Facing the regulatory challenges of a new market

When you’re building a new, scalable product, you want to think big. There is a massive global market for technology platforms and tools, a market that can allow companies to grow from a garage in a suburban home to a billion dollar size and a mission that can transform entire economies. But the challenge for every single scaleup is that growth isn’t dependent simply on finding funding, finding customers, and finding a path to the market – it’s dependent on facing down the legal and regulatory requirements that must be navigated to reach that international scale. 

Conquering and owning a domestic market isn’t an easy step on its own. The local rules and regulations are extensive, wherever you’re located. For companies based in Australia and the UK, there are systems and processes and laws governing not just the structures of how companies and entities are set up, but overseeing every industry and vertical. 

In FinTech companies, this is perhaps more important than in any other space. The financial industry is tightly controlled – and rightly so, because the wider impacts of bad actors can have a devastating effect. But that regulatory barrier means that new starters are often behind the eight ball from the beginning. To build your initial product and gain your first users and customers is difficult enough; but the real test of your scaleup’s ability to become a long term growth enterprise comes when you look to the next market. 

When you scale into a new market, you start from square one.

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve navigated the legal requirements for your company and product at home. You’re starting from scratch in each new market, because you’re facing new sets of rules, in entirely new scenarios. The work you’ve done before won’t necessarily be able to be copied and pasted. It has to be rewritten and rebuilt from the ground up. 

The old mantra of “move fast and break things” doesn’t always apply when you’re talking about laws that can have a real world impact on your business as a whole, laws that aren’t designed to be bent or ignored. 

A split system means a split problem 

At FD Global, one of the biggest hurdles faced by the scaleups we work with is expanding into the United States market, where they face both a new state system and a new federal system, disconnected and un-unified and generally unforgiving of newcomers. The complexities of the split system are an initial problem many startups fail to solve, even before drilling down to running and operating in each. 

The best solution is to find local knowledge, local connections, and homegrown expertise that you can tap into, rather than attempting to become instant domain experts on your own. We tend to focus on the practical insights into company structures, industry regulations and even accounting requirements, rather than looking at abstract concepts around growth, because we know that any success in the States has to be built on a solid foundation.

We believe that by helping FinTech companies build human bridges, we’re able to open up the US as a viable expansion option, where it might previously have been too difficult to attempt.