Building a scalable start-up is not an easy task. Often times you need to have a simple and well articulated business model, a stellar team at all levels (e.g. technical, marketing, general management) and a large addressable market. Although possible, this is, in my opinion, more difficult to achieve outside of Silicon Valley. In this post, I would like to make a claim that an “international entrepreneur” can leverage the advantages ofSilicon Valley by either establishing an office or have investors from there.
The best example I can give is from Canadian entrepreneurs. The government has recently recognized that a partnership with Silicon Valley is helpful for entrepreneurs to build scalable companies. The C100 initiative was created two years ago to fill the gap:
The programs helps Canadian entrepreneurs to connect with successful Canadians in the Valley in order to be mentored and financed. I attended the 48hrs in the Valley event once and I have to say that the ambiance was close to euphoric! One entrepreneur told me that he was amazed by the level of collaboration and resources available there.
No matter where you start your company, having a foot in the valley, where you can meet outstanding managers, investors and partners, makes it easier to scale. As many tech multinationals are in the Valley, It may enable you to be close to a potential acquirer (think of Google, Cisco, HP, Microsoft) in order to increase the chances of a successful exit.
Many companies have already taken this path. For example, Traiana, from Israel, obtained capital from Sequoia and moved to the Valley, and then New York and London. It was recently acquired for a large amount. Gainspan and Ekahau are other examples. I personally worked with Blueline Innovations from Canada, which opened an office in San Francisco and partnered with US companies.
I just received an email from her. Here’s what it said:
“For the last three decades, serious technology entrepreneurs have come to Silicon Valley to seek help with their early stage businesses. They are still coming in droves. Those adventurous types are usually young, without much obligations at home to hold them back. But Silicon Valley is expensive, and it may not always be feasible for entrepreneurs to leave their homes and pursue the dream of a gold rush. We created 1M/1M so people wouldn’t need to come to Silicon Valley, leave their families, or quit their day jobs too soon.”