BeGLOBAL was all about building bridges between the Asian and Silicon Valley startup ecosystems. We, beSUCCESS, have been working at achieving this through our startup media and Asian events for over two years, but our first event in Silicon Valley, Sep 13, was a huge leap forward. Here’s how it all went down at the Four Seasons, Palo Alto, September 13.
Success Comes to those Who Get Stuck In (and have great networks)
On our first outing almost 500 attended beGLOBAL to discuss and learn about Global Entrepreneurship and check out some cool Asian startups. So, how did a foreign team put this together, securing 31 influential speakers, attracting 100s of local investors and entrepreneurs, while making the content relevant and interesting? This is partly a testament to our steadfast belief in the value of the event for the Asian and Silicon Valley ecosystems and our concerted efforts at promoting these benefits through our many media and outreach partners.
Also, it is thanks to our powerful networks, that ensured that top quality speakers appeared on-stage, to discuss topics that were of relevance to our target audience. We simply could not have pulled it off without leveraging our large network of local friends, whose local knowledge and networks guaranteed our speaker line-up. The Result: When the conference kicked off at 9am the house was full and it remained so until the last session drew to a close. This demonstrates that our marketing efforts had paid off, and more importantly that those who came to the conference saw enough value that they stayed till the last session, so as not to miss anything. So, a massive thanks must go out to our friends in The Valley, the amazing speakers who shared their knowledge and experience, to our attendees, who validated everything we had worked to achieve, and of course the Korean government sponsors who helped us with facilitation.
Correct Positioning is Really Important!
Our initial plan was to position the conference as a showcase of Korean startup talent, but very quickly we realised that this would not pull in the Silicon Valley audience. With the A+level of local startups, why would Valley VCs care about checking out startups from the other side of the World? Well, honestly, they weren’t. In view of this we had to focus much more on generating top quality session content. Altering the event focus to that of ‘Global Entrepreneurship Conference’ achieved this aim and ensured that the event was a success.
The Startup Battle
The ten startups that pitched at beGLOBAL were selected from over 50 applications, for their strong focus on building companies that address global concerns. In the end Shakr was recognized as having the most global potential and was crowned king of the event, as their beautiful video solution for the masses, combined with powerful business model wowed the Draper judges. Korbit, who aim to be a leader of the Bit-Coin revolution, also attracted interest, as did SEWorks, whose highly advanced mobile security solution was seen as addressing a major concern for app developers.
If You Are Going To Do It, Do It Right
Many Korean-focused startup events have been run in Silicon Valley in the past, but the initial feedback is that our event achieved an utterly different level of quality from what had gone before. What was different about beGLOBAL is that it was run by entrepreneurs and investors, for the same. The partnership that was created between beSUCCESS (startup media & events), Strong Ventures (Silicon Valley VCs), and the Korean Government (our top sponsor) ensured that the needs of our target audience were addressed, and in a way that delivered the unique values that each partner brought to the table.
Key Takeouts for Asian Startups
First of all its vitally important to understand that being a foreign entrepreneur is not a benefit in Silicon Valley. As many of our foreign entrepreneurs made clear in their talks, you will not be judged favourably just because you are building your startup in Korea, China, or indeed anywhere else. You will be judged purely on the strength of your ability to execute on your business plan, which must address a key concern for a global market.
That being said, I believe that beGLOBAL proved that Asian startups who have great teams and services can leverage a huge opportunity through Silicon Valley. Get involved and don’t be afraid of setbacks!
Key Take-outs for Silicon Valley
Through beGLOBAL we hoped to open a discussion on global entrepreneurship that will spark an increase in East-West business deals. We also wanted to demonstrate that while Silicon Valley will remain the hub of entrepreneurship for the foreseeable future there are ecosystems that are developing quickly that are producing great solutions for global problems. BeGLOBAL achieved this and it is exciting to think of just how far we can take this in the coming years.
See you next year
All in all the conference was a resounding success. I think all those who shared in the day will agree. We look forward to returning next year stronger and more experienced, and hopefully with many more Asian startups.
If you would like to get involved in next year’s event or have suggestions of how to make it even more valuable, please get in touch with us.