After a 4:30am start to catch an early flight out of LA, the participants arrived in San Francisco at 8:30am, ready for a full day ahead of them in the tech/innovation capital of the world. The participants went straight to SVB from the airport to hear Bill Reichert, Managing Director, Garage Ventures; then straight to the Cuckoo’s Nest / Bootup Ventures for the remaining seminars. The day ended with a fun networking event (and a well deserved drink), facilitated by Jules Walker (KPMG SF) and Patricia Rios (KPMG SV). The key takeaways from the day are below:
10am: Session with Garage Ventures @ SVB: Bill Reichert, Managing Director, Garage Ventures
Top ten rules for building a global success:
- Focus on creating value (i.e. a sustainable business) and not on making money. “Make meaning” – Guy Kawasaki
- Learn how to sell – if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be a successful salesman (e.g. Bill Gates). Cool technology is not enough. Other terminology for sales: “customer discovery” / “customer development”.
- Find your compelling advantage (at least in your home market) before you move. You need to figure out how you are going to get customers; then plug into the talent; then raise venture capital.
- Build an unbalanced team: consisting of an optimist, pessimist, and an engineer (i.e. the person who tells the truth / willing to tell you how it is). Important to have diversity of perspectives.
- High performance companies have a lot of internal conflict. Need to know how to create an environment where there is space for creative conflict. Need to capture value of different perspectives. “culture of disagreement”
- Go native
- Tap the power of networks. Ask for help! And pay it forward.
- Hire true believers – great talent is cheap.
- Don’t be modest – high confidence is more exciting than false modesty
- Steal…ideas, talent, not cash
- Make new mistakes. Build an advisory board that have experience, smart and know what they’re doing. Find people to spend time with, will be a sounding board for you, and believes in your business.
12pm: Insights into the Silicon Valley VC - trends | mindset Andy Tsao, Managing Director
- SVB seeks to help entrepreneurs and investors succeed
- SVB provides venture debt (raise this alongside venture capital)
- SVB looks at new emerging businesses and markets (which includes AUS, RUS, IND, BRA, TUR)
- SVB has a data analytics arm that tracks 130 attributes of successful startups, e.g. 70% of startup founders who have raised series A are from MIT, UC Berkley, Stanford and Harvard)
3:15pm: How to sell to Fortune 100. Rahul Vijay, Strategic Sourcing & Partnerships, Walmart eCommerce
- Nothing beats a great product or service.
- Focus on PR. Free money is great, so why reject free marketing?
- Ask the key decision marker’s preferred method of communication
- Ask purchasing managers what the purchasing process looks like
- Find a codebreaker who the company trusts (e.g. distributers – there are 200 people in the hardware retail space who only sell to Walmart)
- Hire a top sales guy who is already doing millions of $ worth of business with your target company
- Know your decision maker thoroughly – this increases likeability
- Be the fastest to respond to your customer’s queries
- Form an organisation chart of the target company – who are your supporters? How do you use them to convert your non-supporters?
- Increase your likeability quotient
- Be part of the team – be a trusted adviser
- Go whale hunting after you have caught smaller fish
- Ask key people out for coffee
- De-prioritise customers who do not have a business problem
4pm: Foreign entrepreneurs who have entered US market
4:30pm: Enterprise Sales Process Andrew Roberts, Founder and CEO, Ephox
5pm: Networking Drinks