Non-US born entrepreneurs have led and continue to lead globally in tech innovation. That’s not new and it was evident in almost every session I’ve attended this week here in Austin, TX at SXSW. From AI-powered treadmills and robotics to bath bombs, I’m struck by the brilliance of these non-US born founders.
What’s the silver bullet that non-US born founders like Elon Musk, the South African born founder of Tesla and Space X and Mike Krieger, the Brazilian-born co-founder of Instagram, have used? For sure it’s grit and a unique work ethic that sets these entrepreneurs apart. But, what I found during my week at SXSW 2019 is that entrepreneurs have a mix of these silver bullets:
- Be successful in your home country
Startups that have embraced and doubled down in their own country are able to get their battle scars or get their bumps solved with a forgiving audience.
- Spend local
Procure your supplies and your services from the cities you are setting up shop. Likely 5-10% cost increase from doing this. However, these companies have smartly built out local support for their products and services.
- Be nimble
Perfect doesn’t equal success. On the contrary, a willingness to accept imperfection has been what these entrepreneurs have accepted as their new norm.
- Capital funding and human capital
Know how to work on a shoe-string budget.
- Soft launch in the United States
This has been what these founders point to for their success. Taking a conservative approach to entering into the big gorilla US market.
For example, Applaudo’s co-founders themselves leaned into these themes that I heard here at SXSW 2019. And, we pride ourselves for being founded by non-US born entrepreneurs.
Darwin Romero and Jose Giammattei saw a need for software developers in the US market and most importantly, they had direct access to high tech talent in their home country of El Salvador that could build high-quality solutions.
They built Applaudo from scratch and furthermore, proved to customers that Applaudo was what they needed to succeed with web and mobile development.