Goodbye, LA! 

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