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Kea Connect inspired Kiwi SaaS company Touchpoint Group to take on the UK. Kea sits down with Co-Founder and CEO Frank van der Velden to learn more about how the Kea Connect service gave him the confidence to conquer a totally new market.

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Frank van der Velden is set to shine in the UK thanks to Kea Connect.

Frank is the Co-Founder and CEO of Touchpoint Group, a Kiwi SaaS business that has been around since 2001. He describes their leading tool, Ipiphany, as a “customer-focused business application that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to facilitate superior customer engagement.”

With business booming in New Zealand, Frank approached Kea for advice about expanding overseas. He made a connection request with our Kea UK/Europe Regional Director for introductions to Kiwis working in the financial services sector. The Kea Connect team ran a search of the database and set up 15 meetings in London.

This resulted in a life-changing trip for Frank. He spent six whirlwind days talking to Kiwis who were established at banks like HSBC, RBS and Standard Chartered Bank.

His conversation with Adrian Smith, Digital Product and Experience Director at Barclays, stood out. Frank says that chatting with Adrian convinced him to take Touchpoint Group to the UK. The need for the service in the Asia Pacific region was clearly apparent in the UK as well.

“Adrian was exactly the right person. He gave me confidence that we could succeed in London with our product.”
As a “direct result” of the connection, Touchpoint Group is now expanding to the UK. Frank has already hired staff and plans on making further visits to get the ball rolling. 

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Their success isn’t limited to the UK. According to Frank, Kea Connect has been instrumental in breaking ground across the Tasman.

He recently took advantage of the free service to make contact with World Class New Zealander David Thodey in Australia. David is the former CEO and Chair of the Board at Telstra. Within just a few days, David had introduced Frank to the right people in the telecommunications industry. 

Frank couldn’t believe it.

“I was really impressed with the speed.” 

He says that talking to David led to numerous business opportunities for Touchpoint Group. 

“We’ve ended up with an agreed action plan with four potential consulting partners and one significant opportunity in the banking sector.” 

Based on his experience, Frank believes Kea Connect can play an important role for Kiwi SMEs. It can show business owners that they have what it takes to make it offshore. 

“The main value of Kea Connect is that it can help SMEs to build confidence about expanding overseas.” 

While the concept of entering a new market can be scary, Frank has found that World Class New Zealanders enjoy giving back to fellow Kiwis. 

“Kiwis are often quite happy to spend 30 minutes of their time having a coffee.” 

He says that companies thinking about trying out Kea Connect “should just do it.” 

Kea Connect provides access to in-market insights, advice and relationships free of charge. It is available to Kiwi SMEs scaling at home and abroad. To unlock your business growth, learn more about Kea Connect here.   
Frank van der Velden
Frank is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kiwi SaaS company Touchpoint. Founded in 2001, Touchpoint specialises in customer-centric software solutions. He is currently in the process of establishing a London office so that the business can service its growing UK and North American client base.  

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Part 12