How VC’s view your International Expansion Plans…

How VC’s view your International Expansion Plans…

..and where localization is key (maybe!)

We’ve all been involved at some point with exciting tech companies — from the start-ups trying to gain traction, to the scale-ups negotiating their paths through the next phase. We’ve been captivated by the buzz, the drive and the belief these guys radiate in evangelizing their new visions for the future, developing entirely new playing fields or just new and better ways of navigating existing ones.

Behind the scenes, however, there is pretty much always a bunch of a more restrained heads (usually representing the interests of early stage investors and VC’s) focused assiduously on burn rates, activation, user stickiness, customer churn and all the other things those guys measure along the road to success (or otherwise).

I read an interesting piece recently on the VC’s view of the world and how rising tech stars need to manage their investors, with the usual kind of tagline (you know the one): “10 things you need to know about … blah, blah, whatever”.

A few things rang true to me, based on our experiences in working with rapid growth tech companies over many years.

Aside from the usual, banal advice about focusing on lucrative, scalable markets, maximising ROI, building traction and product differentiation, I saw a key point (IMO) way down the list, at like #9 or something, about “Connecting Personally”. This was an observation around trying to ensure you select a VC partner with whom you can develop chemistry, trust, shared visions and expectations. In other words — a Relationship.

At our entire philosophy is built around Trust and Relationships — we’ve blogged about this previously. We are proud to have successfully built a blue-chip customer base from a consistent adherence to our core principles of working closely with companies that place value on their relationship with us — where we are viewed as more than just language vendors.

This approach, which (being totally honest) takes massive time and effort to develop and nurture, has sustained our customer relationships over many years, allowing us to work closely together through the challenges of international market development.

So, what’s the point of all this?

I guess it’s this: if scale-ups really are to conquer international markets (and let’s face it, many will have VC’s holding big hairy-ass goals for international growth over their heads) then surely they should get the best-fit localization partner selected and the relationship journey started prior to rolling out the strategy?

Who knows — maybe bouncing the ball with experienced localization professionals early in the process will make the deployment smoother and prevent costly rectifications further down the line….