Going Global? Lessons Learned from A Startup
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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.

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 Going Global? Lessons Learned from A Startup Presentation Transcript

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