START UPS HITTING THEIR STRIDES IN THE USA
Road Manager’s VP Marie Scoutas was recently asked to address a group of Australian start ups visiting New York University’s Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab. The group from the New Venture Institute at Flinders University asked some vital questions about how to do business in America.
We have been asked several times what it’s like sending an Australian to head up a new American company.
In major American cities you don’t have to travel far to hear an Australian ordering a coffee or speaking on the phone. But the most welcoming responses to our Vice President’s Australian accent have been in smaller towns, where the twang has not just been accepted but people have offered to go that step further to help a newcomer.
There is no doubt the United States is open for business to innovators. While some cities are more accommodating to start ups than others, there is a wealth of assistance ranging from tax breaks on health insurance through to online support communities for capital raising.
There are some serious requirements to fulfill along the way. We drew on the advice of an experienced tax attorney and an immigration lawyer to ensure we were meeting our legal and regulatory obligations including compulsory insurance.
These are, despite their importance, invisible tasks that won’t help a business find new leads. Marie told the group that a key measure of a successful day in the office is to identify what tasks helped you drive outcomes, separate to any necessary administration.
Before stepping foot on Qantas flight 11 to JFK Airport, Marie had drawn up a list of priority cities to target in the first 100 days to ensure she stayed on course during the early days of house hunting and social security queues.
As she told the E-lab, the secret is: there is no secret. The hustle is not a mystery waiting to be unpackaged. Make the call, set up the meeting, work nights. If a single mother from Sydney with two young children can launch a start up in New York City, then we live in fantastic times.
Her key message was that the basic principles of life, are the principles of running a start up: work darn hard and be respectful to everyone who crosses your path.
She didn’t miss the opportunity to recommend the entrepreneurs see Billy Joel in concert during their stay in Gotham, but we know enough about our VP to know that was inevitable advice.
Marie has been travelling to various states to get a better handle on the different approaches to tackling traffic. It’s always an interesting conversation as our company is at its core: disruptive. Road Manager doesnâ€™t always fit neatly into the way bureaucracies and businesses are structured. But those who are ready to innovate jump at the chance.
Road Manager takes traffic plans off paper and converts them into digital, Google Maps based plans you can adjust in real time.
It’s a small but necessary change for any city preparing for new technology such as autonomous vehicles coming down the line and for any nation with a major infrastructure delivery agenda that has years of roadworks in planning.
It’s a program that was made for the USA but developed in Australia. When we approached spatial technology experts and Google Premium Partners NGIS, we weren’t sure it could be delivered. With US developers in demand in a large market, Marie urged the group at the E-lab not to overlook Australian operators. What we found in NGIS Australia was a can-do attitude that made delivering our vision a joyÂ and a relationship we continue today.
We are very proud to have committed our experience and energy to the United States. We are proud to stand alongside them to help ease the pain that comes with construction because in the end you don’t build for places, you build for people.
For American start ups there can be no better time to seize on the uses of technology to make your contribution.