As we’re getting closer to the end of the program, ubi i/o entrepreneurs are able to look back on these past 9 weeks and see all the progress they made on so many different levels. Within 10 weeks, they accomplished what would have taken them 10 months here in the U.S.
Breakfast with Carlos Diaz: “VCs sort you in 3 categories: dead, crippled or heroes”
On Tuesday, Carlos Diaz, Co-Founder & CEO @ Kwarter came through our office to grab breakfast with ubi i/o entrepreneurs to share his thoughts on fund raising in the U.S.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 16, 2015
He emphasized the main differences and similarities between raising money in the U.S. vs in France. Here are 3 facts to keep in mind while raising money in the U.S from an entrepreneur’s standpoint:
- If you can avoid raising funds, don’t raise funds. Meaning that if you can avoid becoming part of a VC’s portfolio you should. VCs build portfolios to dilute risk, as they know 90% of their companies will fail, 9% will barely cover their investments, and 1% will provide them outstanding ROIs. Do not expect anything else than money and scrutiny from a VC investing in your company.
- In France, the VC community is a tight circle that is hard to penetrate. But once you’ve done so things are much easier from a credibility and networking standpoint. The Silicon Valley VC community is a bit more of an open community. If you know how to network properly and if you bring something innovative to the table you may get a chance at pitching to multiple investors, the secret here is having a good & thorough understanding of human relationships.
- If you want to raise money, create a relationship with VCs. The Silicon Valley hype made VCs stars within this ecosystem. It is a competitive landscape where investors are fighting over the few great opportunities available. If you ask for money, they’ll tag you as “on the market “which is too late for them. If you ask them for advice, submit your strategy and share with them your vision you may get a shot at being funded if you spark their interest.
Another Pitch Victory for ubi i/o startups
Once again, 4 ubi i/o companies participated in another PitchForce event at the Runway incubator last Wednesday night. Not only did they manage to qualify to pitch in front of the panel, but France took home the prize!
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 18, 2015
Business Planning from a Financial Point of View
In regards to marketing and sales costs, the major expense goes into building your team. This team should be composed of both French and American experienced profiles, and these profiles are expensive.
If you want to be efficient in your sales process, you’ll have to hire very specific and dedicated profiles: lead generation, lead qualification, sales engineers, sales managers etc. Needless to say they all cost a pretty penny especially in SV. Of course, you must also include the following expenses:
- Employee side costs: employee tax, benefits, employee setup, travels
- Operational marketing costs: PR, marketing collaterals, content development, SEO
- Legal costs: copyright, patents, trademark, visas
- Infrastructure costs: offices, logistics, shipments
- Administrative costs: accounting, payroll management, tax return, insurances
That’s a lot, and you better think about it before starting your operations in the United States. Don’t let fear come in the way, don’t let your brilliant idea go because of all those down to earth points. The earlier you’ll think about them, the better you’ll be prepared for the future.
On Friday, Ronen Shetelboim, Director of Marketing @ Jobvite came to break down one of the expenses described above: Marketing or more precisely: “ Smarketing “ which stands for Sales & Marketing.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 19, 2015
He shared his experience in building efficient sales funnels and processes at successful B2B companies, and answered our entrepreneur’s questions towards inbound marketing and marketing automation. The 5 key points you should keep in mind towards Demand Generation and “Smarketing” are:
- Measure everything, because something measurable is something manageable. Particularly, measure each step of your funnel: you’ll be able to reverse it in order to know and justify where you need what expenses to obtain X amount of additional revenues etc.
- Focus on your current customers as they are 6 to 7 times cheaper to keep than to acquire a new one.
- Create content to generate demand: blog posts, events, webinars and once again measure everything!
- Do not cut your funnel: make your sales and marketing constantly talk, set up processes. For example, if a hot lead open that mail, a sales person should call him within 24h.
- Finally, your funnel is something which is dynamic: always optimize and repeat, test and innovate.
ubi i/o & the French Mafia
Following the Demand Generation workshop, we were thrilled to present the ubi i/o startups to San Francisco’s French network on Friday night. Once again, a lot of people came to enjoy our entrepreneurs’ pitches and to keep themselves up to date with France’s finest technologies.
— Anji ISMAIL (@anjismail) June 20, 2015
Don’t forget to save the date for ubi i/o’s Grand Finale: Demo Day . Your last opportunity to meet with the 8 best French Tech startups of the year!