Startup Lithuania Roadshow 2017 in San Francisco: what has been done
Startup Lithuania Roadshow 2017 participants just got back from their inspiring and significant second stop – San Francisco.
There Veleza, Whatagraph, Tellq, Hunters, Pixevia, Tipi, and Elinta Motors represented their companies in Lithuania pavilion at the leading startup event in the region, gathering tech community from the entire world, Tech Crunch Disrupt San Francisco 2017.
Moreover, all startups worked hard to prepare for 5 meetings with key companies in Silicon Valley, organized by Commercial Attaché in the United States of America Laimutis Abeciūnas.
First of them was in Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center where Startup Lithuania Roadshow participants met Nicola Corzine, Executive Director. It is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization designed to educate, innovate, and connect aspiring and current entrepreneurs, so startups have heard some valuable insights about their work culture and methods.
Then Startup Lithuania Roadshow participants head to Nordic Innovation House to meet their Community Manager Paula Salomaa. She represented their institution which allows their members to have a presence in Silicon Valley and New York and provides a “soft landing space” and a community of peers, partners, investors and service providers.
One more stop was at Draper Associates venture capital, where they had to meet Managing Director Draper Dragon Fund & CEO Hero City Andrew Tang, who listened all pitches accurately and gave some valuable insights and advices.
Next meeting was with Jules Walker, Director, Venture Capital Practice & Emerging Technology Practice at KPMG and very much anticipated 500 Startups accelerator professionals. 500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund with a network of startup programs headquartered in Silicon Valley, so they were glad to represent themselves to Lithanian startups and encourage them to work on their goals.
The next day all Lithuanian delegation went to Palo Alto to the headquarters of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm, which helped Apple, Google, Tesla and other to go public. All startups had a great possibility to meet with one of the most experienced lawyers at firm’s Start-Ups and Venture Capital practice – Yoichiro Taku, a partner who represents many early-stage companies and to discuss Do’s and Don’ts when raising venture capital in Silicon Valley for the first time.
One more stop was Stanford university – one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities. At Stanford Venture Studio Lithuanian startups had a meeting with Deb Whitman, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford GSB. They had a chance to learn about the role of Stanford University in Silicon Valley and to hear how Entrepreneurship is being taught and what Lithuania can learn from Stanford.
The final stop in Silicon Valley was at StartX, one of the world’s best accelerators. Startup Lithuania Roadshow participants were fortunate to meet Siddhartha (Sid) Shekhar Singh, CFO & COO at StartX. Probably the most unexpected take-away, they got to know, was that the founders are more important to the success of the startup than product itself. Siddhartha explained that, when selecting the companies, they focus on evaluating the team rather than the idea, because startups will pivot eventually. For this reason, what they evaluate is founder’s passion and commitment, team dynamics, ability to execute & core competency and willingness to understand the market. It seems that this approach pays off, since StartX companies have 77% survival rate – the highest among the other accelerators.
Startup Lithuania Roadshow enables investor-ready startups, which are looking for funding, to visit major startup events in the most prominent ecosystems in the world. Enterprise Lithuania and Startup Lithuania is coordinating this project for the fourth time.
(All photos of the organizers archive)