Software firm takes on export barriers

By Helen Twose

World Wide Access founder Paul Grey says he has an appreciation for the vast opportunities in big markets overseas.
World Wide Access founder Paul Grey says he has an appreciation for the vast opportunities in big markets overseas.

World Wide Access founder Paul Grey has overseen the creation of a software system that links shoppers on popular online e-commerce sites with local brands.

Through his involvement with Peace Software, sold in 2006 to a NYSE-listed company, Grey had spent years breaking into the American market.

"If there was one thing that I knew it was that I had this appreciation for the vast opportunities in big markets overseas," Grey said.

The traditional path for New Zealand exporters is to get on a plane and set up in-market, find a local distributor or attempt to sell directly online, he said.

Instead the 30 or so companies that have signed up with World Wide Access help fill a container with New Zealand goods.

World Wide Access takes care of distributions to warehouse locations, carrying out shopping promotions, completing the online transaction and dispatching the goods overnight to shoppers.

Grey is hoping to tap the $1 million in investment capital on offer through the University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge.

One of five finalists, Grey said he has keenly followed the business competition since its inception in 2009, around the same time he formed World Wide Access.

New Zealand firms can use a mobile sales dashboard - OrderPipe.com - to tap into the World Wide Access operational systems and track real time sales.

Grey said it gets the product to market five times faster, cuts out 90 per cent of the cost and gives the exporter much greater visibility on sales.

"For a lot of New Zealand businesses, going into a big export market means betting everything on an opportunity and it's just a chance, so do you risk everything you've built for one shot at a big market: yes or no?

"A lot of people say no and that is one of the many barriers to entry, the risk that is implied in trying to get going in an export market, and that's what we're cutting through really."

Grey is currently focused on a pilot programme selling New Zealand products on Amazon China.

India is likely to be the next market on the hit list.

- NZ Herald

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