There are a few things our alumni wish they had known before coming to San Francisco!
Tip 1: Kick off week
Now imagine that your startup has been selected to participate to the ubi i/o accelerator program. You are preparing your trip to San Francisco and getting ready for the big kick off week. To get the most out of this week, you have to be prepared to show people your current state of affairs and define your goals and objectives for the next 10 weeks by knowing what value you wish to receive from ubi i/o. In order to make a good first impression in front of potential investors, clients and partners remember the American motto: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
« Our arrival in San Francisco was a complete shock – a lot of information to assimilate at a very fast pace. » – Jean-Marc Pericone, CEO @ Sublime Skinz
«Take your time and set your goals and objectives before coming to the US, preparation is key. » – Edgar Baudin, Partner @ Makazi
«I have the feeling that I’ve done more business in 4 days than I did in 3 months back in France» – Mathieu Lhoumeau, CEO @ Contract-Live
Tip 2: Be committed
10 weeks is a relatively short time in the life of your startup. Coming into the Silicon Valley, you have to be aware that business goes fast. What may take months to accomplish back in France can happen in matters of weeks here in San Francisco. Taking that into account, you will realize how special and important these 10 weeks are. If you want to establish credibility in the Valley, you have to be fully committed.
« You have to make the decision to go and commit to it. Use the program as a launching pad, not a walking test. » – Adrien Gendre, Head of Product Management @VadeRetro
«Participate in all sessions; really use the business development work and take advantage of a real accelerator. » – Adrien Gendre, Head of Product Management @VadeRetro
Tip 3: Manage your team
Your only focus during these upcoming 10 weeks should be your American expansion. We know that it can be difficult to do so as a C-Level in a company with a French team and French customers, but to fully benefit from our program, your time, dedication and focus will be required. So we suggest preparing your team back home so that you can count on them being independent during that time period. Being able to brainstorm, re-think, adjust, make new plans and implement quick decision will be key to a successful mission. Ideally, you should prepare your arrival to the U.S early on by limiting your interaction with your team back home so that you can fully dedicate yourself to ubi i/o and be 100% free of ongoing French operations. Otherwise you will lose a great deal of time early on in the program in coordinating and dealing with your French side of the business. How to do so?
«Decide to not come in the office 15 days prior to your flight to San Francisco and work remotely, just to see how it goes and what changes need to take place. » – Fabrice Lacrois, CEO @Antidot
«To adapt to the US: Accelerate the pace, shorten your roadmaps. » – Charles Gros, CEO & Co-founder @Tradelab
Tip 3: Build your own ecosystem
The best part of the program is the connections you will build in the Silicon Valley. You will have the opportunity to meet a lot of people interested in building relationships such as investors, mentors, speakers, and great actors in the community. So take advantage of it, reach out to them as much as you can, build long lasting relationships and prove your credibility to your market. The relationships you will build with the other ubi i/o participants will also be really important. You will be able to share your ideas and get feedback from them.
«An important part of the program’s value is the amazing relationships we established both within Business France and with the ubi i/o team, and the outside connections we built while exploring the Valley’s ecosystem. » – Jean-Marc Pericone CEO & Co-founder @Sublime Skinz
Tip 4: Start to look for people to grow your team
You will have the opportunity to go to a lot of events with a lot of great people. Things happen rather quickly in the Silicon Valley. Growth opportunities can happen in no time, so you have to be ready to keep your connections alive. You will have to hire people to be able to ensure proper service to your new clients, fortunately the events organized by ubi i/o will give you a lot of opportunities to find your next employees.
Tip 5: Challenge yourself
You will learn new business methods; will envision new goals and you will benefit from constructive feedback from American entrepreneurs. Some of them may be hard to hear sometimes, but the better you listen and take those criticisms constructively, the sooner you will be able to adapt and prove your worth to the American market. Be ready to take an objective look at yourself and your startup. For example, you will have to pitch in front of a lot people interested in your company, and if you are always hearing the same questions at the end of your pitch, it’s because you may be missing something crucial. So make sure to pay attention to the feedback you receive in order to better yourself and your operations.
«You have to get prepared to get slapped and see your first positioning idea evolve positively. » – Charles Gros, CEO & Co-founder @Tradelab