Our cohorts have been relentlessly working trying to make a name for themselves in both New York City & San Francisco. If you’re in the same boat, you’re probably dealing with daily operations, strategizing on fundraising, syncing with your team overseas, keeping an eye on your sales funnel and going to various pitching events to connect with investors. Moving your business from Europe to the United States takes grit, commitment and patience. Out of all the things an entrepreneur needs to worry about, one aspect of business that can’t be undervalued is what we refer as product market fit. That’s why Impact’s fourth week was dedicated to product. Here are the main takeaways:
Product management roadmap:
Market validation is a key element for your startup. It’s important that you plan your product roadmap according to your customer’s needs and feedback. Within the same scope, you should have a clear understanding of the roadblocks that are preventing you from scaling fast. To maximize efficiency with your engineering and product teams, you must tackle the most complex and urgent problems that your product is facing. Simply checking in with your happy customers upon their satisfaction level just won’t cut it. Prioritizing on important features and functionalities that will bring the most value to your customers is what you should be focusing on.
Product market fit:
Alexandra Cavoulacos, Founder and President of TheMuse, gave us some insightful tips regarding the tailoring of a product to the American market. U.S companies set the bar high when it comes to product market fit, foreign startups need to have a thorough understanding of the problem potential customers are experiencing, the current existing solutions and how their product differentiates itself. Having a clear understanding of your company’s average sales cycle is also crucial, as it will set the foundation of your sales’ team organization. European startups also need to be up to par when it comes to security protocols if they aspire to gain their clients trust. Customer data is expected to be stored on territory and not in Europe.
“The hardest thing about coming here is starting from scratch instead of trying to validate your product”
– Alexandra Cavoulacos
“The hard thing when expanding in the US is accepting to restart from scratch instead of trying to repeat and validate what you did in Europe”. Thank you @acav from The Muse for this workshop on Product Market Fit.#FrenchTechNYC #scaleup #productmanagement #startup pic.twitter.com/0yuIi1lasR
— Impact USA (@usa_impact) May 7, 2018
The art of pitching:
Since the start of the program, we’ve put an emphasis on the importance of pitching the American way as this practice is fundamentally different back in France. Perhaps this underlines one of the biggest cultural differences in business between France and the U.S. While France is known for being a country of engineers and has a reputation for building great products, American are renown for being excellent in sales and marketing. These differences are deeply rooted within each country’s culture – a mix of both might just be a recipe for a company that could change the world. If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned! We’ll soon release an extensive article on pitching the American way.
Speaking of pitching, here’s a recap of what’s been happening on the East coast.
On May 3rd, NYC’s cohort participated in a pitching event at WorkVille in the heart of Times Square. Florence Tison, head of east coast operations for Impact USA, welcomed the crowd and introduced the panel made up of Venture Capitalists and Angel investors. Among them, Damion Hänkejh, Angel Investor and CTO at Luxury Branded Fintech, Sumay Parikh, Venture Capitalist at Quake Capital and Swatick Majumdar, Venture Partner at Survive and Thrive Today. The format? 5mn pitch followed by 5mn of feedback and Q&A. The panel’s feedback was full of insights and challenging questions which led our CEOs to go back to the drawing board to fine tune their pitch.
— Impact USA (@usa_impact) May 10, 2018