Three tips for breaking into the US

27 April 2016

The US is a large and lucrative market with plenty of opportunities for those that do it right. To make the most out of entry into Silicon Valley or New York’s Silicon Alley, New Zealand technology companies need to be prepared. In the second of a three-part series about doing business in the North American market, we chat with NZTE Beachheads Advisor, Kelly Hoey.

One of the most important things newcomers need to understand is that the tech ecosystem in San Francisco is known for its giving and collaborative ethos, where reputation and trust are paramount.

“How the startup community operates in the technology sector is all about people offering and doing things before someone ever asks. That’s now also infiltrated the New York ecosystem. New entrepreneurs unfamiliar with the tech community or the startup community in general, when they want to start talking to people about their idea, will ask for a non disclosure agreement. But if you do that you’ll get nothing and you’ll have every door closed to you because what you’re saying is ‘I don’t trust you.’ For anyone operating in those ecosystems, all you have is your reputation."

“When the internet is everywhere and you can build a product anywhere, why wouldn’t you want to do it in New Zealand? As a country, New Zealand has an excellent chance of attracting dedicated, smart, long-term employees because they get to enjoy the very high quality of life there.”

Top three tips for companies eyeing up the US

1. Do your research so you can understand the segment of the market you’re looking to enter, whether it’s San Francisco, New York or Seattle. Research and study the hyperspecific market you’re entering. Understand that the US is not a single market.
2. Having identified your market, get up to speed; follow the blogs, sign up for newsletters, join the meet-ups so you can get a real feel for what’s going on in that city before you get there.
3. Tap into the network of peers who have gone before you. Start building relationships with them so you can hit the ground running.