After making it easier over 300 office hours for immigrant entrepreneurs entering the UK market, what have we learned about who these founders are and the challenges they face?
Introductions can be crucial for a soft landing, but the real value is in gathering meaningful feedback from experienced investors.
It’s about what your network can teach you and help you gain (like an opportunity to offer), not just how many connections you have.
We launched the first version of Blue Lake International Office Hours in 2022, which showed early evidence that the trend of VCs offering office hours could provide real value, particularly to immigrant founders entering the UK ecosystem.
In the second edition, which came out in March 2023, we wanted to continue to make useful introductions, but we also wanted to understand more systematically what right was so helpful during office hours.
To this end, we developed our application and post-encounter feedback forms to better identify two things: dating, what do they say they value most? In other words. the founders ultimately evaluate the aspects of the meeting as they see fit.
First, who are the founders who participated in the second round? The 125 applicants for work hours from February 2023 came from 39 countries on 6 continents and different countries in terms of language, economic development and other factors.
Countries of origin included places such as Australia and Azerbaijan, as well as Ghana and Germany. The countries with the most applicants were Ukraine (33), India (11) and Turkey (10). A mix of 12 different priority areas were also identified by applicants. “other” was the largest category (22), followed by fintech (18) markets (17), cleantech (15) and deep tech (14).
Here’s an example of how diverse the primary sector mix was:
In terms of gender, applicants were predominantly male, with 96 identifying as male, 28 as female, and one as non-binary.
Back to our questions about what these diverse founders want and what they say about office hours. Forty-five participants completed both the applications and the post-hours feedback form; we analyzed the responses of this subset to compare what they said they wanted to collect beforehand with what they covered and rated afterwards.
On the application form, when asked about the aspects they would find most valuable, 60% answered ‘introduction/networking’. Fundraising strategy received the second most responses at just 13%. Sales and Marketing, Mentoring and Teaming received a small number of votes.