I want to understand which market we should launch our website and app. Markets considered are :
Sri Lanka -
pros - country of origin, where the engineering team is based, understanding of culture, inexpensive travel and operating cost
cons - market size is too small, really low space to expand, reluctance to embrace new technology, no massive access to venture funding
pro - understanding of culture and market to a certain extend(cofounders have lived in Aussie for a decade), bigger market size, higher cultural acceptance of new technology,
cons - engineering team based in sri lanka, much smaller size of market compared to USA
Pros - largest potential market(Population 334m>20mil AUS> 19mil SL), Cultural acceptance on new technology, high potential to expand, high probability to pitch for venture funding
Cons - engineering team based in SL, non of the cofounders have lived in USA
Can you please share your ideas for us to make this critical decision. I understand simplest,easiest thing to do is to deploy in the based country. But the product was designed to suite Australia and USA backed by the understanding of western culture of cofounders.
Looking forward for some valuable feed back and guidance on this.
I would start in the local market And he the best in that market. you already understand the culture and market.
Once you gain traction in your local market then you can look for sensible expansion. You may find it’s better to grow (internationally) through joint ventures with companies in the countries you want To expand into.
It is difficult to give good feedback without knowing what your business does. However, Jay's point is good. Start where you absolutely know the market and can support it. Treat it as your beta so you can fully vet the offering and tech. If you can validate it, then do an analysis of other economies that are closer with adoption processes similar. Coming to the US sounds magical, but there are tens of thousands of tech startups that are competing for space and talent. You not having a cultural awareness of the US could make it difficult to really validate your model. Do not fear theft of the idea. Recall Facebook was not the first social network and it was available only to Harvard student initially then other colleges selectively, then the US and then the world. The point is that it is more appropriate to be absolutely sure you can meet and exceed user expectation before you go big time. In the USA, a failure is permanent. You can survive a failure or needing more work in a smaller market.
1. I would consider sri lanka, it is better to be 1st winner in local market, don't be too early in international expansion , you would loss a lot like Uber. Do research on Australian market an USA by try to approach partner on that stage. Why you're not consider India, China, or Indonesia?
2. If you launch somewhere else, depends on your bussiness in BcC or B2B, If B2B I suggest you have at least 1 engineer in that country, at least for integration to client in certain country, and also building trust.
3. If your investor not suggest the USA market, don't enter it. Except you have strong USA backup. Plus, be open to acquisition, you know how facebook battle with snapchat?
I believe it's more into the Market Size itself, do you TAM,SAM and SOM analysis you'll know the market size for your business, accordingly you'll know which market you should tackle first. Launching your product or service in non proper market can hold you for a while and gives you bad indications in addition to burning money without having real growth.
If you're calculation leads you to USA as an example, you'll have to partner or find a Co-Founder to handle the operation and business development there.
Best of Luck
I would echo Jay and Dane. If we take a Lean Startup lens to the question, usually the risk is whether or not the product solves a problem/delights (market risk) - and you'll need hands on feedback, customer conversations and quick iterations to zero in on what your customers will love. It sounds like you're best positioned to do this in Sri Lanka. When your team is humming along, used to doing good product testing, iterations, you'll be well positioned to explore other markets.
Definitely don't worry about idea being copied.
Thank you for all the responses,some valuable insights here. The dilemma begins due to couple of reasons.
Both cofounders have lived and worked in Australia for more than a decade which has given us a decent understanding of culture and behavior. The concept is based on user cases identified in Australian market.
If I may give an insight of what we are doing:
We have designed and developed software for gyms, swimming pools and other leisure sport businesses to keep their clients engaged. We have designed bunch of innovative features which could assist general public to achieve their fitness goals. Approach is unique.
We have validated the requirement by research, use cases, current solutions.
When we developed it we realized the the product is a global product. That's why we want to plan our strategy of invasion.
Thank you so much for your valuable insights.
Do you have a final product already, ready to scale?
anyway, I would find a strategic partner in the target country (and partner may depend on strategy -b2c or b2b)