Roch Tremblay is the chief operating officer of Radio IP Software – a Longueuil based company that provides mobile VPN and data encryption services to clients worldwide.
What was your first export sale?
We were approached in 2001, immediately after the September 11 attacks, by the Chicago Police Department, which needed to ensure that data transmitted between their headquarters and police vehicles was prioritized in a secure tunnel. This would allow them to avoid leaks of sensitive information, which is essential for a security agency that deals with a lot of confidential information.
How did that first export opportunity arise?
At the time, given the types of radio transmission protocols that were in use, only the Radio IP software could produce a VPN tunnel on low-intensity radio frequencies. Obviously, being the only player on this market made our entrance and the development of relationships with potential clients easier. Today, we’re still the only company able to secure data transmitted on this type of radio protocol.
What do you know about exporting today that you would have liked to know when you started out?
The most important thing for an exporter is to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the rules and policies governing the type of export in question. For software like ours that involves information security, there are many standards to comply with in different countries and entities to which we can sell this kind of product.
We quickly retained a lawyer to ensure we were exporting our product the right way. Exporting security equipment is not necessarily a complex process, but these are transactions the federal government wants to be informed of.
How has international trade changed since you went into business?
With globalization, it has become easier and easier to reach foreign targets. Our solutions are now used in 10 countries around the world. Technological advances have certainly improved our ability to promote our product in international markets without being physically present. Selling a product in Australia, for example, is much simpler today than it would have been in the early 2000s.
What is the most important thing a new SME should know about exporting and international trade?
The biggest challenge is believing in yourself. Success is possible; there’s interest for this kind of product and there are open markets. However, like with every sales process, it’s very likely you’ll have a few setbacks before achieving a satisfying transaction.