The Erevena team in San Francisco were delighted to join Tech Nation and the UK AI and Cyber delegation when they recently visited the city.

Terry Shaw, Partner at Erevena, took part in a great panel session, kindly hosted by Docusign and mediated by Tech Nation’s Parveen Dhanda, with Alastair Mitchell, Partner at EQT Ventures and Alastair Paterson, CEO and founder of Digital Shadows.

The focus of the discussion was when and how to enter the US market, with some important key takeaways:

  • Gain traction with clients remotely first and make sure your proposition is distilled to the point of a playbook which is very easily understood and therefore replicable by the leaders hired for your go-to-market team. Focus is EVERYTHING. It’s a huge addressable market so plot your way to expanding in steps – if you go after everything at once, you will fail against bigger brands with a clearer value proposition.
  • If deals are $100k or less and not closing quickly, there’s something wrong with your value proposition.  Don’t chase big companies with proof of concepts.  Think about trial periods instead.  POCs can get lost for months with ‘innovation teams’ and not ‘economic decision makers’.
  • When you have no brand, choose VCs and advisors who are well networked locally and can connect you to the first decision makers in your playbook.
  • Don’t come to the US until you have a war chest of capital to build a local team.  The costs will stun you, even with thorough preparation.
  • Ensure you have someone from your founding team in the US office to bring the two cultures together.
  • Think carefully about location – it doesn’t have to be San Francisco, consider where your customers are as well as your VCs.

All great advice for any UK firm considering expansion into the US market, and San Francisco in particular.