Last year was our first time in the Silicon Valley. I own several companies in the Czech Republic, but I had almost no experience with developing apps for final users and for the American market. We have decided to move to Silicon Valley for 3 months to find out "what is going on." Since then I work part of the year from the Czech Republic and the rest from the Silicon Valley. I'm no expert on local requirements here but I tried to write a couple of points and recommendations that I find valuable for other startups from Europe going to Silicon Valley.

  1. Everyone in the Valley wants to change the world, to be the next Facebook or Google. You are not the only one.
  2. Whatever you did in Europe, here you start from scratch. What have you achieved at home, nobody cares about here.
  3. If you want to present any numbers, only numbers related with the U.S. market are interesting for people here.
  4. Start off as an American company, or at least a company that has a branch here (or at least as a company moving here and that's why you are here). Local address, local phone number, business cards ...
  5. Feel free to communicate and take action - do you want an article on Mashable? Write to the editor. Want to meet with someone? Tell him or her and if you have an interesting project, they will meet up with you. Whether it is an unknown blogger or a boss of a large and successful startup.
  6. Hire a copywriter you need to have your web and products in American English. Locals know whether or not you write texts via Google Translator :-)
  7. Keep your profile updated on LinkedIn and communicate with people after every event.
  8. You can bring a stack of business cards from each event. At least 80% of them are uninteresting contacts.
  9. Do not sit there in your office or an apartment but work/develop.
  10. Failure is something you can brag about here. Have you had a failed startup? It will win you good points with many people.
  11. Everything is up to you, nothing happens automatically here. Before we left to the States, we had over 30 pre-arranged meetings.
  12. Push your luck, register to compete in selections for presentation at conferences, hackathons etc. There are a lot of startups, many of them more interesting than yours, but also a lot less interesting ones. You always have a chance.
  13. People are open here and some are happy to help. Much more than in Europe. At first glance, selflessly, but ultimately everyone hopes that one day you can help him or her out.
  14. Don’t lie, Silicon Valley is essentially a terribly small place and everybody knows everyone. If you lose their trust, you're done.
  15. Relationships are built here same as everywhere else. First you give confidence, then you have to confirm it and after you get cooperation.
  16. Forget about NDA’s, at least that counts for most investors and partners. Either you believe each other or not.
  17. Silicon Valley is full of companies that want to stick to your startup, to "help" you and clean you out of your money. Be careful with whom you work, try to get some recommendations from your friends here.
  18. Be prepared to revise your business model or application and start from scratch.
  19. Do the marketing and PR yourself. PR agencies do not really work when you do not have an unlimited budget.
  20. Enjoy California, it is a great place for our business and good luck, you’ll need some!

Hope that this can help someone. Feel free to add your recommendations!

4 Comments