In 2016, Nokia acquired Withings for 170 million euros. The Finnish company considered that it and Withings had the same ambition: improve people’s health through everyday things.
This is the start of a new phase for the French company: founded in 2008 in Issy-les-Moulineaux and among La FrenchTech’s pioneers, Withings is specialized in connected devices and smart lifestyle products for health and well-being.
Exporting: a growth and competitiveness accelerator
Export-oriented since its start, Withings has succeeded in becoming a global leader in its sector. In 2014 the company reported that 90% of its sales were made outside France, and mainly through the internet: Amazon and its own e-commerce site withings.com/store. In just 6 years, Withings boosted its international business, with a strategy that almost entirely self-financed its export. When in July 2014 the company raised 23.5 M euros from Bpifrance, Idinvest Partners, 360 Capital Partners and Ventech, it was in a position to speed up its competitiveness and growth in the global market.
The keys for an SME to start and succeed at its internationalization
The first key is the willingness to move beyond the domestic market, which often is too small. “Think local, act global” is the basis for any business looking to expand internationally.
A second key is cross-border trade. It is about selling products or services in bordering foreign countries thereby minimizing risk and costs associated with export.
A third key is the digital strategy for export. This requires checking the technology features and the digital habits in each export market. The company must make a choice between the homogenization of its digital communication channels, or its adaptation to local needs.
Withings succeeded by focusing on digital and international development, prioritizing 90% of its export sales through e-commerce during its first years. In that way, the company ensured solid growth. And the acquisition in 2016 by the Finnish giant confirmed this Withings’ success in its multi-channel international strategy.