Techsauce recently attended the Google Launch Pad Accelerator conference in San Fransisco as one of the only South East Asian Media outlets covering the event. We have gained exclusive knowledge and interviews with the top industry experts who have helped to curate this program which will become a valuable source in strengthening the ecosystems of these emerging markets.

Talia, a key startup executive for Google Launchpad gave us an insightful look at the international market expansion of this accelerator program.

Here’s the brief interview Talia gave us during the Launchpad event:

How long have you been a mentor for this global launch program?

I have been mentoring at Launchpad for about a year. This is the first class of applied ML startups from emerging markets that I’m anchor mentoring. When driving international expansion, it’s important for companies to tune in to the social-cultural ecosystem of their customers in their target markets, to understand the local gaps they’re solving for and the local expected behaviour for their product experience.

 

What are the major factors for entrepreneurs or startups to consider if they expand their business across borders?

It's important to build a broader product vision. Global product strategy is local product strategy, on a global scale. Think global, but execute local. Build a global from get-go platform infrastructure and product rollout plan. Sometimes, it might make more sense to launch your early-phase mobile app in a mobile-first geo first, rather than in the US (which isn’t a mobile-first geo). Many companies run international expansion without understanding their new markets, their competitive landscape, and the nuance of their potential new consumers there. Investing in upfront international market research, user studies, AB testing is a baseline first step to inform on the right product purpose, value prop, build & design.

 

Within ASEAN each country has its own culture and language, what advice do you have for entering these markets?

Try to win regionally. Solve for a real current problem in-country, for which you have a competitive edge (vs solving for a conceptual global problem). Establish strategic partnerships to create a win: win mutual benefits, and leverage market penetration that a local player (eg, portal/platform) has already established. Get local corp and social testimonials to validate your brand trust and perception in the new market, look for local top-down government/municipality buy-in to facilitate your market adoption and brand vetting. Create an adaptive product that can be geo-customized, as needed, without having to refactor your codebase. For example, allowing you to dynamically generate, by geo, the right pricing models, checkout experience, or onboarding funnel. And dream big! If you aspire to be in the fifth percentile of global companies thriving in the global marketplace for the long-haul, prioritize user empathy—User-first vs US-first.

 

What is your suggestion for newbie's who want to have startups but are completely new to the entrepreneurial and startup scene?

Identify the market gaps. Sometimes startups build a great product but it's not solving for a real problem. Resolve. Delight. Inspire.

 

Talia lead International Product Management & Global Growth Strategy at LinkedIn and SurveyMonkey, and mentors startup executives at the Google Accelerator. Earlier in her career (15+ yrs ago), she internationalized Google’s Earth and Maps products, orchestrated Starbuck’s brand entry in MENA, and optimized VMware’s localization in LATAM. In 2017, Talia founded Yewser (www.yewser.net), helping companies accelerate growth in international markets. Talia and her in-country geo-expert teams deliver the playbook, roadmap and rollout execution for product geo-fit performance that maximizes market adoption. 

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