Finding a niche market where your startup has a distinct advantage is one thing. Securing leads from across the world and then closing them is a whole other thing. Ken Low, Chief Commercial Officer of Arcadier, a global marketplace startup spoke to GrowthKungFu co-founders Wai Hoi Tsang and Pritish Sanyal about some of the challenges that come with building a global business.
How to clinch a major business deal halfway across the world, being a company based out of Asia
We really like to build communities and marketplaces. We want to be the leading marketplace creator, not only in Asia, but globally. We won't be the next Uber, but we hope to be the people behind the next one. We were having conversations with various partners through our contacts. One of our partners and eventual investor was actually based out of Panama.
They felt that there was an opportunity there. The giants like eBay and Amazon weren't really omni-present in that area. There was an opportunity for them to build a marketplace and grow. Through a dinner conversation they found us. We actually started the project with them, flew across to Panama, 48 hours on an economy flight. It was a really long journey *laughs*
It was a really interesting engagement. Why they found us half way around the world was that there aren't many of us in the market, that actually focus on this area. One or two in the Valley, one or two in Europe and us in Asia.
So you have that personal connection. But a lot of people have personal connections somewhere, whether it’s second tier or third tier connections. How do you build on that to turn that lead into actual business?
Arcadier's business really relies on B2B right now. We use the standard social media and speak to media like e27, Tech in Asia and the other outlets that allow people to understand what we do. The only other avenue is to go through government bodies, have them be your spokesman as well as personal contacts.
With every personal contact, messaging is key. We keep our message to them simple so that it's easy for them to speak to other people and make them understand what we do.
Organization is also important. Regardless of the time zones, we do pick up the calls. We have three offices, but they are all in similar time zones, Sydney, Singapore and the Philippines. Only recently a US office. We haven't really put people there yet. We try to cover as many of the time zones as possible to keep it happening.