We investigate the learning by exporting hypothesis by examining the effect of exporting on the subsequent innovation performance of a sample of high-technology SMEs based in the UK. We find evidence of learning by exporting, but the pattern of this effect is complex. Exporting helps high-tech SMEs innovate subsequently, but does not make them more innovation intensive. There is evidence that consistent exposure to export markets helps firms overcome the innovation hurdle, but that there is a positive scale effect of exposure to export markets which allows innovative firms to sell more of their new-to-market products on entering export markets. Service sector firms are able to reap the benefits of exposure to export markets at an earlier (entry) stage of the internationalization process than are manufacturing firms. Innovation-intensive firms exhibit a different pattern of entry to and exit from export markets from low-intensity innovators, and this is reflected in different effects of exporting.