The Global Startup Community Marches On
Last week Ryan Broshar and I were in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam visiting the Inspectorio team (graduate of our Techstars Retail Accelerator in partnership with Target where Ryan is the Managing Director). It was my first time back there since 2010 and I was gobsmacked at the changes that have occurred; gleaming new skyscrapers fill the horizon and walking around District 1 felt like I was in the any of the most cosmopolitan of US cities.
CEO Carlos Moncayo, along with his brothers Fernando and Luis (born and raised in Quito, Ecuador) have assembled a world-class international team who have built a platform designed to help retailers, vendors and manufacturers commercialize high-quality products with never before seen efficiency, visibility and access to data across the supply chain, bringing transparency to the massive retail factory inspection industry. I counted no less than 9 countries represented in the team members I met.
Being in their office felt like I could have been in any top startup in New York City or Silicon Valley. Spending time with their developers, data-scientists and dev-ops teams, it’s clear the company is building a highly sophisticated software product for the retail industry that’s never been seen before. Even more so, the office had an energy and camaraderie that was off the charts.
Here at Techstars, we now have 40 accelerator programs on five continents. At our last FounderCon, I found myself in a room of about 30 founders late one night and we counted (with great enthusiasm) 14 countries represented. Equally exciting for me is seeing Seymon Dukach (Former Techstars Boston Managing Director & Soviet refugee) start a new firm called One Way Ventures which will be investing in immigrant founders. As the grandson of four Eastern European immigrants who arrived here near penniless, it’s absolutely thrilling to me that this is becoming the new normal.
Here in America, we’re at a crossroads. We’re seeing an increasing number of tech employees being deported and international applicants to our colleges and universities are decreasing while our government arm wrestles over immigration. Every time I visit another startup community around the globe, it’s evident that our grip on being the world’s most innovative country is loosening every year. If the US is to stay competitive in the long-term innovation landscape, it’s time to recognize and embrace that great tech startups are being built in every corner of the globe and the best talent will go where they’re welcomed.