Up to five times a year, the German-American Chamber of Commerce in New York offers German startups the opportunity to gather valuable practical experience in the US. During the 5-day STEP Program, the participants meet business angels and venture capital investors in New York. Andrea Diewald, Director Innovation & Startup Relations, knows the location like the back of her hand: we spoke to her about the North American market, the differences in mindsets and the key essentials for startups.
What makes the US market so interesting for German startups?
Andrea: The American market is the largest single market in the world. There are 320 million Americans across 50 federal states, which is a huge area of land. The country is characterized by a society that is fundamentally willing to invest: Americans like having things, they follow new trends and their buying power and mindsets constantly push the technology-driven market forward. There are of course a few hotspots on the East and West coasts, as well as a few cities in the middle, such as Chicago, where the willingness to invest is particularly strong.
So alongside Silicon Valley, do these hotspots also include New York City?
Andrea: Yes. When it comes to startups, New York is increasingly on the ascent, since Silicon Valley has now become something of a challenge. The investors there are extremely spoilt, and won’t even speak to everyone anymore. You need first-class introductions and a superb business model to even get an audience there. The cost of good staff is also enormous, and startups have to compete there with the very big firms. In New York, the situation is different – for now – and the conditions are much better as the city is home to a wide range of industries, including fashion, the media, and the insurance sector. There are also the two major industries of IT and FinTech, but consumer goods and service sector startups have plenty of opportunities here too. On top of all that, the New York area is home to as many as 20 million people, and the city has incredible economic potential.
When did your startup program in New York City launch?
Andrea: As a chamber of commerce, we have had a presence in New York for over 60 years, however our program only came into being at the end of last year and has already been held successfully three times. There have been various deals, and a total of seven startups that we’ve networked are about to participate in a Series A investment. We’re particularly proud of one FinTech startup that has programmed software to keep lawyers’ costs under control. We formed this startup via our network with the New York Times, which also showed an interest due to its many legal conflicts and lawyers. The contract was concluded just recently. It’s a great example of how New York is able to connect different industries. More…