The Journey Through GoUSA 23: A comprehensive Look

11. Oktober 2023
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First week back in Austria after visiting the USA for five weeks participating in the Advance Austria´s GoUSA Program . It has truly been an amazing experience, and I believe that sharing some insights into what happened is a great way to kick off the launch of our blog 😀

How it all began

At the beginning of the year, APICHAMP faced an exciting question: Where should we launch this innovative platform? Naturally, the initial inclination was to launch it right here in the homebase, Linz, Austria. After all, it made sense to start locally and build a strong foundation. However, as I delved deeper into the intricacies of APICHAMP, which is distributed via dockerhub and designed for full self-management, I realized that it is valuable to gain insights from foreign markets from the very beginning.

The vision for APICHAMP is ambitious, and I knew that to make it a resounding success, we needed to think globally. While the immediate focus is on finding early adopter customers in Austria and the broader DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), I were keenly aware that international expansion would be a key driver of our growth. As a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, setting our sights on the U.S. market is a strategic imperative.

With that goal clearly defined—conquering the first steps into the U.S. market—the next logical step was to chart a course for the entrance into this dynamic and competitive landscape. That's when I stumbled upon a game-changing opportunity, the GoUSA Silicon Valley program organized by WKO "Aussenwirtschaft Österreich."

Following a brief online registration process, APICHAMP was selected to advance to the next stage and received an invitation to participate in an online pitching session in front of a distinguished American jury of successful founders and investors. And as it turns out, APICHAMP secured its place and will be part of this year's cohort in september.
Arrived in San Francisco

The program

The official program was set for three weeks by Open Austria including a full month of free usage of the Galvanize CoWorking Space. Additionally there was some space for some self organization as well as my decision to stay two weeks longer to have more time for self organized conferences and meetings. So overall it was quite a unique experience with some of the following highlights:
  • Two weeks of workshops and learnings
  • Networking Events like for example @ asana HQ
  • Techcrunch Disrupt in San Francisco
  • AWS GenAI Day in San Francisco
  • Dockercon 2023 in LA
  • A guided tour to Stanford
  • Austrian Demo Night
  • And many more
During the program, I had the chance to take part in a two-week startup accelerator called 'Silicon Valley In Your Pocket,' led by locals Jeff Walace, Kal Deutsch, and Paul Kallmas. It was an incredible experience, offering insights into both the basics of typical startup topics and the complexities of entering the U.S. market. I learned so much from seasoned industry experts.

One of the program's highlights was listening to various speakers, including Silicon Valley locals, successful Austrian entrepreneurs who had tackled the Silicon Valley scene, and they shared their stories and wisdom, guiding me in my journey with APICHAMP.

Aside from the learning sessions, visits from expert speakers the Open Austria team have also organized some fantastic trips. The most memorable one was our visit to Stanford University, a hub of innovation. What made it exceptional was being led by a Stanford professor, who gave us an eye-opening look at how academia and entrepreneurship intersected in Silicon Valley.
Found this great piece of history at stanford. The first google server :)
On the side, I had the chance to connect with a local guide who provided me with some incredibly valuable feedback, joined some great networking evening events (like in salesforce park or the asana HQ) and also enjoyed some funny and insightful evenings with my fellow cohort members – maybe sometimes also involving a few beers. These sessions which are not scheduled and just happen can be the most valuable one after all. Let's face it, discussing the ups and downs of our daily startup journeys was not only helpful but also a lot of fun and definitely made some new friends there.

In conclusion, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Open Austria team for the great organization of the whole program. The lessons I've gained during this GoUSA Silicon Valley program are the foundation of my future success in the US. This journey has been incredibly rewarding, and I'm so thankful for the experiences and knowledge I've acquired.

Techcrunch Disrupt

After finishing the initial two weeks of the program, it was time to head to TechCrunch Disrupt. This renowned tech event gathered some of the brightest minds in the tech industry to display cutting-edge technologies, talk about industry trends, and foster networking and collaboration. The dominant topic this year was unquestionably AI, AI, AI. It's more than just a passing trend; it's poised to significantly impact many aspects of our lives. However, it also underscored that AI alone isn't the silver bullet. The key is for startups and companies to discover the right use cases that genuinely deliver value.

Austria Demo Night

The official WKO program wrapped up with a remarkable event at Parklab Garden in San Francisco. It was a big moment for all of us, a chance to present our creative ideas and solutions to an enthusiastic audience.

Having a product name starts with the letter "A," I was the first one up to pitch our platform, APICHAMP. I was quite happy with my pitch and believe that it was very understandable and gave some clear insights on a very technical topic. Afterwards we all hade some great networking time to discuss our startups with the audience.

This event at Parklab Garden marked a fitting end to our time in the GoUSA Silicon Valley program. It celebrated our shared achievements and set the stage for exciting opportunities ahead. It showed the incredible potential of startups like ours in the dynamic landscape of Silicon Valley.

San Francisco

San Francisco has been all over the news before I flew there. Talking about a zombie town and empty streets and I also want to say a few words about how I feel about it.

It's hard to overlook the recent difficulties that San Francisco has been grappling with, particularly the tech layoffs and the increased prevalence of remote work, which have prompted some tech companies to consider relocating. These challenges have undeniably left their mark on the city's tech landscape, and I've heard from locals that San Francisco feels notably less crowded than before. However, there are signs of improvement, with many conferences making a return to San Francisco after the COVID-19 period. Despite economic changes in specific areas, the city still maintains its innovative spirit and continues to draw in talented and forward-thinking individuals.

After all I have to say that I actually did like (most parts) about the city.

Computer History Museum

My visit to the computer history museum in Palo Alto, was just a short visit from San Francisco but i would like to have it mentioned here as it's really a great place that takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of computing. (And no, It´s not only for nerds like myself😀) This museum is remarkable for a few key reasons.

First, it's home to a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that chart the evolution of computers from their early days to the advanced devices we use today. You can see everything from ancient calculators to the iconic Apple I, showcasing the incredible progress in computing.

Second, the museum provides insightful and educational displays that offer context for these technological advancements. Interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and informative panels help you understand the importance of each innovation and how it has shaped society, business, and our daily lives.

Lastly, the Computer History Museum lets you see the profound impact of computing on our world today. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a history buff, or just curious about the digital age, a visit here lets you explore the past, present, and future of technology in an engaging and informative way. It's an experience that not only educates but also fills you with wonder about the incredible innovations that have shaped our modern world.

Some days off

After completing the fourth week of the program, I took some time to travel and enjoy a few days off. I decided to rent a car and head down to Los Angeles. I spent a night in Santa Cruz and then continued my journey to Santa Monica, where I finally got to experience some warm temperatures.

While in Los Angeles, I explored the Walk of Fame and visited the Griffith Observatory. The observatory pleasantly surprised me because I initially thought it was just another viewing spot. It turned out to be a really cool and insightful museum with live speakers and experts just showing you around giving their views. You should definitly go there in case you visit LA.

I also had a fantastic time enjoying two sunny and fun days at Santa Monica Beach.

Dockercon 2023

Los Angeles🌴, sunny ☀ and lots of whales 🐳 That´s dockercon in one sentence and it was a great last part of the journey. I fully immersed myself in the exciting realm of containerized technology, right in the heart of LA, where the iconic Docker whale was a constant companion.

These past two days have been a whirlwind of learning in a relaxed yet dynamic atmosphere, all while enjoying incredible hospitality and making meaningful connections with inspiring individuals. With APICHAMP now published on DockerHub, it's sparking new ideas and taking our distribution game to the next level.

Conclusion

This has been an incredible journey for APICHAMP, personally taking me from Austria to the United States in pursuit of a first gain on the US market. The main goal was to establish a foothold in the vast and dynamic US market, forge valuable connections, and spark innovation. And I would definitely say it has been worth it and that I have gained some great goals in that area.

However it's crucial to acknowledge that there's still work to be done back home in Austria. Refining our strategies, fine-tuning the product offerings, and ensuring that the foundations are rock-solid before embarking on the next phase of this adventure.

As a native of Austria, surprisingly I've not encountered any confusions from Austria to Australia. However Arnold Schwarzenegger's name came up quite a few times. And therefore let's close this article in the famous words: "APICHAMP will be back!"