Breaking into the U.S. market is a huge milestone for any ambitious upstart whether they’re an artist or an entrepreneur. After working in the music industry and starting Universal’s venture arm before doubling down on tech by starting my own fund, I’ve seen what it takes to break America.
Just as great bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones navigated the cultural shift to win over American audiences, today’s European founders face certain cultural challenges when striving to establish their startups over the pond.
Here are five key tips for founders looking to make their mark in the U.S.
Back yourself to thrive abroad
Immigrant grit and perseverance have often proven to be an X factor in the startup scene and the data doesn’t lie: 25% of U.S. companies raising venture capital boast an immigrant founder; 50% of unicorn companies with a $1 billion valuation have immigrant founders; and 60% of companies that go public have immigrant founders.
Today’s European founders face certain cultural challenges when striving to establish their startups over the pond.
This basically means you’re twice as likely to be successful in startups as an immigrant founder, and this is one of the core tenets we’ve built our fund on as investors at Tapestry.
Clearly this is a case of correlation not causation, but the point is that the underlying determination needed to make the jump across cultures will mean you’re also far more likely to thrive in a tough, taxing role like being a founder.
Project a future-focused vision
Americans love a winner. So make sure you present like one.
European founders often outline the vision for a company narrative by analyzing today’s metrics, comparing them to the past and offering future predictions based on that. The American ethos is different. Founders in the U.S. paint a grand picture of the future and work backward to the present. At the end of the pitch, they might make a reference to the past.