Exciting & eventful past few days for ubi i/o companies throughout our 4th week, a few of our startups had the chance to participate in two major events: TC disrupt and IoT World. Founders had the opportunity to pitch in front of a broad audience and make some valuable connections for their U.S. development.
On Tuesday, Tilkee, C-Radar and AB Tasty were amongst the few selected startups to present their products at ERA Roundtable. A good opportunity to test their pitch before attending the highly anticipated TechCrunch Disrupt.
AB Tasty pitching at ERA roundtable
Judges were focused not only on the quality of the presentations & the level of disruption products brought to their respective markets but also on the founders’ backgrounds. The fact that Tilkee’s CEO and his co-founder already founded seven startups and two of them were acquired is something investors love to hear, same story with Francois Bancilhon from C-Radar who has been a serial entrepreneur for quite some time now.
Botify pitching at TC Disrupt
TechCrunch Disrupt is the perfect opportunity to gain massive exposure for emerging technology startups. Botify started on a high note during the Startup Battlefield and benefited from the media’s attention to spread the word about their breakthrough SEO crawler. On Wednesday, each startup had a booth setup in the French Pavilion area to showcase their products, another opportunity to test their elevator pitch and secure more meetings with potential clients and partners.
— onoff App (@onoff) May 12, 2016
“When you are growing, talent if everything”
Alongside pitching events, several workshops were held at our HQ on various topics such as hiring. Finding the right profile for your startup can be very challenging when opening up an office in the U.S., nevertheless, onboarding qualified employees is crucial to your international development. There’s not secret, when you are growing, talent is everything. We invited Mathieu Nouzareth, Co-founder and CEO @ FreshPlanet, Jalyn Noel, Director @ Insperity and Alex Robinson, Business Performance Advisor @ Insperity.
The panelists first tackled various recruiting strategies, according to Mathieu Nouzareth, “you can work with a recruiter but it’s difficult and inefficient to gather high quality candidates that way. If you have the budget, it’s better to have an in-house recruiter”. It’s also important to know that when starting from scratch in the U.S., turnover can sometimes be really high and as a founder, you shouldn’t hesitate to let go of people if they aren’t adding great value to your company.
An interesting side note was that as a founder, the qualified profiles you often aspire to onboard in your team are often looking for more than a high salary. They want a real commitment from the founders and that is why it’s so crucial to have at least one of your C-levels established in America.
Interviewing in the U.S. is a different process than back in France. Background and education checks are very important here, when dealing with a recruiter, make sure that he/she is able to help you throughout the interview process. There are a list of questions you’re not legally able to ask, or the interviewee may sue you.
In summary, recruiting and hiring is hard and that’s why you should start this process early on in order to find your first employees. It’s important to balance your cash flow with good wages and perks to attract top talents, more importantly, the culture you set within your organization will determine your ability to not only attract but retain top talents.
Human Resources: Managing an international workforce
On Friday, our second workshop was all about how to manage human resources.
One common issue entrepreneurs experience when setting up operations in the U.S., is managing both of their workforce in France and abroad. For example, it can be frustrating for France based teams to see that they are no longer at the center of attention from a managerial standpoint. The best practice is to always act as one single company, despite the time & cultural differences.
“Unify your workforce using one unique language and defining one single culture for all the employees”
To unify your workforce, you should pay particular attention to the communication processes with your teams: “people working in foreign offices have to feel that you are reachable instantaneously”. You should also get used to working in English as soon as possible, using one unique language for communication is key in unifying your workforce. Last but not least, defining your culture is really important as it will help your employees stay on the same page.
Following up on the demand generation workshop we organized this past week, we invited over Kerry Langstaff and Dave Ewart to talk about marketing automation. Marketing Automation helps you amplify opportunities and scale fast.
Even though it is just a tool, it can be used to tackle down a broad range of goals: ads, emails, nurturing clients, onboarding customers, CRM priority classification etc. The idea with Marketing automation is to experiment and reiterate upon what works.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 9, 2016
How to design a good funnel?
“The whiteboard is my best friend, I draw new paths everyday” mentioned Kerry Langstaff, CMO at Xignite. For her, just like any seasoned marketing professional, lead scoring is crucial to determine priorities. Distributing or taking off points to your online visitors depending upon the content they click on while on your website will give you a better understanding of their intent and whether or not they are relevant to your sales team.
Defining the right path to convert a visitor is a collaborative work that you have to define with your marketing & sales teams. For Dave, Head of Growth Marketing at Talkdesk, “automation is about empowering your sales team”. It start with an analysis of who your customers are, then you can adapt your conversion funnel according to their online behaviors.
Which tools should you use?
For Kerry, choosing a marketing automation tool depends upon your budget. For early stage startups, you can start with a CRM which has automation features. As you grow, you can then consider buying a marketing automation tool. Take your email campaigns for example, you can start these with Mailchimp at first, you can then upgrade to Hubspot & transition into Marketo as you become more mature.
In regards to the human resources you allocate to your marketing automation, 1 to 2 people is plenty enough to start, especially if you have a full stack marketer in your team. David drew out a triangle summarizing the main aspects of marketing automation:
Ideally, as a mature company, you need a person for each cornerstone of that triangle. As a startup, your means might be limited, so you can always outsource some of the operational aspects of your marketing automation. For example, Kerry outsources the SEO & SEM work at her company, she writes the strategy and lets technical teams in India execute.
“Marketing is more a science today than an art”
We wrapped up the workshop addressing the common pitfalls to avoid. According to Kerry, most startups use only 5% of their marketing automation tool capabilities. It’s plain and simple, don’t invest in a tool if you don’t have the skills to make the most of it.
David, on his end advises to avoid running campaigns if you can’t track statistics. “Marketing is more of a science today than an art. It is all about properly understanding your metrics and reiterating on the processes that work best”.
ubi i/o’s Startups Stand out @ IoT World’s pitch competition!
The week’s main event in San Francisco was undoubtedly IoT World. Three of our startups were amongst the hundreds of companies in attendance: Sevenhugs, Famoco and Qowisio. An amazing opportunity for them to network with a highly qualitative crowd.
Sevenhugs and Famoco were ranked amongst some of the best startups and had the chance to pitch at the IoT World Pitch competition. All the relentless training throughout ubi i/o’s first weeks certainly paid off. Famoco took home the prize in the Smart City category while Sevenhugs took 1st place in the Smart Home division. The ubi i/o team is incredibly proud of this accomplishment and we’re quite sure this won’t be their last victory.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 12, 2016
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