International Startup Marketplace, Friday February 20, 2015.

Last Friday, Yvonne and I attended The International Startup Marketplace hosted at Hult International Business School’s San Francisco campus. The conference was lined up with inspiring talks, and we received plenty of useful and applicable startup advice. 

Jeff Snider from US Market Access Center kicked off the conference with his speech: Silicon Valley – A strategic tool for Benchmarking. Snider pointed out the importance of thinking global from day one – “later is too late”.  Snider also pointed out the importance of identifying your initial target users, and focusing a hundred per cent on satisfying them, instead of chasing multiple user segments at the same time. That is what Facebook did when they targeted Harvard students.

Next up was Chris Lipp, Pitch Coach at Stanford. Lipp drilled the audience on how to deliver the perfect startup pitch. He specified the importance of explaining the significance of the pain your solution is solving, and why your solution is superior to its competitors. Furthermore, entrepreneurs need to be aware that although listing product features is informative, it is the added benefits of utilizing those product features that sell, and therefore, what you should focus on when pitching.

After learning how startups ideally should pitch their idea, it was time to experience pitching in action. StudySoup, a peer-to-peer market place for study materials, delivered a slick presentation – We wish we had this when we were in college! 

After a short break spent networking and landing a bite to eat, a new line up of speakers waited for us. Among them Adiba Barney, CEO of SVForum, who provided some very useful tips on how to incorporate and set up shop in the US. We also got to meet Claire Lee, Head of Early Stage Banking at Silicon Valley Bank. She taught us that investors and banks in Silicon Valley are more risk willing than compared to the rest of the world. She was certain that Silicon Valley will maintain its leading position for many years ahead.  A recurring lesson from the speakers was how important it is to build the right team and how Silicon Valley is all about the people. Jeff Snider had a really cool recommendation for putting together the perfect team, “you need a hacker, a hipster, and a hustler to build, package, and sell”.