Going Global? Lessons Learned from A Startup


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We would like to share our experience on starting businesses in a few countries. We'll explain why today (2009-201?) is the best a few years for small business, startup to go global.

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Going Global? Lessons Learned from A Startup

  1. 1. Starting Up<br />Going Global<br />Lessons Learned <br />From<br />A Startup<br />Andy Harjanto<br />andy@guppers.com<br />Wish you were here<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />We Have Launched, <br />What’s Next?<br />New Global<br />Opportunities<br />For All of Us<br />Lessons Learned<br />From Starting up Globally<br />
  3. 3. What We Learn From Starting UP Globally - Guppers.COM<br />
  4. 4. Start with Observations<br />Billions of Texting DeliveredEveryday, Everywhere in the world!<br />
  5. 5. Why Texting Is Always P2P?<br />Would Group Texting Be Better? <br />How About Directory Services for SMS? <br />How about Premium Content?<br />Exclusive Membership?<br />
  6. 6. Prototypes, Hypothesis Validation <br />Cloud Services<br />People in a few pilot countries really like the service<br />
  7. 7. But What’s Wrong?<br />Dealing with local telephone provider was hard for a startup.<br />They protect their cash cow. They’d ratherbuild services internally, as opposed to form a partnership.<br />Lesson #1<br />Dependency on large companies is the kiss of death for many startups*<br />*unless you know the key players inside the company<br />
  8. 8. But What’s Wrong? (Cont’d)<br />End consumers in many countries arevery cost-conscious <br />Credit card is not usedto pay bills in many countries. Mobile payment is not as easy to integrate<br />Lesson #2<br />Think thru end-to-end customer experience<br />for each region<br />
  9. 9. One Door Closes, Another Opens..<br />Businesses are using our service!<br />High stickiness <br />Many usages that we’ve never thoughtbefore<br />Less issue on payment and prices. Credit cards and invoice are common<br />Lesson #3<br />Do not resist opportunities, even if your<br />product is not design that way <br />Each region presents unique opportunities<br />
  10. 10. Unexpected Shift Happens<br />Global Economy<br />Meltdown 2008-?<br />Promise of<br />Cloud Computing<br />(Cost Elasticity)<br />The Rise Of<br />Social Computing<br />(Productivity)<br />Lesson #4<br />Mobility<br />Accelerated<br />Ride the global wave early, <br />offer compelling solutions <br />
  11. 11. …Back to Drawing Board<br />The new Guppers.com was born…<br />Cloud Computing Ready<br />The Use of Social Computing <br />Heavily Focus on Mobility <br />Effortless Collaboration, just use your daily tool (SMS, Email, Browser)<br />Social Media Ready <br />Does this work? <br />It’s early to tell, but we’re hopeful <br />from looking at the data<br />
  12. 12. OK, Let’s Find Beta Customers..<br />Easy, Right? Not really. <br /><ul><li>In Asia, especially, often personal</li></ul>trust is pre-requisite to using your service<br /><ul><li>In Europe, it has much higher expectation on your services, even it is in beta/alpha form.
  13. 13. Tight hand-holding is required </li></ul>Lesson #5<br />Expect to spend more time and resource<br />with customers in different parts of the world. US is not the barometer <br />
  14. 14. Understand Their Daily Life<br />Work Day<br />Evening Hours<br />Social Engagement<br />continues well into the night<br />
  15. 15. Guppers Usage By Region<br />Mostly<br />SMS<br />Online and Email dominated<br />Mix SMS and Online<br />
  16. 16. Does Social Media Work Outside US?<br />Although Asia has the highest Internet population and growth, US companies have little tractions. Online services are dominated by local online services (CyWorld, Baidu, Mixi)<br />Lesson #6<br />In Asia and Europe, co-workers’,<br />friends’ recommendations are much more important<br />
  17. 17. Distribution Channel: What Work For Us Outside US?<br />Lesson #8<br />Partner or hire <br />local connectors<br />Local Connectors, Influencers<br />
  18. 18. Why Is Hiring Local Very Important?<br /><ul><li>They know the local market heartbeat: what sells and what’s not
  19. 19. Business is very personal in many different countries; without body, you’re nobody
  20. 20. They know local laws and regulations
  21. 21. Do not under-estimate the cultural differences between regions, such as business ethics, deal making process</li></li></ul><li>How To Find Local Connectors,Influencers?<br />Your ex-university classmates <br />Your ex co-workers<br />Best to find them at prestigious, highly diversified universities and companies <br />
  22. 22. How To Find Local Connectors and Influencers? (Cont’d)<br />Secondary Option: <br />Issue: Unknown personal quality <br />
  23. 23. Getting Your Business Funded<br />Global organic growth is possible, but it’s unlikely in the first year <br />VC Funding dries up in the US, Why not outside US? <br />
  24. 24. Money Waiting To Be Invested<br />In Asia, unprecedented amount of savings ready to be invested. <br />However, they’re wary of US recent economy meltdown<br />
  25. 25. Your Customers Are PotentialInvestors<br /><ul><li>A few of our loyal customers approach us for investment opportunities in the company
  26. 26. In Asia, personal trust is especially important </li></ul>Lesson #7<br />Earntrust, Customers will<br />come, they might be your <br />best investors<br />
  27. 27. Other Source of Funding:Government Grants<br /><ul><li>Many foreign governments (Europe, Asia) have grant programs to encourage entrepreneurship and create jobs
  28. 28. Establish local a company with your local member and hire local.
  29. 29. It’s a win-win situation</li></li></ul><li>OK, We’ve Launched– What’s Next? <br />
  30. 30. Does Localization Matter?<br /><ul><li>US, UK, and Scandinavian Countries : English
  31. 31. French, German, Italy, Spain: Localize it
  32. 32. Asia: It depends -
  33. 33. Business App, High Tech, Highly Educated: English Acceptable
  34. 34. End-Consumers: Must be localized </li></ul>Lesson #8<br />Localization matters, but not for all countries and <br />not for all customer segment . Keep your cost low<br />
  35. 35. Single or Multiple Hosting?<br /><ul><li>Connections to US frequently are </li></ul>not reliable in a few countries<br /><ul><li>If you build an online service, </li></ul>consider for hosting servers<br />in a few countries. <br /><ul><li>Europe requires some data toreside in Europeancountries. </li></ul>Lesson #9<br />As you design the system, <br />take into account the possibilities<br />that you have to host your services<br />in a few countries. Cloud Computing will help in the future<br />
  36. 36. The “Digital Divide”<br /><ul><li>The prevailing view: “The Have vs Have Not”</li></ul>access to digital and information technology<br /><ul><li>This view becomes less and less accurate
  37. 37. Cell phones are very affordablein many countries.
  38. 38. It is also common to seea person carries more thanone cell phone</li></li></ul><li>Our View Of “Digital Divide”<br />Next interesting problems to solve<br />How to Bridge the Digital Divide?<br />SMS<br />
  39. 39. Global Team? Good Idea?<br />Guppers team members span over 5 different time zones <br />
  40. 40. Working Globally: Communication<br /><ul><li>Time and Space are virtually compressed with today’s communication tools
  41. 41. Tools are effectively free or inexpensive
  42. 42. Nothing beats human face to face meetings; but today’s tools are good enough</li></ul>What we’re using….<br />Live Meeting<br />Conversation via<br />SMS, Email, Online<br />Personal Status<br />Group<br />Conference<br />Call<br />Email<br />Hosting<br />Screen Sharing<br />
  43. 43. Lesson #10<br />Take Advantage Of Cloud Computing<br /><ul><li>Cloud Computing is perfect for startup
  44. 44. The cost of building and maintaining data center is too expensive for startups
  45. 45. Cloud Computing offers “Pay As You Go” model, which works well for us</li></ul>What we’re using<br />(pilot)<br />
  46. 46. Eat Your Own Dog Food!<br />Lesson #11<br /><ul><li>Use your product daily
  47. 47. At Guppers,
  48. 48. We’re THE #1 customer
  49. 49. We heavily depend on this product </li></ul>to run our business<br /><ul><li>Catch core scenario bugs, regression before our customers</li></li></ul><li>24/7 Customer Support?<br />Lesson #12<br /><ul><li>If you have team across the world, why don’t turn them into the 24/7 Customer Support Team?
  50. 50. Skype allows online users to talk directly to you</li></li></ul><li>Go After Countries in Phases<br />Lesson #13<br /><ul><li>As a startup, don’t spread too thin
  51. 51. Pick only a few countries
  52. 52. Ensure the end-to-end scenarios work first
  53. 53. Expand to the other regions slowly
  54. 54. Go after the simpler region first</li></li></ul><li>Go After Countries in Phases(Cont’d)<br /><ul><li>US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Scandinavian Countries
  55. 55. Early Adopters, they adopt new US services quickly.For examples,Twitter, FB, Skype </li></li></ul><li>Go After Countries in Phases (Cont’d)<br /><ul><li>Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore,Philippine, etc
  56. 56. Eastern Europe: Romania, Ukraine, Poland
  57. 57. Germany, French, Spain, ItalyThey’re more of Followers. Once the service is proven to be excellent in US, they’re more receptive</li></li></ul><li>Go After Countries in Phases (Cont’d)<br /><ul><li>China, Japan, South Korea
  58. 58. Huge Market Potential
  59. 59. Hardest to penetrate
  60. 60. Best bet is to workwith local company
  61. 61. Main issue: Generation saving attitudes</li></ul>Far-East<br />
  62. 62. The Dragon and Elephant<br /><ul><li>China and India: home to 37% of world population. That’s 2 for every 5 people.
  63. 63. China web users alone, outnumber US population
  64. 64. Have to visit to understand the magnitude of opportunities, threats, and progress.
  65. 65. Think of mass resources and market</li></li></ul><li>The Opportunities 2009-201?<br />
  66. 66. Layoffs Hit US and Europe<br />Some best and brightest <br />are forced to start their <br />own business<br />
  67. 67. Re-Migration<br /><ul><li>Many US foreign graduates decide to return back to home countries, instead of looking for a job in the US
  68. 68. Some of layoff workers are H1B holders. They have to return to home country if they can’t find other job </li></li></ul><li>Global Economic MeltdownAffects Countries Differently<br /><ul><li>Asia Market recovers early
  69. 69. Some countries still grow, even at slower pace
  70. 70. Competition to produce cheaper goods & service become fiercer
  71. 71. Still huge appetite forsavings andinvesting</li></li></ul><li>Putting All of Them Together<br />Funding <br />possibilities<br />outside US<br />Work with <br />Connectors, <br />Influencers<br />around the world<br />Get brightest<br />around the world<br />for ideas, prototype<br />
  72. 72. The Investment Model<br /><ul><li>The cost of building product/services is dramatically reduced compared to10 years ago, thanks to open source, much better tools, cloud computing.
  73. 73. The cost could be further reduced by outsourcing to certain parts of the world who have the expertise.
  74. 74. Investors no longer need to come up with a large fund. </li></li></ul><li>All Great, But…It’s Easier Said Than Done<br /><ul><li>How do we find others?
  75. 75. How can I trust this person?
  76. 76. How do I know if this person is real expert?
  77. 77. How do I know I could work well with this </li></ul>person who is 12,000 miles away<br />But we have to start somewhere!<br />
  78. 78. For Entrepreneur<br /><ul><li>The hardest hurdle is </li></ul>to start - “Just do it”<br /><ul><li>Presenting your ideas is no longer good enough.
  79. 79. You must have a working prototype,and ideally customers</li></li></ul><li>For Connectors, Influencers<br /><ul><li>Global opportunities </li></ul>are as good as it gets <br /><ul><li>Build connections, relationship to entrepreneurs, investors where they live online (Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook)</li></li></ul><li>For (Individual) Investors<br /><ul><li>Some of best and brightest are behind startups
  80. 80. Typically, requires no heavy investment
  81. 81. Allows to diversify to many different startups
  82. 82. Still high risk, but it could be high reward </li></li></ul><li>Global Business is Personal<br />Focus more on quality, instead of quantity <br />
  83. 83. My Personal Experience<br /><ul><li>Incredibly rewarding to work with people all over the world
  84. 84. At personal level, regardless of countries, the pattern is consistent : many good apples, couple bad ones.
  85. 85. Appreciate many cultures so much more. Always expect the unexpected
  86. 86. Love to learn more and connect many more people</li></li></ul><li>Going Global - Yes, You Can<br />Finally<br /><ul><li>The World is Flat – Thomas L. Friedman.
  87. 87. Playing field has been leveled
  88. 88. Time and Space have been compressed
  89. 89. The cost of going global is a possibility even for a startup and a small business.
  90. 90. The biggest challenge remains
  91. 91. Building and maintaining relationships to your partners and customers
  92. 92. Cultural gaps; law, regulations and ethics. </li></li></ul><li>Call To Actions<br /><ul><li>Expect more updates to this presentation as we learn more
  93. 93. If you would like to contribute, please share your experience; we’ll update & credit your contributions
  94. 94. Join discussions in a Linked-in new group. Click here
  95. 95. We hope we can network entrepreneurs, connectors, investors, influencer from all over the world.
  96. 96. Spread the words, let’s network
  97. 97. If I can be of any help, please contact me andy@guppers.com and twitter:@harjanto</li></li></ul><li>Credits<br />Pictures – Creative Commons License<br />Maps - Microsoft Maps (maps.live.com) <br />