of Austin. Obviously, some of the biggest tech giants have a base here but there are also a high percentage of start-ups and scale-ups, which are our ideal partners. This means there are many different, potential end-clients covering all sectors from petrochemicals and aviation to renewable energy and health tech. What’s more, Houston is home to some of the world’s best universities meaning that every year there are thousand of educated graduates entering the tech job market, giving companies their pick of Texas’ brightest and best. This is what made Texas and Houston in particular a no-brainer for us as a location.
Finally, as everyone knows, everything in Texas is bigger and that’s exactly what we intend to be next year.
What kind of advice can you give to Dutch entrepreneurs who want to do business in Texas?
Aexus has been well established in a number of countries for just over two decades now and the advice we would give to any Dutch entrepreneurs is exactly the same advice we give to our clients and the exact same advice we take for ourselves. Whether you’re setting up or scaling to a new country, a lot of the principles are the same. The first thing to do is research the market in your domain. Research is of paramount importance and will also give you an insight into your competition. With such a large region, it’s inevitable that you will find competition. Don’t let competition put you off, it is the surest way of proving there is a market for your product or service. You will also need to delve into the local culture. There will be different laws, taxes and nuances in the way that business is done that could make or break a deal if you’re not fully up to speed with local customs. This is why we always believe that it’s a good idea to have a local team on the ground. The team in each region are local, know the territory and have experience in the domain you work in. They are the ideal way to get your business up and running before you incur the costs of setting up an office, hiring staff and so on.
If you’d like to know more about Aexus and how we could benefit your business, get in touch, we’re always more than happy to jump on a call. You can also check us out at https://aexus.com, https://www.facebook.com/AexusHQ, or https://mk.linkedin.com/company/aexus