NewsGator Enterprise RSS In Japan

NewsGator announced today that it has partnered with GMO Internet Group to provide a localized, hosted version of NewsGator Enterprise in the Japanese market.  I’ve been impressed with GMO – they’ve also partnered with FeedBurner on the Japanese version of FeedBurner.

Geographic expansion, especially for young fast growing companies, especially in Asia, is tough.  After spending time in Europe last month, I heard the same thing over and over from the VCs and entrepreneurs that I spoke with – namely “the biggest weakness of US companies is they come over here thinking that everything works the same way, but it doesn’t.”  This wasn’t just aimed at “US is different than Europe” – it was a bigger statement – namely even thought there is an EU, each country is different.  I’ve heard this for a decade, seen the downside of this many times, and believe it continues to be a very true statement.

Now – this conversation is nothing new in the world of VC-backed companies.  I’ve been through the “let’s expand to Europe and Asia immediately” cycle, capitulated in the delightful 2001 – 2003 time frame (Europe / Asia – where are they again?), and now am faced with “The World Is Flat – we’ve got to go to Europe and Asia.”  While I don’t resist the “we’ve got to go to Europe and Asia”, I’ve learned from my experiences (good and bad) that the “how” is what is important.  In the case of NewsGator, a big part of the how is with partners, including VNU in Europe and GMO in Japan.

This announcement also has another little nugget – the product that GMO and NewsGator will be releasing together in the Japanese market is a hosted version of the NewsGator Enterprise product.  Geographic partners usually know their market entry strategies best – it’s important to listen to them.

  • Is NewsGator still offering NGES in a hardware appliance configuration?

  • Dave Jilk

    I’d claim also that the “why” question is also important in overseas expansion.

    Bad (but common) reasons why:

    – We need to check this box to raise our next round of financing
    – Somebody on the team has international experience
    – Our traction is slower than planned in the US so we need to make up the difference somewhere
    – Potential distributors are beating our doors down
    – CEO or someone else gets ego trip from it and/or likes to travel overseas

    Good Reasons Why:

    – (this is also about WHEN) Product is PROVEN successful in domestic market with multiple major player references; domestic marketing & sales pipeline mathematics are reasonably well-understood and sales/marketing management is strong and stable; and a serious assessment that overseas markets are READY for the product has been performed.
    – The product is a flop in the US but there is a good reason to believe that it will be more successful overseas (important to give up on US in this case).
    – A major, well-known player has a serious interest in distribution at a reasonably high exective level and is willing to help finance the effort.

  • Charlie – NGES is still sold the same way it has been – no changes there, although look for some announcements soon on Greg Reinacker’s blog.

    Dave – all great comments.

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