Tech founders from around the world relocate to Silicon Valley to launch, fund and grow their startups. But the process of relocating is a difficult one fraught with obstacles and challenges for founders to overcome.
Founders Network member Koldo Garcia, Co-founder and CEO of The Mad Video, recently relocated to Silicon Valley from Spain. He shares why he made the decision to relocate and what he’s learned along the way:
Why Silicon Valley?
The Mad Video team planned on launching in Silicon Valley from the beginning “…due to the access to capital, the ecosystem that fosters the sharing of ideas and the US market opportunity”. Additionally, Koldo says “Its a also a wonderful place to do business as an entrepreneur. You are valued not for where you come from but for the quality of product that you have.”
Koldo’s 5 Quick Tips for International Founders Relocating to Silicon Valley
1. Think Big “Silicon Valley” style
The perspective and scope of business ideas in Silicon Valley are different. He says, “people in Silicon Valley, from the very beginning, have bigger ideas.” Founders have a global perspective and think about big markets.
2. Develop a beta product before moving
“Everyone starts at zero, but if you are trying to start from scratch in a foreign country you will fail. If you decide to come here, my personal advice is to have a product already developed and in Beta. Don’t come with just an idea, even if you are really skilled in your field, it’s much better to have a product already.”
3. Plan on investing more time than expected
“Starting a startup in a foreign country is not an easy or fast process. You need at least one year to begin to understand how things work and how you can succeed in a new market. You have to learn how to deal with small and domestic problems that take time away from your product.”
4. Be disciplined about staying closely connected with remote co-founders
Another challenge Koldo has is keeping his team together and working in unison. The rest of The Mad Video team is in Spain while Koldo forges the way here in Silicon Valley. Koldo says, “The challenge with this arrangement is you do not get to work together day-by-day. The nine hour time difference is really difficult and you cannot easily share your thoughts and feeling with your partners.” Schedule time to collaborate with your partners back home.
5. Network, network, network
One of Koldo’s biggest challenges was having to re-start from zero. “I came here after several years of experience in my country and had connections to the industry, here I don’t.” says Koldo. “You have to meet, understand and connect with the people in your market and your industry. They can help you with communication and spreading the word and message. Find connections and build relationships with people who can help you penetrate your target market. Having a group giving you advice, or a good board of advisors, even one or two people can act as a safety barrier and can save you from making many mistakes.”
Want to learn more about @themadvideo? Connect with Koldo on Twitter @koldogb