All, Internationalization, Musings, Startups
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USA Launching Pad: New Businesses Coming to America Now

Our business at USA Launching Pad continues to grow, and recently, we had another cohort of international trailblazers come to Silicon Valley to accelerate their expansion into the U.S. market. These companies are crossing the Atlantic with fresh, transformative ideas:

Hypt: Amplifying Word-of-Mouth in the Digital Age

Hypt is a marketing dynamo reinventing how businesses harness word-of-mouth in the digital realm. Their ingenious platform activates customers immediately after a high rating, encouraging referrals while swiftly addressing negative feedback before it escalates. In a landscape where a single review can make or break a reputation, Hypt’s service is invaluable. With an eagle eye on privacy, they navigate the complex web of regulations to comply even with the highest standards (banking…) to ensure that every piece of data is handled with the utmost care. The founders solved how to bring word-of-mouth to the internet in a scalable and compliant way: A game-changer for businesses keen on maintaining sterling reputations in an increasingly review-driven economy.

Flowit: Streamlining Talent Management

Flowit enters the market, offering a much-needed solution for mid-size companies searching for affordable employee appraisal and development software. With HR teams often tangled in the expensive vines of too-elaborate and feature-overloaded solutions, Flowit provides a clear-cut, budget-friendly alternative. Their intuitive platform empowers businesses to foster growth and feedback within their workforce efficiently — a critical factor in nurturing talent and maintaining a competitive edge.

Inside the Experience: A Candid Conversation

To peel back the layers of these companies’ ambitions and strategies, we sat down with the founders of Hypt (Pascal Sollberger) and Flowit (Bilâl Tahris). What unfolded was a fascinating narrative about their journey into the U.S. market. We explored the lessons they’d learned and insights they’d gathered about business strategy, adaptability, and innovation in a competitive American market.

Q1: What is the main problem you seek to solve for your customers?

Bilal: “We help our clients engage, retain, and develop their employees while reducing their turnover costs by up to 50% per year. FLOWIT is also the only provider that implements inclusion in people development by reaching all employees, not just desktop employees.”

Pascal: “Companies these days fail to take advantage of their happy customers and cannot actively leverage the potential of word-of-mouth. Hypt empowers companies for the first time to measure and scale personal recommendations to boost their revenue.”

Q2: What were some key learnings about entering the U.S. market from when you visited?

Bilal: “The potential is huge and the need even greater, as the availability of skilled workers is deficient in many sectors. At the same time, there is widespread awareness of AI-supported tools. This confirms that it was the right decision to expand directly into the USA instead of developing markets in Europe first. The biggest challenge is the differences in the legal area between all the states, including labor law.”

Pascal: The effect of word-of-mouth is even more substantial in the U.S. than in Switzerland. Market segments work in different ways than in Switzerland. Time difference, customer location, and competitor location impact the decision where to start an office.”

Q3: What are your future goals for your U.S. operations, and how do you plan to expand your presence and customer base in the American market?

Bilal: “Throughout 2024, we will continue undertaking many targeted activities to understand the market better. At the same time, we are building up our first customer base and thus also references. It would be utopian to view the U.S. market as one and try to tackle it all simultaneously. We are therefore concentrating first on states in which sectors that correspond to our target customer groups are more strongly represented. The availability of new employees in certain types of work is also relevant for us to grow quickly. Ultimately, these factors are key to determining our location as a company.”

Pascal: “One of our co-founders will move to the U.S. and start building a market presence and a team starting in 2024. Hypt will first grow through direct sales and later start with marketing activities. Currently, the plan is to open an office on the East Coast.”

Q4: Based on your journey, what advice would you give to other international startups looking to grow?

Bilal: “Don’t assume that all the contacts you get through your network are willing to help you, even if they promise to do so. Be aware that the likelihood of getting a pure U.S. V.C. on board is minimal if no U.S. corp exists. And, above all, U.S. traction. Budget a sufficient amount for market research and, above all, time to build a personal network on-site. Evaluate the states, sectors, company structures and then take a very focused approach.”

Pascal: “Before entering the U.S. market, evaluate what the extension means for the company. Spend time in the market and speak with people who are familiar with it. Make sure you plan your trip and pre-schedule meetings. Otherwise, you will have a hard time.”

Hoodies are standard attire in San Francisco: Red for Tobias Wegmüller & Pascal Sollberger, co-founders of Hypt — White for Bilâl Tahris, co-founder of Flowit.

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