This guest post is written by Jonathan Arad, Co-founder & CMO of wanna, the place where parents can safely buy and sell products & services, locally!
Sitting at my desk in our London offices writing this post, I can’t help but wonder how we got here…
What incredible fortunes, twists and turns brought us to this point?
It’s hard for a young Israeli startup to stand out. Israel is often referred to as the startup nation and for a good reason. Walking down the street, it’s hard not to bump into a founder or investor in one of the countless startup companies operating from Israel. When starting wanna we always had our sights on expanding internationally, but a local launch seemed like a good idea to validate the concept, technology, team, and eventually raise capital.
However, taking a company away from its home base is no easy task. It’s difficult enough to build a company where you know the culture and people, rules and regulations, so imagine how hard it is doing it somewhere you know none of those in advance!
That’s the reason we decided to find a partner. We worked hard – and I mean hard – to find a partner that could help us achieve the thing we needed to do next – to be a local success story outside Israel.
We were thrilled to be accepted into Seedcamp. It’s been a life changing event in the life of wanna. There’s just no way to exaggerate what a profound impact the program has had.
If I could give Israeli entrepreneurs just one advice it would be to join a programme like Seedcamp – the sooner the better.
wanna is a very local app in the sense that it allows parents to buy and sell from one another, locally. We were anxious to be on the ground and meet our audience face to face, learning about the local available tools for startups, creating relationships, cooperation, hiring new people, and much more. This was all facilitated by the fact we had a home in Seedcamp. I can’t imagine doing this on our own.
Allow me to share three short examples how this manifested for us in the hopes to convey the importance I mentioned earlier:
1. Onboarding Week
During the first week of Seedcamp founders of all the companies sit for eight hours each day and are bombarded with information, data, guidelines, KPIs, rules, and benefits which probably covers most of the “things you need to know as a startup founder” info all in a week’s time. This is both high level inspiring stuff, but also down to earth action items with daily homework assignments.
Surprisingly, the most important thing I took from this week has nothing to do with any of those things – I found the best and most important resource for knowledge is the founders themselves!
It is just amazing how different people, from different backgrounds, with different ideas, all have common problems. The solution to those problem is sometimes much simpler than one thinks, as someone else in the room likely already solved that very problem not too long ago. Onboarding Week allowed all of us to get know one another, our expertise and experience.
This is HUGE. Seedcamp has a vast network of mentors consisting of accomplished founders and executives, Seedcamp alumni, friends, friends of friends, and other leading experts in their various fields (product, finance, law, VC, marketing, PR, operations, and more). Having the opportunity to pick the right mentor to talk to, when the time’s most important for you, is invaluable. The advice of an expert at the right time can save so much time, money, and effort.
As a foreign team we always need intros. Actually the local teams also need them, but we need more as we know less people and companies here. These intros come in all shapes and forms; from a personal warm supportive intro, to a cold distant mail. The fact we have the connection to both other founders and the Seedcamp network, gives us a chance to be introduced not only to the best in every field – including investors – but to be introduced personally in the very best way. Again, invaluable.
So we’ve established it’s hard to start a company, harder to do it abroad, and even harder to succeed alone. One of the keys to early stage success is utilising the people you know to help you whenever you can.