Map Data: Tel Aviv, Israel
Google Earth, Google Maxar Technologies
Jon Shaked is an Israeli senior manager with decades of engineering and leadership experience, holding degrees from The Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University. He became a senior associate to BYG Advantage in the same way that many people do: he trusted a mutual connection. In this case, it was an old business contact from Hong Kong. The idea was that since BYG Advantage has a big network of agents and potentially eventual customers, and since Jon brought his own large network of clients, they could be partners together and make referrals and help businesses enter East and Southeast Asia.
The big challenge was to find the right customer profile. Which types of companies needed BYG? If the company was too large, they likely already had a presence in China, even if through another prearranged partnership. If the company was too small, they would not be able to afford to pay a service as decorated and professional as BYG. A good deal of Israeli startup capital comes from the US, so those startups are aware of and interested in expanding into the US. Next, they typically want to enter the European Market, as it is close to Israel and can, for the most part, conduct business in English. As a result, APAC falls lower on the list – Singapore, Hong Kong, and maybe India. China is often too daunting to pursue directly. The targets that emerged were those mature enough to have a product in the market, maybe already doing well in Europe, and were now looking at APAC trying to take the first steps.
Initially, BYG faced a hurdle while working with Jon’s network of Israeli firms. BYG could be the right fit to set up a pipeline, open doors to customer decision makers, survey the market, and explore new geographical and product territory. While these capabilities are a splendid fit with the needs of the average Israeli startup, many were reluctant to surrender a retainer in addition to sales commission. This was overcome by introducing prospects to representatives from firms that had experienced success in APAC from BYG.
Jon discovered that for the customers aiming at getting established in the APAC market and finding qualified leads, BYG Advantage was a perfect fit. Jon was immediately able to find firms that achieved fantastic success through working with BYG Advantage. Cognata, a tech firm offering autonomous driving simulation software, was the first. Their VP of sales was traveling to China to explore what could be done in that market, and Jon connected him with BYG Advantage for a casual dinner. BYG was able to explain the complexity of the large and growing automotive market in China. The logic was sound, so a strategy for Cognata was developed. Cognata went on to be quite successful in China.
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