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Unlocking the Doors to Global Success

May 8, 2019

Susan Crawford is part of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Integrated Strategic Communications Team focused on showcasing America’s Export Experts and bringing to light useful and publicly available export insights.

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Gary Gysin, CEO of Liquid Robotics from 2016 – 2019

“If we get introduced to key partners, that is gold for a company like ourselves,” said Gary Gysin, CEO of Liquid Robotics from 2016-2019.

The small Sunnyvale, CA firm builds ocean-going robots that operate autonomously at sea, harnessing the ocean’s energy for propulsion and employing solar panels to power computer and communications systems. Liquid Robotics developed a new robotic technology and wanted to meet potential partners in as many countries as possible. With only 120 employees, the firm needed help to achieve its international goals and contacted the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) for assistance.

Small Company Achieves Worldwide Presence

The company has worked with the U.S. Commercial Service for approximately five years to expand into new global markets and is currently doing business in more than a dozen countries. International sales are very important to the firm and about 40 percent of its revenue now comes from abroad, balancing domestic and international cyclical events.

Gysin credits U.S. Commercial Service programs with assisting Liquid Robotics to expand sales and said that the company’s overseas partnerships and international revenue contributed to the firm’s recent acquisition by the Boeing Company.

Customized Export Programs = Keys to Success

We tailor our export programs to address each company’s specific needs and, early on, we worked with Liquid Robotics’ regional sales managers to identify high potential markets in several locations worldwide. Joanne Vliet, director of the U.S. Commercial Service Silicon Valley office, engaged our international network and arranged virtual briefings between the firm’s management and more than a dozen of our staff located in offices across Asia, Europe and the Middle East to discuss trends, local needs and competitive factors that would impact Liquid Robotics’ success in a particular location.

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CS Silicon Valley Director Joanne Vliet

“Developing global sales channels is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Just as each market is unique, so is a company’s approach to developing a new base of customers,” Vliet explained. “Our team of trade experts can advise and guide U.S. firms on suggested approaches for each market, deploying formal services, when needed, to support the company’s sales growth overseas.  It’s a privilege to support leading innovators like Liquid Robotics, to build traction for their sales abroad and contribute to the U.S. economy through exporting.”

After determining the appropriate priority markets, we launched a variety of different programs for Liquid Robotics, customized to their immediate needs in each market, using services such as the Gold Key Business Matchmaking Program, the International Company Profile and Single Company Promotion. Our local market experts identified, vetted and arranged face-to-face meetings in the targeted countries between Liquid Robotics’ executives and potential partners and stakeholders.

“In Indonesia they helped introduce us to key partners there that we are still working with years later and that are generating significant business opportunities for us,” Gysin said. “In Australia we’ve opened up an oil and gas market and an opportunity in the science community.”

If you are an exporter, you may have already identified a potential partner or agent, and instead require background information on that foreign company before making a final decision.  Or, you may want to hold a product launch or technical seminar in a foreign country. “In addition to identifying and vetting partners, and holding promotional events, we also guide companies on intellectual property rights protection, advocacy, financing mechanisms, public procurements, opening offices abroad and much more,” Vliet stated.

Advice for Exporters

Gysin shared some advice for other companies that are looking to expand their global presence, “I would highly recommend the U.S. Commercial Service. They can open doors that you can’t open. They have contacts that you don’t have. It has been fundamental to our growth.”