Relationship broking connects the dots between money and markets

By Peter Kerr 06/09/2012

June Ranson often finds herself matchmaking between wealthy people from overseas and innovative New Zealand businesses

There’s a certain ‘tell me more’ aspect to June Ranson’s description of her business as being a relationship broker.

The managing director of Woburn International carries out many roles in what initially might be considered a licensed immigration advisory business.

But, as well as helping companies in New Zealand and overseas get hold of bright technical people, Ranson is also proud of the introduction and hand-holding function Woburn’s carried out in the past 12 of its 22 year existence.

To date she’s matched 13 overseas individuals and companies with opportunities in New Zealand – both to live and expand promising businesses looking to expand. Usually there’s several zeroes in the dollars being talked about.

Attending a recent Industrial Research Ltd innovation showcase, Ranson says she takes a long term approach to initially introducing the idea of an American, European or Asian investor thinking about a technology-savvy Kiwi company, and of them eventually taking up residency in New Zealand.

Technology-led New Zealand companies often need new investment to grow, and often the principals have no succession plan says the Lower Hutt based director, who is also on the Hutt Valley’s Chamber of Commerce executive.

Presentations about opportunities downunder

She often attends overseas conferences and gives presentations about the opportunities downunder, including a recent trip to Pheonix, Arizona.

“A lot of these people had never considered New Zealand,” she says. “I see one of my jobs as creating awareness to then enter a conversation. From that we can spark things further along.”

Given its experience and reputation, Ranson is aware of, or introduced to a number of New Zealand companies looking for the overseas investment and market distribution opportunities that Woburn offers she says.

“I’ve had others ask how we do it. The answer’s simple, hard work,” she says.

It also takes up to a couple of years between introducing New Zealand companies and lifestyle as an option and the final deal coming through.

But once investors become aware of New Zealand’s footprint into Asia and the excellence of many of the technology-led companies, these people with money and connections are keen to explore further.

The internet can provide an initial, simplistic idea of opportunities on both sides, but after that, “you have to talk to people face to face,” she says.

Woburn’s fee for such relationship brokering is a mix and match, depending on where the deal’s emphasis is.

She also occasionally finds herself becoming involved in matchmaking advice when an original venture discussion has broken up.

At this time too, as well as helping companies source talented staff, Woburn’s immigration advisory service kicks into full operation.

However, Ranson’s obviously keen on joining the dots between people and businesses who wouldn’t necessarily know the other exists.

“It’s hard work, but it is fun. You’re knocking on doors, connecting people to allow them to get places,” she says.

Note: this story originally appeared in Idealog; see here