How to Invest and Expand in the USA

A successful expansion or relocation is all about risk reduction and customized solutions. There are many factors and considerations in play, and aligning everything to avoid setbacks and roadblocks is important.

In June, I moderated a virtual panel session entitled ‘Innovation and Opportunity in the Heart of the USA’ as part of the build-up to London Tech Week in September 2021. The session brought together several innovative leaders to discuss their experience in the heart of the USA, and to share advice on how to successfully enter the USA market. I was joined by Lisa Tamayo (CEO, Scollar), Donn Rubin (President & CEO, BioSTL), Doug Austin (Director of Product Development, EaglePicher®), and Jim McKelvey (Co-Founder, Square) to talk about the benefits they have enjoyed being in Missouri, and some considerations for businesses to move or expand to the state.

The panelists agreed that there is an abundance of partnership opportunities and a huge appetite for collaboration in Missouri, regardless of industry. There is a connected community that exists among startups, investors, and business partners, as well as a talent pool with a strong work ethic in Missouri.

At the panel session, we also touched on some considerations from the panelists leading up to their move to Missouri or entry into the USA.

One example discussed was about FinTech companies in places such as New York City and San Francisco. Consider the number of businesses there that are competing for the same space, and for the same customers. The opportunities for smaller companies to become recognized as even a medium player in their industry are slim, and getting that big break can be tough.

In states like Missouri, companies can make their investment go further when it comes to setting a physical office and paying for general cost of living. It’s also easier to meet the right people. Being home to the second-highest concentration of financial securities brokerage firms among major USA metropolitan areas, there are a lot of important people nearby. Not only will companies find it easier to engage with people, they will also be able to grow faster and be a big deal in a smaller place rather than a smaller deal in a big place.

At the panel session, the members also highlighted that the infrastructure in Missouri is one of its selling points. The culture and entertainment options are statewide, and not just in St. Louis or Kanas City. Yes, there are some world-renowned museums and championship professional sports teams in those two major cities, but there is so much more. Amazing lake lifestyles, the live music capital of the world, and hundreds of wineries, breweries and distilleries are all in Missouri. The air fare and availability of daily flights are considerations for companies where business activities such as travelling takes place often. Finding out the infrastructure available and how it supports your business needs is key.

Being in a state like Missouri can also bring further economic benefits to your organization. One of the panel members spoke about feeling unwelcomed in California due to city taxes that amounted to tens of millions of dollars. By expanding in Missouri, the company was able to spend the money they would otherwise have had to give their former home city to make their business a success.

As a conclusion to the session, the panelists emphasized the need for you to do your homework before deciding where to expand or relocate. The process of finding an ideal location will take time, and the initial investment that needs to be made to decide if a place is suitable for your company will help build confidence, familiarity and a network of community to welcome you with open arms.