NYI’s Marc Lemcke sat down with Wilson Lin of the New York Economic Development Corporation and Norbert Kuls, a correspondent for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last week at Rise’s FinTech Fest to discuss the opportunities and challenges for companies scaling in the US. Diving straight in, Marc and Wilson spoke about what international companies should know about growing in the US. Wilson noted the rich talent pool and practical time zones for Europe as macro benefits for NYC but he stressed that it’s not simply about relocating to NYC, rather it’s all about growth. “See some growth in your home market first”, then when ready to scale, “be clear on your objectives coming here” and use the large corporations to your advantage to gain traction. In support of this, Marc warned that to expect to come here first without proven traction in the domestic market can be risky given the competitive landscape.
Building on this, Wilson advised foreign founders to take advantage of the rich ecosystem of NYC. There are numerous platforms, such as Rise New York, and the leading academic institutions with various programs to accelerate growth. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help”, Wilson noted and with Marc adding “never walk alone and be prepared to fail but fail fast and build up again with local expertise”. Turning to the challenges, Nicolas Kopp, the US CEO of N26, the Berlin fintech startup growing fast in the US, spoke candidly about the arduous immigration processes to relocate him and his small team, as well as, the hypercompetitiveness when attracting top talent. But he was quick to highlight the positives pointing to the vibrancy of the ecosystem, the talent pool, and the sheer market size.
As a final point, Wilson spoke about the NYCEDC’s new initiative to make the NYC a global leader in cybersecurity. The city will invest over $30m to establish the “Cyber Center” with an accelerator program, talent partnerships, and engagement with large corporations and academic institutions. More info can be found here