Ai Ching

CEO | Piktochart

Today is the last week we have in preparation leading to our exciting trip to Silicon Valley. Piktochart has been given a full scholarship by GIST and Startup Malaysia to attend Younoodlebasecamp which spans over 28 days of intense or high touch mentoring, a lot of visits to offices around San Francisco (SF) and Silicon Valley (SV), an all-in immersion into the culture of what works/not in Silicon Valley. Although we have a good idea of what the trip entails (bootstrapping, marketing, business model, fundraising etc), we still do not have a good idea of what/who we will be meeting. Some mentions of the winners in the press: SGEnterpreneurs.

Andrea (technical co-founder) and I (business co-founder) Ai Ching, will represent Piktochart in Silicon Valley. We will be blogging and maybe even taking a couple of videos of our “adventure” in America. It is our maiden trip but it feels as though we have known America all along as the US and Canada consists of over 45% of Piktochart’s total users.

We looked up a couple of posts of what can take place when we are in the valley and one of the most helpful ones included this post by Steve Blank. He recommended applying for jobs and that that was the best way of getting into a company that would otherwise be impossible to visit from within. I did not have much time but I did apply to EventBrite (and I would be so delighted if I got through the first part of the application).

This was their rejection email to me:

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider you for our Client Services Representative opening. Your background and qualifications are impressive however your experience is not an exact match for what the team needs at this time. We appreciate your interest in Eventbrite and wish you success in your job search.”

San Francisco Map

Andrea has also done his homework by looking up some co-working spaces and managed to get Paul Bragiel from I/O Ventures to get him keys for the place the entire time we are there (thank you Paul, you are a star!). Andrea is not joining us at Younoodlebasecamp ….. he wants to meet fellow developers and we figured that the best way to do this was to go to co-working spaces. Another place he would head for would be Hacker Dojo in Mountain View.

I/O Ventures and Piktochart

And as for me, I looked up all the names of the people I admired and via cold email, Quora, LinkedIn etc, started reading up on their blogs and asking thoughtful questions or simply, “Can we have coffee some time?”. Among some of the people I have contacted already:

  • Steve Blank (a man who needs no introduction – serial entrepreneur, lecturer, author of “Four Steps to Epiphany” and general guru/mage of startups in Silicon Valley was a Pro user of Piktochart and has given us a lot of insights)
  • Pemo Theodore (media producer of many successful women entrepreneurs and has worked together with us on an infographic)
  • Get Satisfaction (one of the companies who make “conversation” natural with customers)
  • KissMetrics Office (we use Kissinsights and worship their blogs)
  • AppSumo (we have an ongoing collaboration/promotion with them)
  • Google (one of the Google Drive developers who checked out Piktochart)
  • (admire their social enterprise model!)
  • (customer support – ticket system for emails)
  • (If we can get Danielle below to say yes to coffee!)

Danielle Morill Piktochart

And then, we have a long list of startups to meet (those who have been recommended to us via an intro or another):

  • Nomiku
  • Kindara
  • Makeblock
  • Loccie
  • Shaka
  • Userzoom
  • and many more

It will be an awesome experience, we guarantee it! Meanwhile, life goes on as usual at Piktochart HQ. We have implemented a ticket system to be more efficient with enquiries and we are looking at ways to ensure that operation goes on as usual for us even while we are away. Silicon Valley, here we come!