Past Monday Swiss startups gathered at the Startup Festival “Internationalization” at Google Switzerland in Zurich. They learnt about expanding into a market abroad and were introduced to the “Google Venture Sprints”. On top of that 15 ICT-startups showed their best performance at the Pitchfest. Don’t miss the five winners.
“Going international” is always something a startup has to think about: a big decision. Sometimes it is the best for the company, but sometimes it can ruin everything as well. To bring out the best of “going international” Google, IFJ and venturelab organized the Startup Festival “Internationalization”. The event comprised workshops, pitch-training and a pitch-competition of 15 ICT-startups in front of a huge crowd and a high-class jury. Although we are on summer break the starting field was high-grade: Even internationally well-known companies like zkipster, which has offices in Zurich, New York, London, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, were part of it. Here are all 15 participants:
The festival was divided in three parts. In part one the participants train the Google Venture Sprints. A sprint is basically a process for prototyping and testing any product. This workshop gave the startups specific techniques and tools to help them move faster. If you want to learn more about it, click here.
In part two a few lectures were delivered by representatives of YouTube, Google International and by Jordi Montserrat, Managing Director of venturelab. He is an expert with experience of over 15 years in startup innovation and acceleration. Montserrat is also responsible for the venture leaders program, which organizes business development trips to USA, China and South Africa. In his first lecture he talked about “going international” and all the pros and cons of this decision: The first question for an entrepreneur is: Why are you internationalizing? Do you have to because by nature (the customers are on a worldwide basis access), by necessity (the domestic market is too small) or by opportunity (lots of cash can be invested for growth)?
During and after this process you have to staff the company with the right people. Every country has its own rules and mentality. So sometimes it is better to hire someone who knows the country where you want to establish your company. Montserrat advised: “Get credibility stamps locally to build trust (recruiters, investors etc.) to have people working for you. And prepare to build a corporate culture.” After that find out which format fits to your company (export directly, subsidiary/local company, third parties, OEM, licensing, franchising etc.).
Montserrat pointed out that the first contact and impression can have a great impact, especially when the cultural differences are huge. Therefore before meeting someone, be always prepared and know the rules. He recommended two books, which will help you to be prepared: “High context, low context cultures” by Edward T. Hall and “Hofstede Dimensions” by Geert Hofstede. This was just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to know more about “internationalization” apply now for the free business development trips to Brazil and India in autumn 2015 organized by venturelab, EPF Lausanne and swissnex.
Part three of the Startup Festival was taken over by the participants themselves as it was time for the pitch-event. 15 Swiss ICT-startups introduced their ideas in a 3min-pitch in front of more than 100 participants and a jury, which included representatives of Google, venturelab and IFJ, declared five winners. And here is the ranking and you find here the best of photos:
- Aware Engineering
- Dental Campus