Silicon Valley has long been the go-to place for startups and budding technology companies. As space there becomes increasingly limited and the cost of living soars, other American “surge cities” have begun to emerge as viable locations for startups.
In 2018, I moved my late-stage startup from Madrid to the Denver area. The opportunity this market (and the U.S. as a whole) offered our company in funding, visibility and growth was unmatched. It didn’t hurt that Denver is full of professional development opportunities and access to the outdoors, either.
Evaluate the right next step for your startup
My company achieved considerable success while based in Europe. As my team and I looked to make our next move, we found ourselves attracted to an entirely new country and market. Like many entrepreneurs, I hesitated when facing the risk of uprooting my business and relocating it across the globe. But as we evaluated the benefits of an international move to the Denver area, we knew it was the right step. So, we began proactively strategizing how to ensure our success and sought a support system in our new target market.
Support systems come in many forms: VCs, industry players, industry analysts, etc. For us, it came in the form of a company that helped us make connections not only with industry leaders in our new city and state, but also nationwide. We graduated from UpRamp’s Fiterator accelerator program in late 2017, and the UpRamp team was instrumental in helping us gain traction in the U.S. Ultimately, our accelerator experience was a major factor in why we decided to move the company.
Benefit from an established support system
UpRamp’s business acumen and industry connections were pivotal to our success. Even with our value clearly defined, we could not have achieved success without the support of UpRamp. They helped us close an important funding round and grow our employee base. They also coordinated meetings with executives from leading companies in our industry like Comcast, Cox and Charter.
Building strong relationships in advance of the big move was crucial for us to maintain momentum and navigate obstacles. To make industry connections and get in front of the right people in the cable industry solo could take years! For us, it took only three months.
Communicate effectively to all audiences
Besides seeking a support system, one essential skill for startups making an international move is communication. It is essential to communicate your company’s mission, vision, and value through simple messaging that resonates with your audience. Whether geared toward investors, the public or potential customers, communication must demonstrate a company’s unique value in a way that its audience understands.
In moving to the U.S., my company gained an opportunity for increased visibility, interest and funding, plus a new standing in an optimal market for our technology – something that would have been very difficult had we stayed in Madrid and not forged relationships with major U.S. industry leaders.
Entrepreneurs considering an international move, ask yourselves the following question: Are you in the best location for your startup to thrive and, if not, are you willing to make the move?