Indeed, at Ring we invest in french tech and digital scaleups and help them accelerate growth, mostly through internationalisation, build-up strategy and scale-up of the organisation.
At this stage, more than half of the companies we have invested in since the inception of Ring Capital, 3 years ago, are expanding in the US. They are willing to make America their first market in terms of revenue within 3 years. This echoes one of our key convictions about the necessity to go quickly to the US for French tech companies (read America First, blogpost by Nicolas Celier, may 2018).
“Given the market size and the maturity of the tech environment there, the US is often or should often be the first addressable market for French BtoB tech scale-ups. The economic upheaval caused by Covid-19 proved that companies that expanded in the US are more resilient. For us, US development is a key issue for most of our portfolio companies. Ring must support them efficiently with the right ecosystem based in the United States and help them succeed at this key stage of their development.” Nicolas would precisely say.
That being said, 2 questions did arise:
- What kind of challenge are the French tech companies facing when going to the US?
- What can we, Ring Capital, do to support our portfolio companies accelerate growth in the US?
As we often do when we don’t have the answer, we try and collect feedback, experience and knowledge from the members or our community. Indeed, it is composed of investors, entrepreneurs, executives and operational doers of tech companies mainly in Europe and in the US.
And we understood that one of the biggest initial issues for french scaleups’ entry in the US is opportunity cost, as companies are often unprepared for the scale of the market and sophistication of American buyers, especially in enterprise class. They typically spend their first year finding their market fit and position, understanding different buying processes and recruiting sales and marketing resources.
Knowing that, we believe that we can help the entrepreneurs we work with to save time and money. How? By getting quick access to the right expertise, ressource and networks in order to accelerate their market fit in the US. That’s why we decided to create Ring2US, the US “satellite” of the operational support program Ring2Success. In case you don’t remember :-), Ring2Success has been established in 2019 by Ring in order to provide strategic guidance and a network of experts designed to help align strategy with execution, boost impact and minimize risk. Thus, it did make a lot of sense to have a dedicated part of it for US expansion.
Last but not least, we needed to have the right person to lead this key project for Ring Capital.
Someone who shared our DNA, values and vision, with strong operational background and legitimacy when it comes to tech companies expanding to the US. Thus, we hired Bonnie Ravina as Operating Partner to build the Ring ecosystem across the Atlantic. A veteran of B2B tech, Bonnie specializes in go-to-market strategy for international companies, with a special link to France. She was a founding member of SAP team through its hypergrowth period and was responsible for the market launch of its ERP product.
A few weeks after the launch of Ring2US, it is slightly too soon to say we know how to answer our initial question. Nevertheless, thanks to a new local footprint and a great capability to bring our portfolio companies the necessary resources to expand and grow in the US, we can say we have taken a first important step towards success.
We will surely share with you our first business case within our portfolio to show you how we deal with US expansion now!