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MEET THE NEW ‘SOFT-LANDERS’ GOING TO BERLIN, PARIS, NETHERLANDS AND VILNIUS IN 2019!

 

Are you ready for the Soft-Landing Missions?

 

Soft-Landing gives startups, scaleups and ecosystem builders (local leaders, influencers, changemakers) the chance to dive into a foreign environment and see how to grow internationally. Missions are usually a week long, however startups also have the opportunity to extend their stay to one month (and receive scaling support) at our European destinations.

The destinations for the second round of Soft-Landing mission are Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), Zoetermeer (The Netherlands), Vilnius (Lithuania), with more missions coming up for Boston, New York and Silicon Valley (USA). These locations have been selected as they offer thriving, dynamic and diverse environments for startups, scaleups and ecosystem builders to explore and discover.

 

 

 

Who are the new ‘Soft-Landers’?

After a competitive selection process, more than 50+ startups and scaleups and 100+ ecosystem builders have been selected for the second round of missions. The new ‘Soft-Landers’ come from a wide variety of backgrounds and from all over Europe. Their technical skills and global ambitions mean that they will reap the benefits of these missions abroad.

The experience for startups/scaleups and ecosystem builders is slightly different, with startups/scaleups embarking on a five-day trip, and the ecosystem builders joining the group for three to five days.

 

 

Berlin

Week 13 May, 2019

The Soft-Landing mission to Berlin ecosystem was a supercharged experience with full-on learning opportunities as well power-packed with great Startup ecosystem builders from across the world to interact!

Our partner organisation GTEC is organising our mission to Berlin, in Europe’s most sought-after startup hub. Berlin is home to over 40,000 startups, 50+ accelerators and is famous for its laid back and creative work environments. You can read more about this cool European ecosystem on our Berlin page.

Mor Eini of GTEC says, “We are very excited to have 15 startups from all over Europe in Berlin for 5 days full of meetings, networking, events with international corporation and a lot of fun!”

Startups and scaleups

Automate Loan FinTech
Certifydoc Legal Service
RADA building Engeneering
amazingspaces.world Proptech
AssetLog Proptech
INVIERTIS PropTech
Enerbrain Energy
Spectral Augmented Industries Information Technology and Services
urbest Proptech
Builtrix Energy
WITIVIO Computer Software
FlatnYou PropTech
ATLANT Blockchain Real Estate Platform PropTech
dserve FinTech

 

 

 

Paris

Week 13 May, 2019

It was an amazing experience of exploring the Parisian startup ecosystem, one of the most prospering ecosystems in Europe. We not only met the major players in Parisian hub but also networked a lot with ecosystem builders from all over Europe.

Our partner organisation IMT Starter is organising our mission to Paris, a major European business hub. Paris has the world’s 3rd highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters and is a popular location for foreign companies to establish themselves (+15,000 in the Paris region!). You can read more about this up-and-coming European ecosystem on our Paris page.

Niraj Karmacharya of IMT Starter says of the mission “IMT Starter is excited to invite players of startup ecosystem from all over the world and connect them with each other. This is only possible because of Soft-Landing Project!”

Startups and scaleups:

ARize AR
The Virtual Mind, inc AI, Robotics
Monugram Travel
Meep App SaaS
SYSTAGfiles App
eParkio SaaS
Vorwärts E-commerce
Dynamic AI56 AI, deeptech
P.aid (PEOPLE aid for BRANDS) App

Ecosystem builders:

Marel Minok Erste Group
Rapolas Rucinskas Be&Do
Stefan Bodi Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Leitha Matz Zuper GmbH
Diana Rusu Spherik Accelerator
Egle Ciuoderiene Sneaky Box
Tricia Levasseur Freelancer
Croce Mauro PoliHub
Gintare Ambrozaityte KTU Startup Space
Inbal Kolodziejska Doya Medical
Bert Farell Zoosh Ventures
Maria Gross GTEC
Andra Bagdonite Startup Division
Maurice Beckand Vervwee Crosspring B.V.

 

 

Vilnius

Week 27 May, 2019

It was an amazing experience, where we got feedback for our projects, built networking with startups and learnt about new posibilities within FinTech.

Our partner organisation Startup Division is organising our mission to Vilnius, a booming FinTech scene. Vilnius is ranked 3rd in Europe for ease of doing business and has 500+ startups active in its ecosystem. You can read more about this up-and-coming European ecosystem on our Vilnius page.

Jurga Mecinskiene from Startup Division says: “We are organizing a true fintech fiesta, bringing local startups and fintech innovators from all over the world to Lithuania to discover its bustling fintech scene. Our participants will meet regulators, international unicorns and local fintech businesses and learn eveyrthing they need to know about licensing, legal environment, other startups’ experience.”

Startups and scaleups:

Sofitto Blockchain
Nect Fintech

Ecosystem builders:

Karl Gedda-Mudrov Vilnius
Michael Brooijmans Vilnius
Ionut Tata Vilnius

 

Netherlands

Week 3 June, 2019

Softlanding programme in the Netherlands was a game changer, a paradigma shift for us. Even after the 2nd mentoring sessison, we altered our business plan for a leaner, better and faster startup. Quality of the participants were exceptional.

Our partner organisation Crosspring is organising our mission to the Netherlands, a booming innovation hub. The Dutch are the 5th happiest people on earth, making business a breeze, and has a close cluster of innovation hubs and top universities. You can read more about this growing European startup ecosystem on our Netherlands page.

Crosspring is looking forward to receiving another amazing group of FinTech experts from all over Europe! The first Soft-Landing mission in the Netherlands this year will be hosted during the Amsterdam FinTech week, taking place from 3 to 7 June. Amazing sessions will be hosted by our partners in Rotterdam and Amsterdam to give a complete overview of the Dutch FinTech landscape. Thanks to our partners CIC, ECE, Baker McKenzie, Nauta Dutilh, Holland FinTech, RVO, Startup Delta, Startup Amsterdam, HPE growth capital, Briddge, InnovationQuarter, Symbid and more, we are able to provide our delegation with the best Softlanding program the Netherlands has to offer. Let’s connect and grow EU FinTech to greater hights!

 

Startups and scaleups

MarkID Fintech
Direct Pay Fintech
Datai.o Fintech
Neuro.Fintech Fintech
Bundle.Network Fintech
Fennec Group Fintech
Credital Fintech

Ecosystem builders

Indré Surgelyte
Matus Steis
Jesús Lozano
Antonia Imre
Sarune Smalakyte
Mariia Pohodicheva
Valentin Alexiev
Viktorija Braziunaite The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)

 

 

Boston

Week 24 June, 2019

The mission was a great platform to exchange ideas with companies from US and Europe. The organization team was super and did a great job planning everything. Highly recommended programme.

Our partner organisation Startup Division is organising our mission to Boston, the #1 startup city, with +4000 active startups to work and network with. You can read more about the US startup ecosystem on our United States page.

Jurga Mecinskiene from Startup Division says: “Boston is the #1 US startup city with 4000+ startups and internationally renowned innovations in medtech, cleantech, robotics, and other deep tech industries. Our mission to Boston will give a chance for 30 innovation managers from all across Europe to understand how Harvard, Techstars, Venture Cafe, Phillips, and other global players are driving and commercializing innovation and bring those lessons back to their home ecosystems.”

 

Ecosystem builders

Greta Radzeviciute Kalista Ventures
Emilie Verbunt DutchBasecamp
Jorg Kop UtrechtInc
Mirko Lukács Utrecht Holdings
Annika Schroeder German Startups Association
Arthur Hendriks FUND IT
Samantha Michaux Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
Marc Verbiest North Brabant at the Dutch Consulate-General in Munich
Rene van Stiphout
Vytas Kalinauskas Panevežys City Municipality
Tino Scholman De Haas Executive Services
Ricardas Valanciauskas Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)
Tautvydas Pipiras Lithuanian Innovation Centre
Mari-Ann Meigo Tallinn Business Incubators Foundation
Ruben Habraken Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship
Vlad Gliga Rubik Hub
Jennifer Austin Risky Business
Julian Speckmaier Deloitte Consulting
Daniel Szemerey
Health Venture Lab, powered by GE Healthcare
Donat Pajer Hiventures
Iurii-Volodymyr Blavt Civitta Ukraine
Mateusz Nowak Mazovia Capital
Diana Lace Overkill Ventures
Olla Jongerius Founder, TCCT, BerLearn
Yana Lipcheva Unknown Group
Johann Gross Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship
Laura Ludwig Museum of Values
Maja Trajkova CEED Hub Skopje
Kristine Jansone Reach for Change
Kazys Pupinis Klaipeda ID

 

 

Don’t forget you can follow the real-time journey of our ‘Soft-Landers’ on social media!

Twitter

Facebook

Youtube

 

 

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Success story! HokoCloud tells us about their Soft-Landing Netherlands experience

HokoCloud joined our Soft-landing mission in October 2018 and found out that the Dutch startup ecosystem is a keeper. Currently they’re in the process of setting up a business in The Netherlands. We had the chance to talk to Anuj Sehgal, Co-Founder & CTO at HokoCloud, about his ‘Soft-Landing’ experience…

 

Article by Crosspring

 

From all the countries you could visit, why join a mission to the Netherlands?

“The original reason HokoCloud joined the soft-landing mission was to get an exposure to the Dutch market and ecosystem. We were already considering re-locating the company from Cyprus and the Dutch ecosystem seemed attractive. The soft-landing mission appeared to be a good opportunity to get an overview of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, we were also hoping to make local connections that would make it easier for us to relocate to Netherlands and at the same time get feedback from mentors and possible connections to investors.”

Any first impressions to share?

“From all the information provided during the soft-landing mission it was quite clear that Netherlands offers a very startup friendly ecosystem. There are several opportunities provided by the government for a start-up to establish itself, and along with this the start-up community itself is very active. There is also access to skilled talent, which for a technology based company is quite important. Being highly connected in the digital and transport areas also allows for us to quickly react to the growing needs of our company and its customers.”

What do you think of the mission?

“The Soft-Landing mission was one of the best experiences we have had so far. Most startup events tend to pick too many participants and then attempt to cater it towards everyone, and this causes real information and learning to get lost in the program. But the number and quality of participants, was extremely well matched with mentors and informational talks at soft-landing. This allowed us to gather not only information about the business environment and opportunities in Netherlands, but also make connections to local business partners, mentors and investors. This experience was invaluable.”

Are you expanding to the Netherlands right now?

“We are currently in the process of setting up a Dutch BV company. The good folk at Innovation Quarter are currently advising us and guiding us through the process. The Dutch BV will become our holding company and we also intend to locate our software development staff in Rotterdam. HokoCloud is counting on The Netherlands as a big part of its future.”

 

And it all started with a Soft-Landing Mission… Want to experience new startup ecosystems just like HokoCloud? Our FREE mission to the Netherlands is still open for applications – just click here.

Check out more from HokoCloud here. 

Or check out the video from RiseNU with HokoCloud here. 

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Success story! NeoFinance gets €70K investment from the Soft-Landing mission to the Netherlands

One company that can tell you about their experiences with a Soft-Landing Mission is NEO Finance! We talked to this Lithuanian P2P lending platform operator, who participated in the first Soft-Landing in The Netherlands and eventually received investment from Crosspring.

 

Article by Crosspring & F6S

 

First of all, what made you decide to join the Soft-Landing mission to the Netherlands?

“We joined the mission to The Netherlands to find out if it was an interesting country for us. The initial goal for our Soft-landing to The Netherlands was to onboard new investors, get as much feedback so we could improve our business and experience more ‘know how’ on international expansion.”

 

What was your first impression of the country?

“Our first impression of The Netherlands and the program was really positive. The Netherlands is a country with very good startups and a good startup ecosystem and culture.”

How did you experience the Soft-Landing mission?

“During the mission we received a lot of feedback and some ‘cold showers’ from users. We needed this to further develop ourselves and our product. It also made us change our plans because of the things we learned during the Soft-Landing project and we took the expansion slower. We actually first took a few steps back and then got ready. Since we knew exactly what was important to focus on we see the Soft-Landing Mission as a very useful program.”

After the Soft-Landing mission you received investment from Crosspring, one of the Soft-Landing partners in the Netherlands. Are you currently planning to expand to the Netherlands?

“Yes we are! We always saw The Netherlands as one of our target markets, and after the investment from Crosspring we are now busy opening a subsidiary in NL for our international expansion.”

During the mission NEO Finance got in contact with Crosspring as the host of the Soft-Landing Mission in The Netherlands. NEO Finance later received a €70K investment from Crosspring.

 

And it all started with a Soft-Landing Mission…

Want to grow your business just like NeoFinance? Our FREE missions to Zoetermeer, Paris, Berlin, Vilnius and Boston are still open for applications.

 

Click here if you are a startup and click here if you are a ecosystem leader.

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Join us for the Soft-Landing WEBINAR and ask all your questions

Are you interested in joining the 2019 Soft-Landing missions and discovering a new startup ecosystem? This is the place to have all your burning questions answered!

 

Join our team (in Vilnius, Paris, Berlin and Zoetermeer) and our startup alumni to get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek at:

  • What are the missions for startups and the missions for ecosystem builders
  • The eligibility criteria and what we’re looking for
  • What you can expect during the application process
  • How to prepare for the mission if you’re selected

 

AGENDA

1:00 pm – The Soft-Landing Missions

Hear about Soft-Landing and our upcoming missions for startups and the missions for ecosystem builders

1:20 pm – My experience as a Soft-Lander

Meet our startups to hear their experience of our missions

1:30 pm – What to expect: Berlin+Paris+Vilnius+Zoetermeer+Boston

By the Soft-Landing local partners, 1min pitch on each destination

1:35 pm – Q&A

By you – Feel free to address you questions about the Soft-Landing programme or a particular mission

 

REGISTRATION

SOFT-LANDING WEBINAR

 

Registration is mandatory. The link to connect to the webinar will be shared with registered participants.

We look forward to seeing you there – and don’t forget to prepare some of your questions beforehand! We will try to answer as many as we can live on air.

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MultiSense: “In our Soft-Landing experience we met a local high-tech community…[&] colleagues from all over the world”

In this blog, we interview Multisense, startup that joined one of our free missions to learn about scaling in Paris. We talk to them about their success story having joined our programmes, and what benefits they experienced, such as gaining incubation services in IMT Starter as a result of the mission!

Article by the team behind Soft-Landing:
F6S (Charlotte Tucker) and IMT Starter (Niraj Karmacharya)

 

Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? 

 

 

MultiSense is a startup company that combines biometric and advanced software solutions. The company was established by veterans of the Israeli security forces with backgrounds in technology, security and intelligence.

Multisense B.V is engaged in the industry of multi-biometrics and advanced software solutions with a unique technology merging multi-biometric factors (face and voice recognition, fingerprint signature, combined with GPS and NFC technologies and few patents in liveness check). Those technologies are combined in APM (Authentication Platform Management) command control system for big corporates. 

The MultiSense platform is based on mobile devices and offers biometric solutions for securing; online payment, web login, call centres solution, access control — the flow of people and costume IT solutions and provides organizations and big corporations with secure user authentication and identity verification methods. The complete suite of biometric technologies offered by MultiSense is an end-to-end solution put together as an extremely user-friendly mobile

 

 

Tell us your Soft-Landing story! What made you decide to apply? 

When you come to a new city in a foreign country where you want to develop your company, you must lean on the local power. 

 

What were your reasons for applying to Soft-Landing Paris specifically? What were you looking to gain in France?

One of the goals we have set for ourselves is to open our European headquarters in France, with the understanding that the French market is undergoing a fundamental change and is ready for the transition to digital. After reviewing the options, we found Soft-Landing providing an accurate response to our needs.

 

What tangible benefits or opportunities have you gained through Soft-Landing? Could you tell us about your experience of IMT Starter?

In our Soft-Landing experience, we met a local high-tech community, enriched our ecosystem with colleagues from all over the world, met the right players who gave us the relevant tools. And seeing success stories certainly raised our motivation to develop in France.

We met with key players from the French industry, brilliant people who focused on us and our startup, which was a significant advantage.

We had two hours Masterclass in which the centre of focus is on Multisense, we got strategic directions, tools, tips, and help with our question and problems, which was highly constructive.

 

Discover more about Multisense: FacebookLinkedIn

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Soft-Landing Alumni and don’t miss the OPEN CALLS to the upcoming Missions to Paris!

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This is your chance to explore a new startup market in 2019!

The Soft-Landing open calls are now open!

Join us for our 2019 missions, as we travel to Berlin, Paris, Zoetermeer, Vilnius and the United States for a jam-packed, intensive week of tailored scaling support, finding new clients, navigating local legal and tax challenges, and expanding your network.

After a year of Soft-Landing missions, in which 208 startups and ecosystem builders made over 6,000 new connections, we are back with an even more lean, fast and savvy plan for you and your business in 2019.

In our last missions, 1 in 2 startups scaled or adjusted their scaling strategies as a direct result of the programme, 1 in 3 found potential investors and new clients, and one startup even locked down investment during the mission itself.

If you’re a startup, scaleup, startup mentor, accelerator/incubator representative, tech/startup journalist or investor looking for your next project, then choose your destination below and apply before our spots run out!

 

Zoetermeer, the Netherlands

“Soft-Landing Zoetermeer was a game-changer, a paradigm shift for us.”

If you’re thinking of expanding your business to the Netherlands, then this mission is for you.

Last year, our FinTech participants had the chance to meet with mentors (getting direct feedback on their concept, idea and business model), hear success stories of local startups, visit Rotterdam by water taxi to hear about FinTech regulations, and learn about government support to stimulate growth for startups (you read more in our blog).One of our startups, NeoFinance, even found investment as a direct result of the mission.

What can you get from our April 2019 mission:

  • Learn how to scale your business in The Netherlands, the second most innovative country in the world.
  • Spend one week at the Dutch FinTech ecosystem and get connected to the most relevant players in the market.
  • Get to know all the advantages of being in The Netherlands, one of the most developed startup ecosystems of the world.

Apply by 15 April to join our 1-week mission to Zoetermeer!

APPLY AS A STARTUP APPLY AS AN ECOSYSTEM BUILDER

 

Berlin

“ A real deep-dive into the thinking and behaviour on the ground in Berlin.”

Berlin is known as one of the startup capitals of Europe. Last year, we organised three successful missions to Berlin, in which our participants had the chance to hear from the most important players in the Berlin ecosystem, get honest feedback on their pitches, visit local hubs, take part in the TechOpenAir conference and learn how to survive the legal ‘jungle’ of scaling up in Germany.

What can you get from our mission in May 2019?

  • Meet key players in the German ecosystem: investors, Government representatives, VCs and many more
  • Visit corporate innovation hubs and get to know local success stories
  • Participate in the PropTech innovation award

(APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED)

APPLY AS A STARTUP APPLY AS AN ECOSYSTEM BUILDER

 

 

Paris

“The Paris mission was an incredible crash-course on the exciting French startup ecosystem.”

Our last missions to Paris gave you the chance to connect with French investors and funding agencies, visit the French government initiative La French Tech which welcomes startups to the French market, network with local startup players, and hear local success stories.

What can you get from our mission in May 2019?

  • Visit important local Parisian hubs, like Viva Technology, Station F, La French Tech
  • Discover major European businesses, the world’s 3rd highest concentration of fortune 500 headquarters.
  • Explore a well-developed venture capital industry (€5.5B were invested in more than 1,000 companies)

(APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED)

APPLY AS A STARTUP APPLY AS AN ECOSYSTEM BUILDER

 

 

Vilnius

“The Soft-Landing mission to Vilnius gave me the opportunity to understand and connect to its most important ecosystem players.”

Our previous missions have focused on blockchain, but our new focus for 2019 is FinTech. This highly specialised programme is all about why Lithuania is the place to be for all things FinTech! Our agenda is jam-packed with tailored talks, visits and workshops to support you as you learn about scaling in this new market.

What can you get from our mission in May 2019?

  • Understand why a tiny country is attracting FinTech startups from all over the world
  • Learn why Revolut, Google and other huge players are choosing LT for banking licenses
  • Get practical tips on legal, tax, marketing issues tailored for FinTech startups
  • Meet FinTech giants and emerging startups and drill them for details of their journey

(APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED)

APPLY AS A STARTUP APPLY AS AN ECOSYSTEM BUILDER

 

 

United States

Silicon Valley, Boston and New York – coming soon! Check back here for more information.

 

Don’t forget to follow us on social media for updates on the application process!

#SoftLandingEU

Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

Twitter: @softlanding_eu

LinkedIn: Soft-Landing

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Soft-Landing mission to India: unicorns, a tech summit and the Taj Mahal

Soft-Landing connects and strengthens the bonds between several European startup ecosystems. However, not only the European ecosystems are of our interest. On 26 November, a group of 23 ecosystem builders from all over Europe joined our one-week mission to New Delhi and Bangalore. What a great experience it has been!

By Koen Van Der Berg, of Crosspring

 

 

500 million people about to enter the digital space

We started our week in India in New Delhi, were we visited Invest India and PayTM on Monday. Invest India gave us an insightful overview of the Indian ecosystem and the enormous potential that India has, considering that a huge chunk of its population (about 500 million people) are about to enter the digital space.

PayTM is one of India’s biggest unicorns in the FinTech field, and (of course) a company we had to visit while in New Delhi. We talked about how they grew and what made them so successful in India and got some valuable tips and tricks from PayTM co-founder Saurabh Jain for EU companies that want to establish business in India.

 

 

Company visits and networking

On Tuesday we visited Nasscom, one of the most important Startup Hubs in India, Pay U, another FinTech unicorn in India and we had a networking session with the Delhi ecosystem. During this networking session we’ve spoken to Zomato, the Dutch embassy, the Lithuanian government, Cardose and founder of HarVa. Interesting to hear more about their approach in India and where they see chances for collaboration with the EU ecosystems.

Wednesday was our last day in New Delhi, but before flying to Bangalore for more amazing soft-landing experiences, we had the pleasure to talk to the Indian Angel Network, Blume Ventures and Startup Tunnel who provided their insights in the Northern Indian investment landscape.

 

 

After these inspiring conversations, we flew to Bangalore…

In Bangalore we started with the Bangalore Technology Summit on Thursday, where it was very interesting to see where Indian startups are working on. There are many opportunities for Indian startups in the EU market, but also especially many opportunities for EU startups in India. Also taking into account that about 500 million people in India are now at the verge of entering the digital world.

 

 

Friday we visited the unicorn InMobi, where we talked to their cofounder Amit Gupta and a few of his direct colleagues. He gave us some valuable insights in the fields of mobile applications and mobility in India. Furthermore, we talked with Bessemer Ventures, where we learned more about the investment landscape in Bangalore. Once again, they proved to be very open for international collaborations.

The last day of our Indian soft-landing mission took us to a meetup with the Bangalore Ecosystem and talks from Let’s Venture. Of course we’ve ended our mission with a feedback session together with the participants. What were our key learnings? What can India bring you?

Some key learnings:

  • The Indian ecosystem is very open for collaborations with EU startups and ecosystem builders. We have to bring these two world closer together!
  • The Indian ecosystem brings you many opportunities for technology development and a lot of new knowledge about ‘how things can be done’. Their approach differs from the EU ecosystem, and we can learn a lot from each other.
  • Go to India, be in India and find a local partner!

During the week we had different cultural dinners and lunches to also explore the cultural side of the country. Traffic was crazy and the people are welcoming. A lot of complexity in both country, culture, food, business, and logistics, but definitely worth it to build up better connections with the Indian ecosystems. There are huge opportunities in India and Europe must prepare for their unstoppable rise and economic growth. Of course the Taj Mahal was also great.

Special thanks to Apoorv Bamba and his team from Ingenious Faces, our partner in India who has made this program possible.

– By Koen Van Der Berg, Crosspring.

Follow Soft-Landing on:
Twitter: @SoftLanding_EU
Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

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India’s startup ecosystem keeps raising the bar

There are many problems to solve, therefore there are many opportunities.

Article by Mor Eini, GTEC

If I had to describe in one sentence my 7-days learning expedition in India, this would be the one:

India is the third biggest startup ecosystem, with 18 unicorns, a market of 1.5 billion users and the Prime Minister’s agenda that urges youth to become entrepreneurs, “don’t look for a job, create your job”.

When I asked some of the Founders and CEOs of the most successful Indian unicorns what is their secret sauce, most of them said- simplicity. And very good user experience. C’est Tout.

 

Picture by Carolina Soto

 

In a country that has 15 formal languages a and only 10% of the population speaks English it’s not about the complicated business model, it’s simply trying to think like the common person in order to provide users with a product that “speaks” their language.

One of the founders of a very successful payment unicorn came from a small village and his ability to understand his users and their needs is what enabled him to build such a successful company with hundreds of millions of users.

 

Picture by Carolina Soto

 

India is a country of big numbers and big vision. 2010 was a turning point in the India startup ecosystem since many Indians came back to India from the top universities in the US to solve the problems of the country and create innovative business modules and easy to use products. The competition is high and the work culture is very demanding, Indians are hard workers and many of the successful founders mentioned that they still spend a lot of their time on the ground, talking to their users and trying to better understand their customers.

 Meeting at Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency that helps investors looking for investment opportunities and options in India.

 

Meeting at Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency that helps investors looking for investment opportunities and options in India.

 

A startup ecosystem is formed by people, startups in their various stages and different types of organizations in a location (physical or virtual) interacting as a system to create and scale new startup companies.

India is a great example of that. Collaborations, bridge-building, synergy, and cooperation were mentioned by all of the companies and organizations I met. This is the foundation on which the Indian ecosystem acts not only internally but also externally.

Collaborations with countries all over the world either to validate their technology or to help foreign startups to access the Indian market, an open and informal approach and the ability to speak with very senior people about the challenges and the opportunities that the Indian market has to offer, are just a small example of how transparent and friendly the ecosystem is.

 


Few of the major problems in India are climate & pollution and mobility & infrastructure and indeed these are some of the leading sectors in the tech ecosystem alongside e-commerce platforms and seamless payment solutions. Some of the investors believe that many of the basic problems can be solved by e-market SaaS platforms and indeed companies like PayU, Paytm, OYO, Zomato, and FlipKart are already big players in the market.

 

Visiting payU, one of the most successful Unicorns in India.

 

India is a colorful, spicy and unique country. It’s a combination of the new economy with companies like Google and Airbus, along with the old economy of textile and food factories that also want to join the hype of the glamorous startup ecosystem. One can see a family that never left its village but holding smartphones while watching youtube, and a 10 billion dollar company with open space and a gym in a street without sidewalks or proper public transportation.

 

Picture by Carolina Soto

 

Similar to Europe, India is a complex compound of cultures, languages, people, and flavors. There is a huge potential in that market but it is yet to be fully exploited. Entrepreneurs that could provide a simple solution to any of the pains in the country will win not only access to a 1.5 billion people market but the ability to be part of an exciting and overwhelming adventure that India and the world has  yet to fully understand.

– By Mor Eini, GTEC (German Tech Entrepreneurship Center).

Read the original article on Medium.com.

Follow Soft-Landing on:
Twitter: @SoftLanding_EU
Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

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Exploring the French Digital Ecosystem: Soft-Landing, the second edition.

This November 2018, IMT Starter hosted the second Soft-Landing mission. Soft-Landing is a Startup Europe initiative, a part of the European Union Horizon 2020 program in Paris. The delegation of Startups and Ecosystem builders from all over the world participated in discovering French Tech hub.

Article by IMT Starter

 

Soft-Landing is Back in Paris

On first day of the Soft-Landing mission in Paris, IMT Starter welcomed 5 startups and 7 ecosystem builders. After the morning with cafe and croissants, the delegation was welcomed by Denis GUIBARDthe director of Institut Mines-Télecom Business school and Sebastien Cauwet, the director of the incubator IMT Starter. Afterwards, Augustin Radu, business development and international partnership manager presented the delegation with a session “The French Start-up Ecosystem: 20 years of experience of IMT Starter.”

 

 

The group participated in the Ice-Breaker session after the welcoming. Thanks to this session, participants learned more about each other that facilitated in communication and networking within participants throughout the whole program. It was an achievement of the day followed by pitch fire round by startups, which brought all the participants together learning about different ecosystems and their projects.

 

The afternoon of the first day was spent in a workshop with Susana Domingo, an expert on people development and facilitation and coaching.

One of the participants explains the workshop: “While getting to know each-other we also had the workshop where we consolidated a bunch of similar strategic challenges and took turns addressing and interacting with them and are able to bring their opinions to bear on the challenge we were each facing.”

Meeting with Station F and Parisian Investors

 

The second day the Soft-Landers visited Station F, the world’s biggest start-up campus and spent the morning there with a panel of BA networks and Parisian VCs like Elaia Partners, Mutual Benefits, Breega and Xange. Startups and builders met with the panel in a low-pressure environment discussing in the area of financing the businesses in different stages and its impact on international expansion and growth strategies.

 

The afternoon was spent with Christophe Fourtet co-founder of Sigfox, an industrial and corporate representative. He shared his experience with Sigfox describing new tech and its success.

First-hand experience

 

On the third day, the Paris Region Enterprise hosted the Soft-landing for the day where the participants met key players in the French ecosystem. Wilco, Paris Region Enterprise and Systematic cluster presented the French tech startup hub with more than 800 connected network of industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

 

 

The foreign startups and companies are reluctant to scale in France as one of the reasons to be tedious administration process. Paris region Agency is representing the French government initiative La French Tech, which welcomes the international startups to the French market by providing startup Visa helping startups and scaleups to enter the French market and providing legal support, R&D partnerships, office space, financial and resource management assistance, access to financial tools and business opportunities. This allows entrepreneurs to explore French market while developing its business strategy.

 

After lunch, Julian Coulon shared his first-hand experience on entrepreneurship. The founder of Cedexis explained not only the issues an entrepreneur faces while developing the business but also personal and emotional challenges a CEO faces. Tanguy Yu also shared his achievements in creating Ubisoft and its successful exit to the startups and ecosystem representatives. These personal stories and tips from successful entrepreneurs brought a new light on entrepreneurship.

 

“I am grateful for my participation in the Soft-Landing Mission to Paris, in November of 2018. It was inspiring and enjoyable to meet other entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders. The opportunity to interact with them, to troubleshoot strategic challenges, and to learn from their experience and perspectives was very rewarding. I would highlight the shadow-board sessions and the sessions on how to incorporate in France — these alone were worth the trip. If you are considering international expansion, the Soft-Landing Mission is definitely worth exploring.” –Christian Kruse, Tracks for Trucks.

 

The last 2 days of the Soft-Landing mission in Paris was dedicated to start-ups. Startups participated in A Shadow Board mentoring session where each startup met a panel of successful mentors discussing key issues in their project. The last program was the Masterclass, “New Ventures’ Experience: Launching and financing New ventures” by Mr Etienne Krieger which is designed for those who want to be familiar with venture capital and with the various mechanisms financing innovation and growth. Participants are introduced to the main stakeholders of the financial ecosystem; entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels and financial intermediaries.

After a good 5 days, the Paris mission has come to an end with feedback session from the participants.

What participants say abut Soft-Landing…

 

 

“It was an amazing experience of exploring Parisian startup ecosystem, the most prospering ecosystem in Europe. We not only met the major players in the Parisian hub and obtained all the information and tools which can be used to take most of the value provided by the ecosystem but also got connected with successful entrepreneurs and ventures from Paris as well as networked a lot with ecosystem builders from all over Europe.” –Ani Sargasen, DoctorMath.

 

 

 

“Soft-Landing Paris Mission has given us a broad vision about what we can do and how to establish and scale our business in France in a very quick but systematic way in terms of overall ecosystem, investment opportunities, financials system and more. We really appreciated all the program and we learned a lot from (being introduced to) well-exited successful entrepreneurs of France ecosystem and what kind of struggling and achievements they had. And of course being in a very intercultural environment with ecosystem builders from different countries with a well-organized excellent foods & dinners was amazing.” – Hayrettin Erturk, Bead

 

 

Thank you all the Soft-Landers in participating and making this mission a success and more to come in 2019.

-By Niraj Karmacharya, Project Manager IMT Starter

Follow Soft-Landing on:
Twitter: @SoftLanding_EU
Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

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Cracking the Silicon Valley: work fast, embrace failures & network

There’s no shortage of expectations when visiting the Silicon Valley. Many companies famed or failed in this gold rush state and we wanted to know everything they learnt along the way.

Article by Startup Division

 

Visiting Facebook, UC Berkeley, 500 Startups were definitely the highlights of the mission, but what surprised 44 Soft-Landing mission participants—10 startups and 30 ecosystem builders from Europe—was how everyone we met although had a unique experience, communicated the same vibe and culture. In general, the pace was fast, food expensive, conversations short, and people helpfulthe full Silicon Valley experience.

 

Startup failed? Congratulations!

We sat down for a chat with Andra Bagdonaite of Startup Division, an entrepreneurship support organization that is leading Soft-Landing project activities and the mastermind behind this mission.  

“What surprised us the most is the difference in mentality when it comes to risk-taking. European startups are still rather risk-averse, they tend to spend a lot of time perfecting the product whereas startups in the Silicon Valley are very quick to release and validate the product. If it doesn’t work, they move on to the next one.”

Mark Searle, Managing Director at Innovation Acceleration Group, UC Berkeley was kind to share his personal path filled with successes and failures. He noted that Silicon Valley, and Berkeley in particular, have the culture of viewing these “downs” as experience and they are considered a very valuable experience.

“That mindset that it is ok to fail is culturally accepted, and to a big degree is the Silicon Valley’s success factor.”

 

Success, then, often means resilience and ability to get back up again, and that experience helps you create a prosperous business.

Another difference in perspective is startups’ ability to think big.

“Startups there have a very global mindset, they are not geographically attached, when they create a product they create it for the whole world, and investors are keen on investing big and finding that next unicorn.”

“We were inspired by the culture of innovation at Facebook. We learned from Laurent Landowski, Product Manager at Facebook that anyone can create a new feature but you’ve got to develop and test it fast.”

People will help but don’t fail at networking

Another thing that happens fast in the Valley is networking.

 

 

“People network all the time. They are very friendly and willing to connect you to others that might be of help. But you’ve just got one shot with them. If they like you, all doors will open wide. But if you failed, you will not have another chance with that person.”

Another golden rule for networking is to follow up fast.

“If you don’t connect on LinkedIn and follow up the same day or the next day, you will be considered impolite. Following-up after a few days or a week is a no-gamer in the Valley.”  

 

What do we take home with us?

Mission participants brought back a number of contacts and ideas how to improve their ecosystems.

 

The Soft-Landing mission has enabled participants to create new partnerships, expand mentor network, connect European and American investors, provided with direct contacts to help European startups scale to US and find partners who could help test their products. Hope this will allow us to bring some of that American mindset to home countries and power up our ecosystems,” notes Andra.

The Soft-Landing Mission to Silicon Valley was an eye opener for me. Everybody who works in startups and innovation should at least be once in the Valley to see what is going on in the Champions League of world scaling tech!” adds Kamil Barbarski, Entrepreneur and Innovation Hacker at kamilbbs.com.

Special thank you to the French Tech Hub for collaborating with Soft-Landing and organizing this visit!

Don’t miss our call for applications to the next missions!

Follow Soft-Landing on:
Twitter: @SoftLanding_EU
Facebook: @SoftLandingEU

 

 

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