When our company, GOSPACE, was selected to be part of Smart City Works actuation program in the US DC Metropolitan area, we knew that the opportunities would be well worth the challenges. First, it meant attending and being fully present for three intensive months of learning and growth. Furthermore, our team members had to relocate from Slovakia, and needless to say, it’s quite different than Virginia. It was not easy to take on this challenge. But now after the Spring 2018 Cohort has finished, I don’t regret even a single day spent here in the programme.

Before I go on in this blog about the program itself, I want to express my gratitude for having been a of part of it. Thanks to all of the Co-founders: Robert Mazer, Greg Sauter and David Heymen. They are filling a gap for companies like ours that need guidance in a complex field. They established and ran an excellent actuator program meant to propel the next generation of Smart Cities solutions. Their expertise and resources will certainly continue for all graduated companies, and we feel like a family now. You are doing a great job, guys!

About the program

The program covered all aspects of a successful business. We started with foundations, starting with questions such as Why You? and Why Now? We delved into Culture and Core Values and then into to nitty-gritty; Business Model Canvas; Value Proposition Analysis and other key considerations. We had very intensive Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other days were filled with important meetings, many one-to-one sessions and of course, we had time for our business development during as well.

We had the chance to meet a bunch of interesting and very experienced people from different fields that gave us lectures and presentations.

Here are some examples:

  • Financial Planning - Maria Izurieta - Creek Ventures
  • The Journey of Smart Cities - Guest Speaker - George Thomas - Hatch
  • Monetizing Infrastructure Businesses - James Walsh
  • Building a Powerful Board - Jane-Scott Cantus - Ilex Partners
  • Pricing Models - Dan Woolley
  • vWorking with Cities - Lisa Brown - Johnson Controls
  • Crafting a Great Pitch - Dan Woolley
  • Product Design - Michael Lesse - 3 Pillar
  • Personal Finances and Attracting Capital - Denis O'Sullivan
  • Venture Capital - Bill Akridge, Kiddar Capital

Also invaluable were our mentors: John Gaffigan, George Siragusa, Michele Clark, Jennifer Mathieu, Tim Myers, Dave Ihrie and Zvi Huber. Each and every one helped us to understand important segments of our business, see our gaps and offered to have them filled.

We got a lot from great networking. SCW in cooperation with CIT organized a series of great events, including the Smart City Works Infrastructure Week held in downtown DC. The ecosystem of related companies and the synergies created in this space are outstanding.

To tie it all up, we worked extensively on rehearsing our pitching - 30 Second Pitch; 3 Minute Pitches; 7 Minute Pitch with the Deck, we certainly got trained on how to answer tough questions.

Lesson learned

What we have learned is that it is not the technology or great idea that sells, but rather offering a clear solution. We have to be receptive and listen to potential customers first, and then the solution will manifest if the true need is there.

We have also realized how important it is to consider a well-rounded and polished team. The idea of building an advisory board, for example, is actually very different from what we know in Europe and thus an area we need to look into.

What we are excited about is that we see that there is lot of interest not only from potential costumers or partners (real-estate, cities and IoT, Telcos).

See what we’ve got! We are just about to be piloting with a Washington REIT, Fairfax County and T-Mobile on completely new nationwide NB-IoT!

We are also learning from potential investors that we are attractive to them because we can offer very fast ROI and a superb solution ready to hit the market.

What to do next

Our plan for the coming season is to do our due diligence and get ready for investment, which will bridge the divide between our position now and our even greater expectations. We’re in the US to scale and grow. We have great plans, a clear GTM, and it’s going to be a great ride!