The ubi i/o team in New York City
East coast ubi i/o startups have finally arrived in the Big Apple! Their first day began with a breakfast followed by an introductory speech from Arnaud Leretour, CEO of Business France North America. Florence Tison, head of the east coast office ran through the extensive 10-week program that includes workshops, 1 on 1 expert mentoring sessions, fireside chats, numerous networking events & business development meetings with potential clients & partners.
Time is money
Any foreign entrepreneur who successfully made their transition to the U.S. will tell you all about it, business goes a lot faster in America. When in meetings, going straight to the point is appreciated as everyone knows, time is our most precious commodity. Punctuality is a must, showing up early is being on time, showing up on time is considered being late. Wasting your interlocutor’s time truly means losing business opportunities.
These insights frame the proper way to ace your business meetings. Basic rules such as: sending an agenda prior to the meeting, arriving on time, respecting the 30/70 rule and following up in a timely manner will always be appreciated.
«Know your buyer (his business & his needs), know your competition, know your key selling points »
While doing brand awareness, we encourage all our startups to carefully study their market. Knowing your competition allows you to separate yourself from the pack as you will gain the ability to highlight with ease your key differentiators when communicating about your product.
Kicking off one on one sessions with our marketing coach Jillian Strauss, aimed at honing our entrepreneurs’ pitch. By the end of the sessions, our CEOs had a structured outline to pull off 2, 4 & 6 minute pitches. The toughest part about a pitch is not only content but also delivery, fine tuning one’s stage performance is a refined skill that even the greatest public speakers often practice.
Day one ended with well deserved after work drinks, the perfect way to relax & get to know each other a bit better.
The second day of ubi i/o in San Francisco began with a breakfast animated by our special guest Reza Malekzadeh, General Partner at Partech Venture. Reza was here to talk about the state of investment in Silicon Valley. As some of our startups plan to raise money in the near future, getting a better perspective from venture capitalist groups is always interesting and insightful.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) April 18, 2016
The truth is, there’s an evident slowdown in tech funding, and we can’t forecast when this trend will change. The market tendency is putting power & leverage in the hands of VCs. Unlike entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists have one key advantage: time.
While they have the ability & the luxury to wait, entrepreneurs are always under the constant pressure of father time, to not only innovate but execute in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Build a strong product that solves a real problem
The direct consequence of a low valuation is the amount one is able raise. The fact is, there’s been a strong decline in IPOs in the past few years, but even during tough economic times, great companies have managed to emerge. How to insure fundraising today? Build a strong product that solves a real problem.
Reza encouraged our CEOs to adapt their pitch to the VC market dynamics. Rather than focusing on the market size and its potential, entrepreneurs should talk more about their business model & path to profitability.
After breakfast, Laura Elmore took over to give a last round of feedback on our entrepreneurs’ pitches. This was the last training session before hopping on stage at the VIP Opening night where our 10 CEOs pitched an American audience for the very first time.
Penelope, pitching for Lima
Famoco’s CEO, getting ready to convince the audience
The art of pitching is a skill that is mastered over time. One key point is that, pitching is a collaborative process. Capturing your audience’s attention and keeping their interest is a two way mechanism that is ignited by the speaker. After a quick break, we had the privilege to hear from Daniel Amzallag, CEO @Ivalua who talked about his U.S. launch experience.
“It took us 18 months to get our first U.S. Deal ”
“It took us 18 months to get our first U.S. deal” began Daniel, growing in the U.S. is no easy task. Relentlessness, product adaptation & tailored customer attention are all part of the roadmap when emerging into a market.
Assimilating the ecosystem’s culture is a process, and a difficult one. Whether a company assesses their business development or marketing strategies, having a seasoned American employee becomes a huge asset. The tough task here is to hire the right people who are experienced and versatile enough to quickly learn about your company, your product and infuse their cultural knowledge within your commercial processes.
Having a multi-cultural team allows for better and faster decision making, the key is to make sure that your new recruits not only share the same vision as you, but also share the same values and work ethic.
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