Auckland firm targets Australia for growth

Rush Digital plans an Australian office in the next six months, while setting US in its sights

Auckland-based Rush Digital is looking to open an office in Australia in the next six months as it targets new customers in the country.

“We kind of position ourselves as a tech creative firm where we take unique, gaming-oriented technologies and apply them to marketing experiences. And that has a lot of pull because there are not a lot of companies that can do this. A lot of our business growth has been through relationships and references, but we are looking to change that,” says Danu Abeysuriya, founder and CEO of the firm.

“Australia is a market of interest for us. We already have some customers there, and we would look to set up something like a temporary office in Sydney, realistically, in the next six months,” he adds.

The company, which creates software and delivers services in the areas of experiential marketing, enterprise software and games on the consumer side, was originally started in 2010 as a provider of gaming development platforms. However, it pivoted to a provision of services in 2011 and currently has around 15 full-time employees.

“In order to do business you need as large a total addressable market as you can get. The US is a prime target for us. At the company level, expenditure is quite high if you do target that market, and you should be ready to handle those costs. I think we have one more level of growth left before we are willing to take that punt, obviously because the competition is higher. But the reward in the market is also higher,” says Abeysuriya.

The company, which was started by seed funding from angel funds, will look to raise more funds in the next couple of months to fuel its growth, says Abeysuriya,

Being a small firm does restrict its ability to tap talent from NZ’s small pool of qualified engineers, but Abeysuriya says he has been relatively successful in bringing in good people.

“The HR processes for engineers are clearly flawed in NZ. I have been able to hire engineers that have been passed up by other companies and who have been extremely successful in our business. There is too much emphasis on past experience when people look to hire. Being a young entrepreneur myself, if companies hire on potential and work ethic, they might find themselves duly rewarded, especially if they are in the early days of a business.

“Businesses that operate in Silicon Valley are generally better at identifying this. People with zero experience and those who are fresh out of college would find no trouble in getting jobs there. NZ is a bit backwards in that respect. There are very traditional hiring models here and that certainly holds back talent,” says Abeysuriya.

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He says the company will continue to bring in most of its revenue from the gaming and consumer side of the business, but he does see the enterprise software unit gaining traction in the coming years.

“We are going to grow the business as a services business, and we are putting it through the internal paces needed to facilitate that growth, but it is certainly going to be an international expansion. The timing of that will depend on multiple factors,” he adds.

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