With the support of DIT, RouteShoot has reimagined the possibilities for its geo-referencing app, successfully entering new industries and new markets and now securing 60% of sales from export.
For Gary Wilson, a hot and stuffy August bank holiday weekend spent in a car, with a colleague, filming the North Circular road was the unlikely inspiration behind RouteShoot Limited.
RouteShoot is the latest innovation in geo-referenced video, route tracking and collaborative working. The RouteShoot smartphone application and a dedicated website, make it possible for users to share their geo-referenced video with colleagues, customers and other stakeholders.
RouteShoot is the second trading company to be established by the Directors of Wilson Pym May Limited (WPM), a Highway Asset Management Consultancy. WPM was asked by clients on a regular basis to survey many miles of road in order to be able to ensure contractors had delivered maintenance work. At the time, this task was handled manually with three devices (video camera, computer and GPS) needed to perform this job. The success of it relied on the technology being compatible and was an unwieldy time intensive process where the margin for human and technical error was large.
It was one particular unsuccessful experience on that bank holiday weekend that got Gary thinking that perhaps the process didn’t need to be this difficult. The seed was sown and soon afterwards RouteShoot was born.
A hands-on type, yet with no previous software experience, Gary wrote the first app for the IPhone himself, teaching himself and learning on the job.
As the RouteShoot team has learnt more, the business has expanded to include a number of chargeable services including cloud hosting, training, reporting, optional extras and a whole host of bespoke features to make RouteShoot as collaborative and useful as possible to the end user.
Selling RouteShoot to existing clients in the UK’s highway maintenance industry was a no brainer given the Directors’ past experience. However, it was a challenging economic environment at this point in time so despite unprecedented interest the forecasted sales were not forthcoming.
It was clear to the Directors of RouteShoot that the opportunities were not just limited to one sector in the UK. It was time to seek professional guidance and the support of the DIT to plan RouteShoot’s expansion into new markets and new industries.
Mapping the Way Forward
The first significant sale for RouteShoot came from Premier Utility Services, a US based company who had the contract for several US states and needed RouteShoot installed on 700 users and the bandwidth to record 4,500 videos of footage per day.
It was a light bulb moment for Gary when he realised that this contract potentially existed in every state in the USA and therefore presented a huge business opportunity. This was the impetus for RouteShoot to engage with DIT and seek their assistance with furthering their reach into the US and beyond.
“Securing business overseas means long lead times and hard work so being able to take advantage of DIT’s presence and international network is very helpful, says Gary”
RouteShoot got involved in DIT’s twelve month Passport to Export service which comprised a export assessment and support programme including training and planning, help with market research, market visits, opportunities to attend events and trade shows and networking as well as advice and guidance from a dedicated International Trade Advisor.
“Through the DIT’s assistance we’ve seen an increase in overseas business and received help with overcoming barriers to new and difficult markets, all of which have saved us considerable time and money than if we’d embarked on the process cold ourselves. Our International Trade Advisor was helpful, supportive, and enthusiastic. He went way beyond the direct brief to help us and has been a fountain of knowledge and advice,” says Gary.
After Passport to Export, the DIT helped RouteShoot embark on strategic review to assess their trade development needs and undertake a risk assessment. In addition, they received from DIT support on a range of specialist subjects including protecting your intellectual property and managing foreign exchange. They also received introductions to DIT’s international network in embassies and high commissions around the world, international trade business networks and valuable advice on language and cultural issues.
“There are also a number of soft skills you learn working with the DIT. These include taking into account time zones when developing business leads as well as cultural idiosyncrasies. For instance, we soon learnt that in many countries in Asia people do not like to lose face by saying no directly to you. Once we understood this it was a lot easier for us to read our potential clients
and assess whether opportunities were real or perceived,” says Gary.
Since starting a relationship with DIT, RouteShoot has secured a number of significant opportunities to work with the World Bank. Including a project to capture the whole national and local roads network of the Philippines archipelago with a view of eventually tracking all major programmes designed to improve the public infrastructure.
“The DIT introduced us to The World Bank which was a game changer for our business and has led to a number of projects in Asia,” says Gary.
The work in the Philippines provided the experience to secure similar projects with the Ministry of Infrastructure in Tonga (funded by Australia Aid & World Bank) and Vanuatu (Australia Aid & Asian Development Bank).
RouteShoot has also recently completed a project with a major oil and gas company in Nigeria, which has led onto a similar project in the UK.
Here in the UK, RouteShoot is benefitting from the economic recovery and domestic business is strengthening the company’s ability to invest in development overseas. RouteShoot is also investigating a number of new sectors in the UK including the equine and transportation industry, which also have the potential to become international opportunities.
“RouteShoot really has so many prospects open to them, and so many industries the app could be applicable to, that the trick for us was helping them narrow their focus and start in areas that could be considered low hanging fruit, before they expanded their horizons. Their export strategy has been built around this plan and it has proved to be a very successful approach,” says Chris Knight, International Trade Advisor.
“We are achieving success in all four corners of the globe and we are immensely grateful to DIT for setting us on the right path and effectively hand holding us through the process. Export opportunities now account for 60% of all of our sales and so has made a huge difference to our business. DIT went well beyond the brief and could not do enough for us,” concluded Gary.