The learning curve is steep, but exciting, for 6 Danish founders participating in a US Entry Bootcamp, at Lemonsqueeze in Brooklyn, aimed at ”preparing for a successful launch in the US.”
Where Silicon Valley is focused on trends like drones, blockchain and deeplinks, the New York startup scene is broader; tech is just one of several big industries, including finance, fashion and media, which gives startup founders a variety of resources to draw on. The scene is lively, vibrant, and the growth in investments, number of investors, VCs, angels, accelerators, startup organizations makes New York very welcoming.
This is what brought the Danish founders, with companies within ed-tech, tech, Danish design, and travel to enroll in a US Entry Bootcamp in New York in freezing February. The 4-day US-entry camp is organized by Danish early-stage accelerator program Go Grow, in cooperation with Brooklyn incubator and accelerator Lemonsqueeze, to get a firsthand impression of what it takes to launch in the US.
“This workcamp has been mind-blowing in so many ways, and will take our company Design by Witt to the next level,” says founder Martin Witt. Topics covered include streamlining customer relations branding and marketing, and fundraising.
Go Grow is a Danish early-stage startup accelerator, based an the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship, focusing on international growth-oriented startups. More than 40 startups have already been through the program.
Lemonsqueeze has built a business out of helping startups gain a foothold in the US market. As founder and CEO Mik Stroyberg explains, “For us its about saying, we can create a foothold, validate the market, the KPIs are about revenue, sales booked, people attracted, etc. but before we onboard the talent that we have hired, we cant sit down and make those goals. We cant take over the market, but we can bring you further than you would get on your own.”
The challenge of international scaling
Besides the insights into what it actually takes to launch in the US, the founders are being submerged into the New York startup scene, and coming away with a changed outlook on what it means to be an entrepreneur: if you want to go international, you have to get out there and mingle.
“As Born Globals, it is essential for us to get to know the customers, even if it means that you have to play ball in Brooklyn or similar. At the same time it is important to find relevant scientific partners outside Denmark, not least for marketing purposes”, says Thor Groenlykke, founder of Groenlykke Medical.
For many founders, such as the team behind CanopyLAB.com, scaling internationally is a hugely risky endeavor. Launching their startup in the US might represent quite an opportunity for the Danish ed- tech startup, but the hurdles that they might face, if going ahead with this big decision, seem a bit overwhelming.
On the other hand, it is not always a bad thing to be naive about the challenges of international scaling. As Mik Stroyberg says, “The energy behind being naïve is amazing – most of the great stuff I’ve done in my life I’ve done because I didn’t know what I was getting into.”