Gone are the days when every successful business started with the same blueprint. Technology and globalization have made it much easier for startups to achieve rapid growth in multiple locations at once. And Startup Genome's Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 supports this view that growth doesn't have to occur in just one spot. Cities such as Tel Aviv, Berlin, Stockholm and even Barcelona are making huge strides toward catching up with New York City and Silicon Valley as startup-ecosystem leaders.
According to the report, global startup interest is on the rise; investors pushed more than $140 billion into global startups in 2017 alone. So, entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of this investment surge should consider building a global team from the get-go. Depending on an organization's model and needs, a single-office setup could unnecessarily limit its growth potential, as starting in one location with the typical 9-to-5 time frame isn't the only option.
When I started both of my companies, Modasphere and VentureDevs, my partner and I knew we wanted both an international
team base and client base. Because my co-founder and the tech half of our business, Wojtek, were located in Poland,
he was able to build a network of world-class developers and tech talent there.
While everyone else was looking for developers in Silicon Valley, we went where the talent was, because we wanted to work
with the best of the best. Additionally, we knew our client base for Modasphere would mainly be split between New York and
Los Angeles, with others spread across the rest of the world. This meant we needed to have "customer-success" employees to
cover those time zones; that's why we set out to grow enough to eventually cover all of our global markets. This was a great
lesson for us when we started VentureDevs, because we quickly established teams in Los Angeles, New York and Poland to handle our global reach.
The challenges -- and rewards of a multinational business Building a multinational business is not without its challenges, but the rewards are worth it. Functioning in more than one place from the beginning gives startups the ability to quickly and efficiently expand to new locations, and a team that functions well remotely offers the flexibility necessary to lure in top talent. Operating globally also provides a network that expands far beyond New York or L.A., and those connections can be leveraged to improve a business and increase the value it can provide to clients. Sold on the idea of a startup with multiple locations? Use the following strategies to build a strong foundation for your own organization:
1. Choose your location with an eye on the future.
Think big from the beginning. Start by deciding whether you’ll be in-office, distributed or partially distributed, but prepare to be a global company from day one. San Francisco was the perfect place for Uber to launch because it had a poor cab infrastructure and was filled with tech-savvy people who regularly looked to technology to solve problems, but the company had its sights set on other locations even at the start. Uber launched in June 2010 and quickly called the San Francisco launch a success. By December of the following year, Uber had gone through another launch phase, only this time in Paris. By then, the company had a bold plan. Instead of trickling the service into being around the globe, it set about on a rapid expansion -- two new cities every month, to be exact. The company would never have achieved this pace if its founders had set their sights simply on conquering only the San Francisco market.