Carly Kroll, February 1, 2019
Start-ups are a hot topic in the U.S.. There are TV shows revolving around Silicon Valley, providing a glamorized version of what it is like to work for a start-up. While many start-ups in the U.S are home grown others are recent additions to the competitive market place in North America. Ubimax, a company founded and established in Germany, made the leap across the ocean to reach potential customers of software technology for Augmented and Assisted Reality devices and is now a fully established American company. What made the difference for them? Ubimax, had success in Europe, customers, and a product that was reliable. But their journey didn’t come without its challenges.
First Hand Experience
Percy Stocker shared in an interview how he and the Ubimax team tackled the challenges of opening an additional office overseas and creating a foundation to build new customer relationships and business opportunities. Percy as one of the founders of Ubimax was the first one to leave Germany and pave the way for the company to grow in the Americas. Percy hopes to provide insight and lessons learned for other companies wanting to expand into the American market.
Percy outlined in his interview, that “launching in the U.S. market was chosen to gain Ubimax more potential for exposure, room for growth and improved partnerships with hardware companies,” that are often located in Silicon Valley. Ubimax felt confident that with their success and foundation set in Europe, the next place to tackle would be the Americas. “We believed that our solutions were of great demand and need in the Americas,” explained Percy. Ubimax’s software works with smart glasses to enhance industrial and enterprise worker experiences through visual assistance with tasks. America has many companies that deal with logistics, manufacturing and maintenance, making it a prime market for Ubimax to focus on. This ambitious move took a great deal of planning, a great deal of energy and lots of paperwork.
For Percy to get Visa permissions to move into the U.S. for work, he first had to have a location that was his place of employment in the U.S. and prove he had a place to stay. This meant overcoming many obstacles. These challenges are faced by many companies that move from Europe to the U.S. Some specialists who aid companies in expansion in the U.S. say that European companies should view this as founding another company rather than a move . The long-term planning and work to get everything set up, also needs some support from outside groups. Ubimax for example took advantage of their partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, and a German Accelerator in the Valley in California. Businesses can find support through mentorship, European incubators or European accelerator programs that provide resources and assistance to other European companies making the jump. Thanks to the work from Percy, his team back in Bremen and the help from the German assistance groups Ubimax made it to Silicon Valley in Palo Alto California and Atlanta, Georgia.
It’s all about the Buzz
Percy describes the German mindset as, “very product-oriented. The functionality of a good determines the purchase decision. We believe the best product speaks for itself, but here in the U.S. you need to have buzz about your product, you need to get attention, or you won’t get many customers.” Soon after arriving Ubimax learned that their German marketing techniques needed to be flexible to now fit the U.S. market. “It is necessary to have a solid marketing plan, and to really push company presence into the front of possible consumers’ minds.” In the case of the American market being the loudest has some sway in the success of a company. Learning this quickly, Ubimax took steps to incorporate new marketing techniques and staff members to help improve and enhance the image of this European company which now is located in Atlanta, Chicago and Palo Alto, as well is in Guadalajara Mexico.
Settling in and Growing
Other obstacles facing a company starting from scratch in the U.S. is the challenges of the U.S. market, time zone detachment from the headquarters, spread out staff, and learning state regulations. But through great commitment the Ubimax team overcame those challenges. Now a U.S. company, with dedicated customers, Ubimax can look back and see what worked and what was challenging. Percy hopes that other European companies willing to make the leap to the U.S. market can find some comfort in knowing it has been done, companies like Ubimax and others have paved the way and made it.