Communitech photo: Anthony ReinhartTulip Retail and Voices.com take on NYC with a little help from their friends Chris Plunkett May 29, 2015 Featured, News, Small to Mid Size, Startups Like most Canadian entrepreneurs, Ali Asaria, CEO of Tulip Retail, and David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, knew they would need to expand sales in the American market in order to scale their companies. Given its proximity and huge customer base, New York City was the logical place to start. “Tulip sells retail technology to brands and retailers,” said Asaria, “and there is arguably no better cluster of these businesses in the world than in New York.” While both companies were already growing quickly, New York was a tough market to penetrate from Canada. As Ciccarelli noted, “New Yorkers do business with New Yorkers.” To overcome this obstacle, both companies received funding from the CDMN Soft Landing Program to attend the Canadian Technology Accelerator in New York City (CTA@NYC). Run by the Canadian Consulate General, the program is designed to help Canadian companies enter the New York market. The CTA@NYC was launched in February of 2012, and has helped 66 companies find customers or investors. While there were a number of notable successes over the first two years (including helping 19 companies find almost $40 million in investment), the CTA@NYC followed a path familiar to many startups and decided to pivot this past year. This meant focusing on fewer companies that already had a solid product and revenues of at least $1 million, and who could afford to stay in New York for an intense half year of acceleration. It also meant bringing in more private-sector partners, like Pierre-Georges Roy, now the Senior Advisor to the CTA@NYC, who had extensive experience with tech companies in New York. “The results have been encouraging” said Roy, “especially as regards this cohort, which has seen some of its participants attain double-digit percentage revenue growth.” For Tulip Retail, this has meant setting up dozens of meetings with New York-based retailers, speaking at conferences and working on closing several medium and large deals. “I think we’ve matured more quickly in these past few months than at any other period in our business life because of the regular feedback we’re receiving from the market, who are some of the best brands in the world,” said Asaria, adding that Tulip’s next step is to plan a permanent office in New York. Voices.com also found success on the ground in New York. “Within the first 60 days of our being here, we experienced tremendous success translating to $100,000 in sales from the New York market,” said Ciccarelli. This exceeded not only their expectations, but the ambitious goals they set as part of the program’s onboarding process. For Roy, success comes from getting companies out of their comfort zone, and convincing them to go big. “(Companies in the program) learn how to run business development in New York, one of the most difficult markets in which to sell due to its competitiveness and lack of empathy for small vendors. But the greater New York area is a $1.75-trillion market and the seat of 200 of the Fortune 500 companies. So it is arguably the most important international market for most if not all Canadian tech companies with a B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model.” For other Canadian companies wishing to follow in the path of Tulip Retail and Voices.com, there are a couple of weeks left to apply to the next cohort, which is open until June 14.