Silicon Valley: Tips from 3 experts
3 min

Silicon Valley: Tips from 3 experts

How do Swiss start-ups assert themselves in the technology heartland of Silicon Valley? Advice from three people who know: an investor, a senior manager in a tech group and a marketing director in a Swiss start-up.

Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2019 – Off to Silicon Valley!

CREAL3D, People-Analytics AG, PXL Vision, Gmelius and DeepCode are the winner of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2019. From 20 to 26 October, they have benefited from the personal experiences of top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Philipp Stauffer is a Swiss investor, Karin Schwab manages the legal department at eBay and Corey McCarthy is vice president of the Swiss start-up Beekeeper. And they have some things in common: they all work in Silicon Valley, they are professionally successful and they really know their way around when it comes to how things are done there. Here are their tips with regard to three key questions that Swiss start-ups need to ask themselves if they want to gain a foothold in the American market.

Part 1: What differences do I need to consider between Swiss culture and that of Silicon Valley?

When we think of America, we can all come up with clichés – both positive and negative. As a start-up, how can you benefit from the Silicon Valley mindset and how can you avoid putting your foot in it? Here are the insider tips.

Corey McCarthy: Be mindful of that nine-hour-gap. It can create a big business challenge. 

Karin Schwab‘People here have a more direct way of communicating than we are used to in Switzerland.’ 

Philipp Stauffer: ‘If you didn’t fail at least once, you actually will not raise money. People want to see failures that you’ve done but you’ve learned out of them.’  

In the video you can find the complete tips from the experts – Part 1

Part 2: What’s the quickest way for me to gain access to the people in Silicon Valley who are important for my business?

One of the reasons Silicon Valley is so successful is the sheer density of companies, investors and start-ups. All major companies are represented there in some form or other. But how do I reach the right people?

Corey McCarthy: ‘Coming from Switzerland to the US I really highly would recommend getting involved with a launchpad like Swissnex.’    

Karin Schwab: ‘Make sure that if you have a pitch and you don’t get anywhere and you feel that that person is just not interested in what you have to offer, move on.’  

Philipp Stauffer: ‘Don’t just stick to your product, talk about what you really want to change and why you think that will happen.’

In the video you can find the complete tips from the experts – Part 2

Part 3: What are the rookie mistakes I should avoid at all costs?

People make mistakes and that’s the way it should be! In Silicon Valley, failure is still considered good form – at least a couple of times. But that doesn’t mean you have to repeat every beginner’s mistake for the umpteenth time. What start-ups should watch out for on their first visit.

Corey McCarthy: ‘I would advise partnering with someone with a lot of experience of the US market to help guide you through that process.’

Karin Schwab: ‘Don’t expect invitations to somebody’s house or something that goes beyond the business meeting even if people are very friendly.’ 

Philipp Stauffer: ‘Don’t think, you come here, this is a place here and then you leave the place. You can be part of Silicon Valley even if you are nine thousand miles away. ’ 

In the video you can find the complete tips from the experts – Part 3

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