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Dorian Selz, co-founder Squirro, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #62 - Dorian Selz: Internationalization

Dorian Selz

March 12, 2020

2:34 – What do Swiss startups get wrong, when it comes to internationalization?
14:11 – How to organize a team
19:32 – The role of fundraising in internationalization
30:55 – How to manage a successful partnership
40:15 – Risk assessment in Europe vs in the US

The Episode in 60 Seconds

Getting the timing right

  • Rather than going and planting a flag abroad, consider letting your customers lead the way. Wherever you find a “big fish”, find an agreement to localize for them.

Finding international customers

  • Try to engage analysts such as Forrester and Gartner early on. This can be in an informal way, since formal engagements can cost you lots of money.
  • Look for international technology partners such as Salesforce and the like.
  • Attend conferences abroad to gain visibility.

Organizational setup

  • For technology products, marketing and sales are usually the areas which need localization, while engineering can stay centralized.
  • A coherent reporting structure and rigorous documentation are vital to successfully move an international team forward.

Successful international partnerships

  • Partners are followers, not leaders. Even though you might have a partner in a certain market, you still need to lead the way for the first successful implementations.
  • It’s a long term game. Try to become part of your partner’s daily routine to stay on the top of their mind.

International fundraising

  • International investors are desirable but not a requirement to expand abroad.
  • Don’t underestimate the difficulties which come with operating in two different legal systems.
  • Since you are missing the benefit of a shared culture, introductions to international investors through your network are even more important.

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