This article is written by Mohammad Eslim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Zaya Kadyrova is the Principal at EBRD Venture Capital, a €100 million dedicated fund which invests in early-stage technology companies in Central and Eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.
Andy Tsao is a Managing Director and leads SVB’s Global Gateway, which assists innovation companies in the emerging markets with their US and international market expansion. He brings more than 20 years of experience banking dynamic companies in technology industries worldwide.
Eamonn Carey is the Managing Director at Techstars London. He was previously MD at Techstars Connection in partnership with AB InBev in New York, and has been a long-term mentor, advisor and angel investor in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US.
Bill Kenney is the founder of the CT Entrepreneurial Event Calendar, CT Entrepreneurial Mentor Cooperative, and CT Entrepreneur Awards (Connecticut).
It was a catching question asked by Bill Kenney on startup panel. As we probably know, Silicon Valley has been a capital that embrace new ventures, technologies and any kind of investments. So what can entrepreneurs and ventures’ leaders do in order to prepare for a successful launch or scale of business?
Zaya Kadyrova provided a clear, well explained answer in three main points: Logistics; having a registration in the U.S is important because it make things a lot easier for raising money. She thinks Delaware or New York is typically considered to be more startup friendly environments when it comes to the laws. Preferably being one of the core founders or a CEO makes your company a U.S facing. Establishing a presence, like opening an office, thinking about building out a team. If it’s an enterprise sales then you need to recruit a local sales team/s, which is quite challenging, competitive and expensive, and once you reach this point then you are more than ready to start raising money in the U.S.
In addition to what she said, Andy mentioned a few extra details for when it comes to raising funds in the U.S. For entrepreneurs, the earlier stage you are, you are in absolute need to be based in the Bay Area on in the United States. In case you are in the scale-up or growth phase there are a cadre of investors who will gladly help you scale your business globally. Andy added “But generally, if you are looking for angel funding or seed funding you really have to be local, because the investors expect to interact with you on a very regular base and that is hard if you are many time zones and thousands of miles away”.
Most importantly, you need to be prepared as the Valley is probably the most competitive market in the world. You need to have every aspect of your business launch or scale-up plan ready in order to avoid crushing down. Lastly, do your elevator pitch flawlessly in order to get on the right foot in the business.
In the same context, what will you do if you have done all of that and you are at the standpoint of building a network? What should you do? Many answers were provided from the three guest speakers in this panel. Zaya thought that you, as an entrepreneur or a person looking for launching a venture, must focus on your business. If you concentrate on what you want to do and made a great thing out of it, an amazing product, then the network will come to you and every interested company or enterprise may come knocking on your door. Eamonn Carey strongly suggested the entrepreneurs to be visible in the communities they are in and start communicating with your others who were in the same boat as yours. While Andy advised people starting in the Valley to put themselves out there and get out of their comforting zones, because staying in a shell afraid of competition means you are committing self-destruction before you start constructing your business in the Valley.
In the end, be smart and brave. Sharks in the sea should not hinder you from floating so learn how to avoid competitive sharks at first but never stay still. Move and learn how to bring the best out of you and outsmart them playing your own game with your own rules. It must be hard in the beginning but with patience and good planning you can do it. Take that step and write your own success story!