When to go Global?
When to go global for Asian startups depends on what your product or service is. I think startups thinking global from the start need to be really careful and make sure you don’t jump up too fast into new markets, every market is a little bit different and you need to make sure you established all the right partnerships and you really learned about that market before you jump in there.
MoBike is a good example, they are expanding first into areas where that kind of industry already has a good foothold so that you are not trying to disrupt things but as they come to the United States they may find that it is a little bit more difficult of a road and learning about each individual city within the United States as to where they should put their bikes. Not every city is going to be a winner for them in the states. Because the culture is so different there. So as you grow globally you have to really pay attention. Because every country is so different. Therefore make sure that you establish partnerships with those countries so that you can really understand that culture before you move there.
The U.S. Market
The U.S. investors usually would like for you to have a U.S. based company. They probably won’t invest if you don’t do that. But having said that, if you have traction in the country you are coming from and you can show that the U.S. market is an interesting one for your product or service. The fact that you have traction where you are coming from means a lot to them. So it is not like you are starting fresh. Depending on the stage of your business. If you’re an early stage business there is a big difference between investors on our coast.
So looking at the United States as a whole is a very big mistake. This is because investors on the east coast of the United States tend to want to see profitability early on. Whereas investors on the west coast (Silicon Valley) are more interested in trying to find a unicorn.
What Capital Innovators looks for?
Investors in the Midwest like Capital Innovators are much more about usually business to business models. We look at a practical ROI and we look at earlier stage businesses. We are more interested in a smaller business than we are trying to find the unicorn. So if you are trying to break into the United States market it would benefit you to learn about those differences. That is where you should focus your efforts.
So our program takes applications like most accelerator programs, we do it twice a year, it is an easy application process. We do our interviews by Skype so it is not necessary to come over but we do require that you come over and participate in our program for 12 weeks, we have people to help you get what you need in order to travel and be able to come for those twelve weeks. The startups we love are those that have developed their minimal viable product and preferably has sold it to a handful of people that is a little bit stuck in trying to figure out how to scale. If you have some traction at home but think you can get more traction in the United States you should look at applying to our accelerator, it would a great way to develop partnerships that are so important to going global.