When building a start-up, it’s crucial to understand international markets that are applicable to your industry. Due to the significant uptake of game-based learning in the U.S, we have strived to enter this international market since conception.
Therefore, when Game Doctor was invited to attend the Investing Women US trade mission, we jumped at the chance. The trade mission team was comprised of an eclectic group of female founders from Scotland led by Investing Women’s Jackie Waring (CEO) and Alison Jones.
The aim of the trip was two fold: 1) Provide a platform for female founders to connect with US investors and 2) Connect with technology experts and businesses in the East Coast.
The trade mission kicked off in Boston where the group attended the AccelerateHER conference. AccelerateHER aims to address the underrepresentation of women in technology through structured events, networking and mentorship. The fast-paced morning conference was comprised of a series of short impactful talks alongside mentorship and networking opportunities.
Robin Chase (Zip Car) used her time to highlight the importance of creating a sustainable business, promoting discussion among attendees about realistic strategies that can be implemented in their own businesses.This was followed by Jennifer Lum (Forge A.I) and Linda Henry (Boston Globe) who focused on the different strategies they have adopted to succeed throughout their journey.
The conference closed with a snappy but powerful discussion from Rica Elysee (BeautyLynk) who used her time to emphasise the importance of a diverse workforce and equal opportunities. She closed her discussion with a simple ask to the attendees: Take a hard look at your teams and speaker lists and ask yourself if you could have been more inclusive.
After a flying visit to Boston, the group headed to the big apple for the AccelerateHER New York conference. The New York event focused on creating supportive networks for female founders and included an honest and empowering discussion from Sallie Krawcheck (Ellevest) and Penny Abeywardena (New York Mayor’s Office) on the challenges they have faced throughout their career and the current climate for investment in the US.
To conclude the trip, Investing Women organised a once and lifetime opportunity: a chance to pitch to Golden Seeds Managing Partners, Loretta McCarthy and Peggy Wallace.
As Game Doctor is currently seeking investment to develop an augmented reality platform for science learning, this was an invaluable experience. Loretta and Peggy provided great feedback and connections to investors and experts in the industry.
Key insights from US trade mission
· International markets are highly dependent on the people and culture. Take time during trade missions to meet with diverse stakeholders, understand what they value and how they do business
· A successful product in the U.K does not equate to a successful product or process in the US
· LEARN HOW TO SELL YOURSELF. US businesses expect you to have a strong ability to market your skills
· Honest is the best policy. When meeting an investor in the US, be honest about the size of your start-up and turnover.
· Community matters in the US. If you are working in tech or education, your product will be stronger if it links to community values or bring communities together.