IC² Institute in Austin, Texas. Photo by João Igor.

UTEN GSP Orientation Week

The Global Startup Program (GSP) grew out of the University Technology Enterprise Network (UTEN) resulting in a partnership between the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) with the goal of leading, facilitating, and accelerating the commercialization in USA of tech products created by Portuguese companies.

The program´s tangible outcomes speak for themselves and some IPOs are expected soon. For a young program like this, everything seems great at a first glance, although to enter you need to:

I. Be selected, witch is not easy because the program demands scalable products already running.

II. Be ready to invest in regular trips to USA, house renting and all the other things that you need to consider in order stay in Austin along with UTEN´s team and inside the USA market.

III. Be committed with the program, or else you will loose opportunities. Everything happens very fast in USA and because of that you need to be present and always prepared to make the next deal.

If you are willing to accept this challenge, your professional routine will change for sure, your company will feel those changes and everything must be very organized to work out in the best way for all.

The question is: Is it worth it? Well, after CoolFarm experience during only one week, I can say that it is! And the program is actually so much more than what it appears to be at a first glance… An amazing turnover on your business skills!

UTEN GSP really went beyond our expectations.

Day 1, 2 and 3: IC2 & Pitch

IC² Institute in Austin, Texas. Photo by João Igor.

As soon as you arrive in IC² Institute you feel that it´s going to be a very motivating week. Everyone is smiling, everyone wants to change for better and you have always fresh donuts and a Nespresso machine available (thanks Marco and Francisca 😁). Also, the IC² Institute building has a great environment, it is very peaceful and offers all the things you need to be motivated in your work.

You get very quickly into UTEN´s team mood, they are amazing, very experienced and highly educated people, always there to help you.

Their behavior gets contagious and suddenly all the companies in the program get involved with each other and you find yourself learning more, getting more help and making new friends.

Our Portuguese colleagues were serial entrepreneurs, serious investors, promising startups like us, and also more mature companies that are already making millions per year.

Liliana Marques (CoolFarm Co-founder and CAO) finishing the pitch deck for the next day. Photo by João Igor.

We started the training for the pitch, not the typical investors pitch but rather a client orientated pitch, only straight to the benefits of your product. This is the most important type of speech you need to make, because if possible you will always want clients and not investors.

After 2 days of improvement we ended up in Capital Factory, in a full room of those that you really want to meet with.

Portuguese teams from UTEN GSP Orientation Week celebrating together at Capital Factory building. Photo by João Igor.

It was amazing… Things started to happen!

Day 4 & 5: Too good to be true!

Meeting in a Greenhouse located in Austin.

In the last days of our first week in Austin, meetings with potential clients appear , it is crazy how everything is fast in USA and all thanks to the UTEN team, that is extremely respected by the community. They even go with you to the meetings, helping with the credibility of your product and with deals, witch is a game changing for all foreigners.

CoolFarm started negotiating a trial in USA and a partnership with a distribution channel. “What else?” Now we are talking with new ones and it does not stop! We now feel that USA is open for us! Thanks to our closest mentor Rod Klassy but also to Marco Bravo, Bruce Flory, Christopher Meyers, Donovan Miller and Greg Pogue! All your advices are extremely important for the final decision of what step should CoolFarm take next.

Besides us, all the companies were more than happy with the results after one week of work. We saw sales happening after the first meetings.

CoolFarm will meet UTEN´s team soon, once again in Austin, which by the way is a beautiful city with a lot of offer for people in the tech scene.

Testimonial written by João Igor, CoolFarm Co-founder and CDO.