My first lesson in startup idea generation came from Ricardo Espinoza during the Lean Startup Machine workshop: get out of the building. In order to create products people want to buy, founders need to leave the office, get in front of a lot of potential customers, and get instant feedback.
Once the launch phase is complete and you are ready to scale, it is time to get out of the country. Taking short trips to scout out neighboring markets can be an enriching part of the startup journey.
- Meet other founders solving similar problems in their home markets who can provide valuable contacts in the local startup ecosystem
- Spend some money now ($1,000-$1,500 on a 2-3 day trip) to help you inform big strategic decisions before deploying even more capital blindly
- Build relationships with investors to put yourself in a position to raise a successful round
How to set up a trip:
- Apply to regional accelerator programs (Rockstart has applications up until July 7th)
- Ask your current investors and program managers to make warm intros. This will allow you to set up a few days of meetings.
- Plan your trip around a startup or venture capital conference to ensure you meet people from across the region.
Here are some founders who are getting out of the country in June. Last week, Peruvian founders Jaime Chiarella of Riqra and Roberto Vargas of Betriax participated in the South Summit in Bogota. This week, Ivonne Quiñones of Urbaner, Jose Delmar of Anda, and Fernando D’Alessio of Juntoz, represented Peru for the InversionistasAP Demo Day on Monday June 24th in Mexico City. They all took advantage of these trips to stay extra days to meet potential investors and clients and understand how the startup community work in Mexico.
Follow the example of these founders and get out of the country!