Guest Post - From Jake Stride - Tactile CRM
Essentials recently helped the UKTI take 21 of the
UK's most promising digital companies to the US to learn about
doing business over the pond and how to access funding.
Tactile CRM was one of the lucky
companies to be on the Digital Mission and found the whole experience
eye opening and a great success, as there is a second Digital Mission
to SxSW in March, the following may help you decide if it is for
Imagine the scene: 21 UK startups land in New York City on the day
the US financial markets start to tank – queue plenty of jokes about
UK bad luck, and how startups now look like a better investment than
banks. It was going to be an interesting week.
Digital Mission NYC was broken in to 2 halves. The first couple of
days were about understanding the US market, employment law and how to
access funding/investors in the US, the rest was based around the Web
2.0 Expo and meetings people had arranged.
As a web-based contact and sales management system for small
CRM already has customers in the US and Canada (about 60% at
present) so the main focus for the week was about meeting with
customers and suppliers to build the Tactile CRM brand and
recognition rather than trying to meet with potential investors.
The first couple of days gave us access to some great seminars
about the legalities of running a business in the US, support and
programs available to foreign companies in New York and some great
networking events, including one at the British Consulate.
Two things became immediately apparent from these first couple of days:
- There seems to be a strong divide between the East and West
coasts, New York is far more of a digital/design scene, whereas the
West Coast is much more about tech/software startups. This isn't a
black and white divide but worth bearing in mind.
- Investors like to have you close by. So if you are looking for
investment, you are more likely to succeed if you can move closer to
The second half of the week was the Web 2.0 expo. The conference
was very well run and plenty of web 2.0 glitterarty where in
For Tactile CRM this
was the most important part of the week. We used the opportunity to
meet with existing and potential suppliers and had pre-arranged
several meetings with other software solutions we would like to work
with/tie into our software. Combine this with the number of networking
events during the day and evening that were being arranged around the
expo and it made for a hectic but useful few days. It would normally,
take months to meet the same number of people.
All in all the Digital Mission was a great success and cannot be
recommended highly enough for people thinking about it. As long as you
understand what it is about, have clear goals for the week and plan
what you want to do, it's a great investment for your business.
As an added bonus each of the companies that went have at least 20
new friends from the Digital Mission and a lot closer ties and network
of expertise to access (it was worth it just for that) - there was
even talk of people getting together for their 'next' startup!