#24: Sven Deichfuss

Episode 24 - Sven Deichfuss - Paving the Way for European Startup Success in the States

Key Points:

  • Neuland Alliance was a result of a failed attempt to splash into the US market, like many other Europeans who thought it was easy

  • Moving your European business to the US is not as simple as just showing up

  • The US market is large and has great potential, but the risks also remain high

  • Raising funds in the US is not that much different than in Europe, though valuations in the US are much higher

  • It’s easy for a startup to become overwhelmed with the bureaucratic weight of launching in the US, it’s also a distraction from your business focus so you need experts

  • Neuland offers services that address human resources, accounting, and legal issues

  • The US model of HR, accounting and legal will be vastly different from Europe and finding EU-based resource experts has been problematic & very costly

  • Neuland Alliance is focused on making the US market more accessible to make market entry easier

Many European startups try unsuccessfully to launch in the US and end up with very expensive headaches, due to the high cost of making mistakes with the process of entering the market. Often, many of these expensive problems are bureaucratic, an area that falls far outside of the startups’ normal scope. The bureaucratic weight of setting up your European startup in the US often turns out to be a lot more work than ever imagined, because it’s something completely new and outside of the core focus of your startup.  

When you are listening to your European legal or accounting or HR experts, that may conflict with what US experts in those fields, which then only adds to the confusion. Just as many American legal experts often fail to understand the legal consequences in Europe, European experts can be wrong about the US because it’s not their speciality.

After seeing many failures and frustrated startup founders arrive in the US only to turn around and go home a few months later, the team at Neuland Alliance wanted to address the biggest problems they saw - HR, legal and accounting - so that startups could do what they do best and leave the infrastructure work to experts who know the field and have extensive experience.

For any startup founders planning an expansion to the US market, this is a very helpful discussion. The US is of course a great place to be, with over 300 million people and customers who love new technology. The potential is there but there’s a lot more than just New York and Silicon Valley, despite what many still believe.  

Where you open an office will depend upon your market sector and prospect base, and the kind of company you create will also depend on many factors. Making the wrong decisions can be a costly problem, and can also be incredibly demoralizing to the team. To learn more about Neuland Alliance and their services, you can find Sven on Twitter here or via the Neuland Alliance website here.


 

#23: Adrien Mennillo

Episode 23 - Adrien Mennillo - uTip, They Benefit

Key Points:

  • This is Adrien’s second round as a startup founder, learned from previous venture

  • Learned to code, to build initial PoC, later partnered with CTO to build out

  • Experience working with banks as a consultant helped form the idea

  • Noticed the growth of creators, but poor revenue options for them

  • Google & Facebook have monopolized ads and keep most of the money, even with limited views

  • Wanted to find an easier way to support creators, concluded advertising was the best method of achieving this

  • Online advertising has applied old TV model, not working well due to poor results and limited views

  • Advertisers spend a lot for limited views, so uTip provides dedicated viewers in return for money to creators. Everybody wins and gives back control.

  • Challenge has been to disrupt the advertising agencies, who know their model isn’t working but are slow to change.

  • uTip is busy trying to create a sense of urgency within the advertising business, which is failing to deliver results and is nearing the end of the current model

  • uTip is providing a new model that provides better access to the market

For anyone who has tried generating revenue from online advertising, you already know that what exists today is a mess.  Google and Facebook own that market and show no sign of giving it up anytime soon.  Like any market monopoly this means they dictate the rules.  Thirty second video ads that show for 3 seconds get counted as a view by Facebook so with environments like that, it’s no wonder online ad prices keep dropping.

For brands this means you’re spending a lot of money to reach out to people who probably aren’t even watching your ads, though you’re still spending money to run them.  The old TV days where viewers were glue to their set simply doesn’t translate to the online market, where viewers hop around and watch what they want to watch, or don’t.

For creators who thought they could run ads on their sites to generate revenue have it even worse.  Their followings hardly translate into money because the the system requires massive numbers to generate any meaningful impact and even then, the pay is so low.  The owners of the online advertising market - mostly Facebook and Google - take the money throw small change to creators.

It’s an ongoing problem even for larger media outlets - pick your favorite newspaper or magazine or whoever - who also are struggling to generate any revenue online.  Their bold plans to trust Facebook with promoting their media outlets has blown up in their faces and they have almost nothing to show for it.

More recently there have been newer options for content creators but even there, while the results have been fantastic for a few, most creators have struggled to earn money.  By combining this issue for creators with the rapidly evolving dynamics of online advertising, uTip is addressing these markets with a creative offering.

Join us as Adrien explains more about this complex issue that is forcing the market to evolve, while providing benefits for creators.  He shares his biggest challenges and how he’s addressing them, as well as future direction.

#22: Tim Mevel

Episode 22 - Tim Mevel - HelloZack, Hello Convenience

Key Points

  • HelloZack noticed the difficulties of selling used products, sought to make it easier

  • Started initial pilot in California, buying up anything and selling on consignment

  • In the beginning, nothing was automated but they have gradually introduced tech tools to help streamline processes

  • Seeking a better customer experience than current models

  • Pivoted in 2016 to focus exclusively on Apple products

  • Payment for Apple products, anytime, anywhere

  • Specially trained team rather than outsourced

  • Raised capital from private investors & also bank loans, to help cover payment terms

Tim Mevel of HelloZack was raised with a background of entrepreneurship, so diving into the startup world wasn’t a surprise move. During his studies, he and his co-founders set up the first version of the company in Berkeley, where they picked up anything people wanted to get rid of, and sold it for them online. The convenience was a big hit; just avoiding the flood of spam and scams won over a good following.

Over time though, the team realized that selling anything and everything required a lot more time and storage space than they’d imagined. While popular, the V1 model wasn’t scalable so in 2016, they pivoted. The team stepped back and looked at their most popular items, and what was the least taxing in terms of time to resell, as well as storage space. Apple products were the clear winner, as they remained highly popular but also took up less space than many other items. Tim and his team have accepted that mistakes are bound to happen, but more importantly, they’ve made a real effort to learn from those mistakes.

HelloZack’s founders knew it didn’t make sense to invest a lot of money into something that hadn’t been tested; it’s easy to spend a lot of money and time, only to learn that the market isn’t interested. As the company presses forward, they’re now investing more into the technology behind the scenes to make it all work better for everyone.

Moving forward, HelloZack is eager to become profitable, which will happen soon, so they’re working with banks to help carry them through the 20-30 day payment terms. This helps their cash flow and prepares them for the next phase of the business, which is international growth.

#21 (fr): Thomas Ollivier

Episode 21 - Thomas Ollivier - Comprendre l'avenir en y participant

Points clés :

  • - Responsable d'une équipe qui explore des pratiques émergentes comme la nouvelle économie collaborative.
  • - Une grande entreprise d'assurance née comme une startup en 1934 et qui continue d'innover.
  • - Une grande entreprise qui investit dans 25 startups, avec deux sorties.
  • - Inclure des partenaires externes dans les frontières de l'entreprise fait que celle-ci peut étendre rapidement sa compréhension des nouveaux usages (échange de maisons, accès privilégié à des dépanneurs, etc.) et fournir à ses employés des perspectives nouvelles.
  • - Des partenaires même hors de l'assurance, avec toujours pour but de délivrer de la valeur dans des échanges gagnant-gagnant (MAIF, partenaire, employés et sociétaires).
  • - Une focalisation sur l'action, par des projets concrets livrés en quelques mois.

En français.