Once your startup starts experiencing huge growth in one market, it is only natural to think of global expansion.
Being multinational not only gives startups a bigger market to go after, but it also de-risks your business from any negative macro events in a particular country.
However, scaling outside your home country comes with its own challenges, especially for smaller startups, and local growth doesn’t automatically translate into success internationally.
In a freewheeling session on Day 2 at TechSparks 2022 moderated by Bhagwan Chowdhry, Professor, Finance, ISB, the experts Juliane Frömmter, Project Head – EU-India InnoCenter; Tim Luft, Global Innovation Specialist and UK Government Dealmaker – Global Entrepreneur Programme; Anubhav Jain, Dealmaker, Overseas Asia Pacific – South Asia Global Entrepreneur Programme – Department for International Trade – UK Government; and Sidharth Mehta, Regional Director (MENA & India), Department for Trade & Investment – South Australia, discussed the nuances of scaling globally and the options available to startups looking to take their startups to foreign shores.
Look beyond London when expanding to the UK
“We have an Indian-origin Prime Minister, and now would be a great time for the countries to engage in a dialogue about opportunities,” said Tim Luft, as he spoke about the potential of expanding to, and investing in the UK.
Tim, who helps UK companies succeed in India, and Indian companies set up and invest in the UK advised startups to “look beyond London” when it came to expanding in the UK, pointing out that the UK had recently announced its largest-ever £45 billion R&D budget, and that R&D partnerships involving universities and industry were being set up in Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow, with the objective of making the UK a global science superpower, and turning world-leading science and ideas into solutions for the public good.
He also added that the UK Government had introduced new visa categories like the Innovator’s visa with plans for other visa categories like the Scale-up visa and the Business Angel visa next year.
The need for diversity in startup teams looking to scale
Juliane, an accomplished startup ecosystem leader and enabler in the German, European, and global startup ecosystem also spoke about the importance of cultural diversity in startup teams looking to scale globally. “Scaling geographically is a great way for startups to welcome diversity and have cross country knowledge in their teams and benefit from it,” she said.
“Every global startup hub like London, Berlin and the Silicon Valley are famous for their diversity and have grown because of it,” she added.
Sidharth, who agreed with Juliane said, “With networking and collaboration opportunities comes the meeting of minds and cross-pollination of ideas.” He also contextualised the success story of Lot Fourteen, an innovation precinct in Adelaide that, among other things, provided free WIFi for all to help nurture a startup culture.
“South Australia’s international reputation for creating and manufacturing world-class products and services across key industries and sectors, sets it apart from other states and territories,” he added.