Startup Interview Blogpost


We asked the 8 teams who participated in the V4 Global – Export Readiness Program a few questions about their experience throughout the past weeks. Here are their answers:


NEUROCONSAN


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


Our biggest challenge was to understand, shape and communicate the value of our product in the context of the international market. The other very important thing was to learn how to choose the right country for expansion.


What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


We learned what is important for the investors and how they think. This is going to be hopefully very useful in more targeted investor searching internationally.



STEMI GLOBAL


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


In our sector, getting the relevant decision makers is the hardest thing. Often, users can get enthusiastic quite quickly but convincing those that should pay for it is a different matter.

Second thing was to get funded for our Global BDM that requires quite an investment into product, staff and marketing.

What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


We got help in designing our strategy in sales. We better identified the market need and made the decision about our expansion. Also, we are much better prepared for talks with investors. From the pitch deck to the financials, we have a clear view how to start the fundraising.



HAIDI


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


In general, to get a comparable traction abroad as we already have reached on our home markets and to gain a “Western European” level of trust, being a company from the V4 region. We wanted to learn how to get in front of the stakeholders – meaning both customer pitches and networking.

What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


We already had the product-market fit well defined before starting the programme, but despite having some experience, the programme still helped us to reframe and highlight our achievements and references in our pitches and improve them overall. It provided a comprehensive overview of innovation granting options across Europe, therefore I would recommend the programme to those entrepreneurs who are technically savvy but need some help with selling their idea. We were extensively supported in validating our idea, finding our target audience, benefits, developing our pricing strategy and enhancing our pitch. The programme would be a perfect book that could be described as “a step-by-step guide to build a startup company”.



DEEPTRAIT


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


For us, the biggest challenge was getting in touch with potential partners and customers. We did that mostly by harnessing our own professional network and references.


What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


In the program, we learned about government organizations that may be of help for us.



SINEKO


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?

Our company, Sineko has struggled to understand which the best audience is to target on international markets, and how can we communicate our value proposition better to the selected segments of the industry. We had plans, but we did not have a clear, strategic overview of what should be done and how it should be done.


What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?

By participating in this program, we have received mentoring that enabled us to identify and select the best possible target segment for the current needs of our venture. With the help of our mentor, we have clarified our value proposition and learned new techniques for structuring our work. Lastly, we got very valuable feedback and advice on our pitch deck and technique.



MEDISTANCE


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


The main challenges were a lack of knowledge on the local ecosystem, organisations, regulations and a lack of infiltration into the local ecosystem. Great webinars were offered with local players from several key target markets, such as Poland, UK, Germany, etc. to get familiar with the local pharma and healthcare sector and the objective to build partnerships with local organisations

What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


The programme gives a good foundation on where to start with internationalisation. It’s like a „how-to” guide with mentors paving the way for start-ups. Personally, my key take-away was that deciding on the market to expand to is a way more complex process than going with whichever countries look good on paper. And that branding, value propositions and even the customer group might have to be changed in order to successfully gain market share.



REAL-RESEARCH


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


In the business of drug discovery tools, where we position ourselves, we see the biggest challenges in gathering enough data to support the value of our research models. In terms of internationalization we are facing an additional level of complexity because we have to do the same job but now cross cultural. Approaching scientists in different countries is slightly different and also selling is different. We need distributors and representatives on sight to be able to be in touch with clients. Even though scientists speak English, we are also slowly starting to accept the fact that it would be beneficial to have all the marketing materials in their native languages.


What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


The one-to-one meetings especially gave us a new point of view and helped to realize many shortcomings. All of the topics discussed during the meetings were kind of known to us but the discussions helped us to realize that we have done those exercises too superficially. From our point of view, especially fundraising was the key element and we spent unproportionally more time on it. It wasn't a lecture but rather a vivid discussion where both sides had their arguments, we have challenged each others point of view and sometimes were able to hold our point but sometimes the power of arguments was truly convincing!



WEWELL


What were your biggest challenges in terms of international business development before starting this programme?


As we are just starting and focusing on the local markets and improving our product, we don't face challenges in terms of international business development yet. However, we always like to stay a step ahead and get Wewell ready for expansion since our startup is massively scalable. That was the biggest driver for us to apply to this program and prepare the whole team for the upcoming challenges.


What did you learn by participating in this programme? How does it help your international expansion in the future?


The program was super helpful and informative, especially the one-to-one meetings with Olivia. It allowed us to apply the business knowledge we already had into the practice and discuss the potential outcomes of each business move that we would or could make. The best thing about these meetings was that it was not general discussions about business, but it was specifically tailored to us.


 

The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.