In the third webinar of the StartSmart Webinar Series, Amira Yahyaoui founder of MOS, a Silicon Valley based startup, and Tarek Chelifah, Flat6Labs Tunis Senior Program Manager, discussed what it is like to build up a startup in Silicon Valley and how it compares to building one in MENA. Here is the quick recap.
“You don’t need to be in silicon valley to do something great”
To Amira, an entrepreneur should first and foremost be building for the experience, the journey, and changing people’s lives. Entrepreneurs need to realise that wherever they are in the world there are problems that require innovative solutions, which will ultimately change people’s lives, hence, “you don’t need to be in silicon valley to do something great,” Amira said. She added” “the only interesting thing about silicon valley is the technology and the people,” and if you can read books, watch webinars, and listen to podcasts coming from the silicon valley, you can start anywhere.
“Don’t think of just your country, think regionally”
Entrepreneurs are always caught up in building startups with a focus on the local market, but if we try to look for differences between the Egyptian and Bahraini market, we won’t find many. At the very core, our cultures, markets, and purchasing powers are very similar. So “don’t think of just your country, think regionally.”
“Failure is loved cherished, and accepted in Silicon Valley”
One of the things that Amira highlighted was that people in Silicon Valley seem to be very resilient, hardworking, unshaken by fear of failure, and are risk-takers. ‘“Failure is loved, cherished, and accepted in Silicon Valley” because you learn from it, and investors look for people who are hardworking, passionate, and experienced. we won’t find many.
“I believe so much in hunger & scarcity to build”
Amira believes that being an entrepreneur means that you can do lots of things with limited resources. Get creative with the resources you have, and utilise everything you have to its maximum potential. “You cannot build anything in silicon valley if you are not willing to work hard,” Amira said.
“To get to Series A you need to show a considerable spike in the number of users/clients”
After getting your seed fund, don’t expect investors to be encouraged to invest in your startup if you haven’t had a considerable spike in the number of clients/users/customers. This is what investors in Silicon Valley look for, they want to see that your solution is in demand because if it is not, they will not invest. A product/solution is only great if people need it.
“Find people who fit your company culture”
“Find people who fit your company culture,” Amira advised. No matter how much you believe in hiring people with different backgrounds and personalities, working with people who are naturally aligned with your company values, ethics, and goals will get you the best results and it will help your startup grow tremendously. Hire people you want to work with!
If you have any questions, you can reach Amira on any of her social media accounts using @mira404.
Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on April 28th with Mike Preuss, Co-founder & CEO of Visible.vc along with Marie Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo. For more information and to register, click here.