This week, SACC New England (SACC NE), has had the privilege of welcoming the Swedish companies AppUniverse and Upstain to Cambridge/Boston as participants in the SACC Accelerator program. The SACC Accelerator Program has been designed to connect Scandinavian start-ups with the resources needed to launch and succeed i the U.S. SACC NE has been working with the companies through online webinars for 6 weeks, and it has been a pleasure to conclude the SACC Accelerator Program on-site.
AppUniverse: The founder of AppUniverse is Jonathan Ortheden; 18 years old, and winner of Apple's WWDC scholarship award 2014 and 2015. From the basement of Jonathan’s parents house, he has developed 20 apps on app store and has over half a million downloads. Nowadays, Jonathan together with his team, develops new apps focusing on creating a great experience in order to get as many users as possible.
Upstain: The company has developed a first impression eye-tracking camera that makes it possible to prove exactly where a viewers attention is targeted. Upstain makes it possible to measure how much attention ads actually are getting - an important first step to measure the effectiveness of advertising. Jason McMillion, the founder of the company, has been working with marketing for many years, and has been developing the camera and the method of analyzing the results for a period of 3 years.
One goal of the SACC Accelerator program has been to contribute with knowledge to make it easier for Swedish companies to enter the U.S. market, and another goal has been to help the companies to deal with cultural differences that exits between Sweden and the U.S.
When AppUniverse and Upstain arrived to Boston, we started off with a legal session at WilmerHale, where one of the firm's partners Gary Schall, guided us through the most important issues in order to operate a U.S. business. The focus was on legal issues such as; choice of legal entity, equity compensation, protecting intellectual property and capital raising. Crammed with a lot of new and valuable information, we continued with a session held by Gregory G. Pierce at NorthStar about insurances - a jungle where it is very easy to get lost, especially from a Swedish point of view.
The day ended with a pitch and demo night at Workbar, Cambridge, where we heard the entrepreneurs behind AppUniverse and Upstain, pitch to a panel of experts consisting of Ray Skoglund (investment banker with CFSC), Bill Jacobson (co-founder of workbar and partner at Techpoint Ventures, LLC), Carolyn Thomas (head of Bank Boston’s Loan Syndications and Trading) and Camilo S. (strategy consultant, business development adviser and angel investor).
We would like to thank the panelists for participating and for the valuable feedback! Jason and Jonathan did a remarkable job at concisely describing their companies, business models and market opportunities. It is a huge challenge to pitch a complex concept within a short timeframe, and to convince the audience that your concept is better or more unique than the competitors on the market.
SACC NE would also like to take the opportunity to thank Workbar for the hospitality in hosting the event!
This morning we started the day with a workshop discussing Market Strategy with Louis Hatzis and Evan Antonatos. We touched upon headlines such as how to create measurable value for potential costumers and investors, but also how to reach the relevant target market.
Stella Lovén, President of SACC NE, and who has been working with taking a start-up company to the U.S., underlined that the most challenging part to enter the U.S. market as a European company is to comprehensive understand your unique value proposition from an American perspective.
An update from the rest of the SACC Accelerator week will be posted later on this week.
By: Kajsa Morawetz