How early is too early to explore a new market? It's earlier than you think!

We're proud members of the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). In addition to connecting with our peers across accelerators and incubators across the country, CDMN provides valuable programming for tech companies to propel their growth and connect them with founders around the world.

The Get There program is a unique opportunity that offers early-stage, high-growth high-potential Canadian tech startups a chance to demystify an international market. The program is designed to amplify the founder’s network and provide tips and tricks to make future visits easier and more cost effective. Each company receives pre-trip coaching before spending one week in market and financial support to offset some of the costs of the trip.

The Get There program is a referral program, rather than an application-based one, which means we often don’t take the time to talk about its role in supporting those first trips into San Francisco or New York that can be vital for a tech company’s long-term success. We sat down to chat with Laurie Maier, Manager Network Programs - CDMN, to talk about how early is too early to explore a new market (hint: it’s probably earlier than you think) and how to get the most out of a Get There trip.

If you have questions about Get There, reach out directly to Laurie!

What is the most valuable part of the Get There experience?

Physically being in market and experiencing the ecosystem, startup culture and tech landscape. The opportunity to share that experience with other startup founders from across Canada provides an incredible amount of value.

What is one of your favourite moments from a previous program?

When one of the companies received a key piece of advice to think about their business model and how they tell their story.

Communitech News followed Tricolops co-founder and CEO Chau Phan to New York City for the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN)'s "Get There" program, designed to help Canadian startups find their footing in U.S. markets. Over pizza and beer at Phillips Lytle's Madison Avenue office, CDMN advisors Mike Kirkup and Kelly Hoey tore into the fundamentals of Tricolops' business model.

What is the most important piece of advice that you would give to a company as they prepare for the trip?

Make the time to prepare! This trip can be a transformative experience, but you only get out of it what you put in.

This means, carve out time for research (who you want to meet with - come up with a meaningful list), ask for meetings (through your network or directly with your potential contacts), book meetings and create a plan (logically plan how you'll make it to each meeting; consider your travel time and where meetings will take place).

What makes for a stellar request to a CDMN member organization?

Companies who have truly thought about why they need to be in the Valley. Strong applications demonstrate a plan for this market (why the Valley?) traction/validation (number of users, media attention), and what they want to learn from it (make connections, meet a key contact in market, plan for future growth, meet with investors).

After the trip ends, what are three things a company should do to make the most of the experience?

Follow up, follow up, and follow up! Whether it is an update or introduction make a plan for it. Set out time for this (i.e. perhaps while you're at the airport heading home) when it's still fresh in your mind. Come up with a plan for when you'll travel back to the Valley. This will help follow up and let your new connections be aware of when you'll be back. Tweet, blog, and share your experience with your peers.

The next Get There program is to San Francisco from February 25 - March 1, 2019. Applications are open until November 11.