Which Way To Go?

Expanding into… the UK or USA?

Jayride might sound like another ride-sharing and carpooling start up, but it’s unique angle was to provide a single interface for finding all transport options, including commercial transport, and combining that data with the available ride-sharing options. As well as rideshare, Jayride shows you bus schedules, shuttles, relocation cars, and other road transportation options. Having conquered Australia, Rob was looking at phase 2 – overseas.

The UK looked like a good market for phase 2 of Jayride – there were large music events and beer drinking festivals where the local authorities wanted people to share transport options. There was lots of information available from transport providers but nothing to link it all together.  The next phase of expansion into Europe would require more work – the whole site would need to be translated into French and German (at the very least) and a local flavour added.

On the North-eastern side of the USA there was a lot of traffic between Washington, New York and Boston and airports are a long way from city centres. There was a very large population so this is another ideal location to start phase 2. Plus the option to expand into the rest of America area by area across to San Francisco seemed straight forward.

The conversation got me thinking about the expansion issue in general. Here we were looking about just the UK and USA. Other companies would be looking at any of the 200 countries in the world. So how would you compare the opportunities? How would you enter the market? Does it make sense to run it all from Australia, run a remote call centre, or hire people locally? What about control? What about local advice? What about monitoring? How do you reach local decision makers? And who are the local decision makers?

With so many disparate considerations, I think the only way to reach a conclusion would be to use a tool such as the Decision Matrix. So what might the matrix look like for the location for Jayride’s next office?

  Local Remote call centre Australia
Office location Control difficult Control difficult Easy control
Native language English Not English English
Legal system Local & Australia Three jurisdictions Local & Australia
Local knowledge Excellent Poor Poor
Monitoring Difficult Difficult Easy
Access to local decision makers Good Very difficult Difficult
Face time Difficult Difficult Easy
Expansion options Depends on local conditions. UK poor, USA good. Additional training Reasonable
Cost (excluding cost of errors) UK – getting cheaperUSA – high High when management time included. Low
Cost of errors Expensive High Low


So what do you think? What was the obvious consideration that I missed? Please post your comments below.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Statistically, AU/NZ firms do better when going to UK/Canada … however that was based on historical industrial/services firms and not the more location agnostic internet. Based on my own observations there are at least 3 generic overseas expansion models that could work:

    a) sell out to a larger firm with the bigger footprint
    b) franchise model
    c) mini-MNC with research, HQ and sales/operations scattered in all the markets.

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