5 weeks in already and we’re half way through ubi i/o! Here’s a quick recap of what happened last week:
VCTaskforce: The clock is ticking, you have 2 minutes
On Thursday night, four ubi i/o startups had the opportunity to pitch in front of VCTaskforce’s panel. Notoriously known for their honest feedback, no entrepreneur is spared from sincere criticism. When stepping on stage, you have to be as sharp and as thorough as possible. Trust us, delivering a comprehensive pitch in 2 minutes is no easy task. After their pitches, our entrepreneurs had to go through 4 minutes of Q&A followed by 4 minutes of non-rebuttal feedback from some of the Bay Area’s top Angels.
We’re particularly proud of our CEOs as they all delivered their pitches with tact and composure even though English isn’t their first language. Jacques Cazin CEO of @Adways stood out of the pack and finished in 2nd place with one of the best pitching performance of the evening. The panel even described him as a natural born leader … and if you’ve had the opportunity to meet him in person, well it does paint an accurate picture of the character.
The event went really well overall, and the feedback received was both constructive and useful for our 4 CEOs. Slowly but surely, ubi i/o participants are becoming serial pitchers!
Setting up US operations
On Tuesday, the French Tech hub held a workshop dedicated to U.S incorporation with a focus on taxation. For this event, Xavier Wartelle, CEO @ French Tech Hub and General Manager @ PRIME and Frederic Blanchard, Owner @ KVB Partners led the conversation in their respective expertise.
How to properly setup your organizational structure in the US
Xavier Wartelle took the time to thoroughly explain the pitfalls to avoid while building your organization in the U.S. When setting up shop, you should strive to have a scalable structure that allows you to implement quick and effective decisions. Typically, the CEO should be the center piece with an advisory board above and segmented teams below ex: VP Marketing, VP Business Development etc.
When dealing with an advisory team, it is often practical to put all egos aside to make the best of everyone’s knowledge and experiences. You should aim to gather your board on a monthly basis to make sure your reporting is rigorous and on point with your current development.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 26, 2015
Now let’s address the various teams under the CEO. Coming to the U.S, your primary objective should be growth. Is hiring a VIE or a Junior Sales or even Sr. Sales man a good idea? Not necessarily, because in the U.S you will not simply sell your product, you will have to adapt it to your clientele. This is why you should be able to quickly and effectively adapt your product to your specific verticals. Clear cut communication channels between the sales / development team and the product / engineering team is therefore primordial.
Ideally, you should have one of the co-founders and/ or someone from the management team in the U.S. They will have the capacity to influence ongoing operations conducted in France. Additionally, you should build a sales team that revolves around an experienced VP of sales specifically dedicated to the U.S market. From a cost stand point, you will be better off keeping your engineering team in France and focus on your Business Development strategies here in America. No matter what, communication between your French & American teams needs to be sharp otherwise you’ll soon find yourself in damage control mode. Setting up a proper structure in the Unites States will cost you a lot of money, so raising the necessary funds will be crucial to your development. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to tag your CFO along during this American venture.
Taxes and Corporations types in the US
There are different types of incorporation you can choose form in the US. An Inc., a C.corp or an LLC. The main difference is that the Inc. is more independent from its shareholders than the LLC is. For instance, an Inc. gives to its shareholders the dividends they decided upon no matter what the profits or the losses are. But an Inc. pays its own taxes, whereas a LLC is fiscally transparent: the shareholders receive profits from the LLC and personally pay their taxes upon that profit. A LLC also has an advantage in its simplicity which allows for customizable operating agreements.
In both cases, Inc. or LLC, both have their advantages. One thing you may want to consider is completely split your French & American operations. From an IRS standpoint, it will make your life easier. This is important because by simply opening a subsidiary in the U.S, the IRS will also look for your French accounting & reporting and it can quickly become a messy situation, as if it wasn’t already complicated enough.
Thanks to Frederic Blanchard, the tax picture just got a little bit clearer … but this is such a complex topic that you may have to refer to an expert when actually making the move over the North Atlantic Ocean.