“You need to spend a lot of time preparing your pitch,” Chris told the startups. “If you are going to ask investors for money you need to be super clear on what you are going to use the money for. We are looking for investments to go global.”
So you have a startup, and you’ve managed to secure a couple of sizable deals on the Czech market. You’re now looking to expand and are wondering if you have what it takes to make it in Silicon Valley. But how do you know when you’re really ready to make that leap? Here's the short answer: You don’t. At least not for 100 percent.
However, David Semerad and Lubo Smid, STRV's CEO and COO, agree that there are a few things you definitely need: determination, endless amounts of patience, a little bit of luck – and a great product.
The duo first moved to Northern California’s tech hub in 2012. STRV was alreadyll-known, sought-after brand on the Czech IT circuit, and the co-founders were determined to make a splash on the US mobile app market.
It was not so easy: They didn’t close a single deal in the first year. But “we had the vision, and we knew we were about to get into it. It was just a matter of time. We had all the resources we needed,” Lubo explained at last week's special Silicon Valley Success Series hosted by STRV and Czech ICT Alliance.
“Things started off slow,” David added. “We are still working on it. There is still so much more space to grow. The biggest lesson for us was to move to the US permanently. If you want to hit the US market, then you need to move to the US.”
What a difference a few years make. Today, STRV is not only working with some of the most dynamic startups on the US market, but is now branching out to Fortune 500 companies. In fact, Lubo announced last week that STRV is currently working on a project with co-founders of Tinder and more details will be unveiled soon.
Silicon Valley is a highly competitive, cut-throat market. To succeed, you not only need an amazing idea, “but you have to be unbelievably clear … about what problem you are trying to solve,” said Chris Burry, Co-CEO of US Market Access Center, a California-based company that helps non-US technology firms become global companies. He was a mentor for the Czech Accelerator program when STRV first arrived in the US.
Chris was invited to sit on the jury of the Silicon Valley Success Series jury as five local startups pitched their ideas inside a full screening hall at Cinema City Slovansky dum in the Prague city center.