This local tech startup is jumping into the trillion dollar export market


ExportAbroadWhen starting a company and launching a new product, one of the key challenges is determining where the appetite will be most receptive, geographically speaking.

Oftentimes, focusing on the correct target regions can be the difference between success and failure.

In the past, businesses and entrepreneurs have typically turned to export consultants in order to survey the ~2 trillion dollar export landscape and gain an idea of where a particular good or service might sell.

However, Export Abroad, a startup out of Minneapolis, has developed software that automates this process, delivering insights for exporters without necessitating the extensive research or expensive consulting that is usually involved.

“We have a big data market research tool for exporters,” says Austin Grandt. “We can tell you where you should be selling your specific product in a matter of seconds.”

Grandt started the company along with fellow cofounder Willy Hakizimana after the two met last summer. They hammered out the idea in December and are now completely immersed, with both partners committed full-time to their new venture.

The mobile-friendly web app uses product codes and international data to quickly generate a list of countries ranked by market potential. Economic demand, taxes/tariffs and trend statistics are all made available, helping inform decisions when branching out into the global marketplace.

The founders of Export Abroad say that their target market, for now, is export consultants, noting that the tool “basically cuts their work from six hours to a couple minutes.” In the big picture, professionals in that field may go from loving to hating this innovation.

“In the long-term, they’re not going to like us removing that veil of secrecy that has prevailed for so long,” says Hakizimana.

Export Abroad has been in a private beta stage and is preparing to take that public. They’re not generating revenues yet but have commitments from several companies to buy the product. Ultimately, the monetization strategy will involve serving up a limited number of data points for free, and then requiring that users pay for a subscription to dig deeper and get at the “nitty-gritty data.”

The startup raised about $30,000 from friends and family but is mostly self-funded. Grandt and Hakizimana say that this initial offering is only the beginning, and that their goal is to eventually bring a “plethora of tools” to anentire  industry that hasn’t adopted tech in the same way as many others in the B2B sphere.

“The market research tool will act as a catalyst to gain interest for everything else,” Grandt says. “This definitely isn’t the most glamorous industry but it’s a really big one with a lot of pains.”