On July 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce, eBay, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Global Innovation Forum co-hosted a forum to explore the opportunities and challenges for startups and small businesses in the global marketplace and to discover resources to help globally-minded business succeed.
Startup, corporate and government leaders discussed —
- How local startups are engaging globally and the challenges they face along the way;
- How to identify and access U.S. Government and private sector resources to reach new markets;
- How digital services and e-commerce-based businesses can gain exposure and traction abroad; and
- How to protect intellectual property globally and navigate foreign regulations.
See who spoke and connect over social media
Panel: Myth vs Reality—Can Startups Really Win in the Global Market?
Julia Neznanova, Director, Friends of eBay @
Sean Leow, Director of International, Kickstarter @
Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur in Residence @
Matthew Perlman, Principal, Fenway Summer @
Moderated by Jake Colvin, Executive Director, Global Innovation Forum @
Panel: IP Protection‐Navigating International Partnerships and Regulations
Stevan Mitchell, Director, Office of Intellectual Property Rights, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce @
Matt Gould, Executive Vice President, PACT US @
Jeffrey M. Sears, Ph.D., J.D., Chief Patent Counsel, Columbia University @
Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing, Andy Warhol Foundation @
Moderated by Jess M. Collen, Partner, Collen IP @
Panel: City, State and Federal Strategies & Programs for Encouraging Exports
Eleni D. Janis, Vice President & Director, NYCEDC @
Daniel Kadishson, Director of Economic Development, Mayor’s Office for International Affairs @
Peter Sexton, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service NYC @
Moderated by Dr. Sam Natapoff, President, Empire Global Ventures
What We Learned
Takeaways from the discussion.
Small companies can be global without even realizing it.
Resources to help you succeed globally exist all around – from corporations to your city to international embassies.
“Global corporations can really serve as a support system to help startups grow. Corporate accelerators – eBay’s, CapitalOne’s, American Express’s – provide infrastructure that really helps startups.” – Julia Neznanova, Director, Friends of eBay
“Seek out the people that are already doing what you’re doing – ‘friendpetitors’. As a mission-driven company, we’ve had a very welcoming response from other companies trying to do the same thing.” – Sean Leow, Director of International, Kickstarter
“Make sure you have the right investors and make sure that you use them because if you’re expanding internationally, getting an introduction to a potential partner or regulator can make a massive difference.” – Matthew Perlman, Principal, Fenway Summer Ventures
“Really cutting edge technical work is happening at our universities and it needs to get to market. There are gems to be found – often in really diverse places.” – Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur in Residence, Microsoft
“One overlooked resource is our embassies and consulates in countries around the world. There are State Department diplomats but also Foreign Commercial Service officers who are on the ground and whose mission it is to help Americans trying to understand the local market.” – Jake Colvin, Executive Director, Global Innovation Forum
Intellectual property protection regimes vary country to country. Understand the IP landscape and conduct some basic “IP hygiene” internally before entering new markets.
“Put together a strategy for each new market then think about your IP portfolio. Do your research – travel there, go to trade shows, hire consultants. Some markets might not be worth it. And make sure your local partners have skin in the game.” – Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing, Andy Warhol Foundation
“Understand your full range of IP tools. The U.S. Government offers a lot of information on how international markets treat IP rights. There’s something called the Special 301 Process in which the U.S. Government performs a detailed review of 120 countries per year that’s available online.” – Stevan Mitchell, Director, Office of Intellectual Property Rights, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Choose partners strategically to help expedite your global expansion.
“If you’re bringing on a reseller or distributor, it should be one that can scale your business and not just offer an access point.” – Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur in Residence, Microsoft
“Make sure you’re connected to the right decision-makers and that your partner is aligned with your goals. It helps to have investors that are global and can make the right connections for you.” – Matthew Perlman, Principal, Fenway Summer Ventures
“While going direct and having a perfectly integrated supply chain may be the ideal several years out, when you get going, you either benefit from or have no other choice but to use intermediaries. For us, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. You get the halo effect of their brand and they can get you FedEx rates far lower than you can access on your own, etc. But, don’t assume that your partners know more than you do. Make sure to address all your questions with them in advance.” – Nikki Lawrence, Co‐Founder & CEO, Gleem & Co.
New York City offers unique advantages to globally-minded entrepreneurs.
Let demand for your product or service guide your global journey.
“Whether or not a product is going to find product market fit within a regulatory environment is a really important question to think through. What are elements of the business that are extensible across borders but still unique?” – Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur in Residence, Microsoft
Explore the social media conversation that took place around the forum.