“I wish funds would do this for their founders.”
1) Constant presence!
Having people on the ground helps
Does not help to be there for two weeks
Building presence, connections and
Competence in all issues
2) Knowing people at hand !
Pointing to the right people / services
Knowing the good immigration lawyers in
Success rate, how many cases
Bad one will do more harm
If you can’t get a visa, don’t apply for one’
Tax system complicated:
YC uses Indinero for bookkeeping &
3) Research up front!
Helping founders take care of bureaucratic BS
“Standard” procedures help founders know
they are not missing anything
Letters for visas, where to look for anything
Which bank to use (Silicon Valley Bank)
C-corp Delaware, investors preference
Do these papers, 10M shares.. (Clerky for
convertible notes, board docs etc)
Lawyers, Lawgives, StartX, in-house lawyer?
4) Network! !
Helping founders make the crucial ﬁrst
Understanding US value system is different
Going through the cycle a few times gives
Knowing good people
Understanding a ﬁt
Introducing the right people
Others will not intro you if you are not
Investors even more picky about time
To be precise you need to know the
1st impression crucial
“We wanted to respect the fact that in the
bacon and egg breakfast of a startup, we were
with the chicken and the entrepreneur was the
pig: we were involved, but she was committed.“
Ideas to do anywhere !
Sharing knowledge as talent is limited!
Engineering leadership, community summit, CEO summit !
Common themes, best practises, examples “how we built kick ass customer support”!
Behind closed doors allows people to whine - esp CEO job quite lonely!
Linking people to alike roles from other startups but a few years ahead!
Reminding everyone of all the people they can straight off reach out to
Some friendly advice
– Paul Graham, YC
“First time entrepreneurs “pitch”. The ones who
know what they are doing let the product speak
for itself - and can easily and shortly explain
what they do.”
Be a good person and for God’s sake, don’t sell
Only contact people for a good reason and with few, speciﬁc asks !
Forget about saying you’re arriving in one month - Next week is good!
Teach something new in exchange, don’t just ask
Contact alike people with same task / background / country / interest /situation, even
It’s a small place so don’t underestimate people or their network
Visit or go to a conference the ﬁrst time, next time things will be easier
European companies are not very popular, but everyone came from somewhere
It’s tough, get friends don’t look for an instant beneﬁt from someone you just met - good
relationships are for years!
3 sentence emails!
Be polite and kind
Start with who you are and what you do
Speak clearly and practice!
Don’t pitch unless you’re asked to !
Business cards, demo, (video & pitch deck for conferences)
Read up front about the VC’s, their funds, their blogs
Follow-ups are done very soon after the meeting. Like 1hr later. !
Timeliness is respecting. Time is the most valuable resource. You don’t want
to waste it. They will not respect you.
Don’t ask people for something that is totally out of their interest or ﬁeld
20 minute meetings!
Have a clear way of stating what you do.
Read press and follow people in the area and scene to keep updated of what’s going on.
Hacker News, Stanford e-corner, Techcrunch, Inc, GigaOm, Singularityhub..
Great VC blogs and other resources https://kippt.com/henrietta/us-venture-cap-funding !
Don’t bug people. Don’t write long emails. Don’t waste people’s time. But get to know cool
people. Entrepreneurs are all out there to change something.
Identify the people who are important for you to meet. Then search your networks:
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc, who could have a contact. Likely you’ll ﬁnd a second or
third contact who you could ask for an intro.
Seek for events to go to. Especially conferences are a great way to get to know the
scene, and connect with people. (GigaOM events, your own line events, eg. for
developers: Distill sf..) Meetups are generally harder: some are ok, some crap.
http://bootstraplabs.com/ is an accelerator for foreign tech in SV