Recent Blogs

GITEX Global 2023 – Dubai World Trade Centre

Report on Gitex Global, Dubai World Trade Centre 2023

By Patrick Kedziora, Sophia Business Angels (Nice, France) Board Member and Deal Flow Director

If you’ve ever seen pictures of the Dubai skyline or a picture of the Burj Khalifa (the world’s largest building), being there in person is the difference between looking at a picture of a chocolate mousse and actually tasting it. It’s absolutely fantastic.

A contingent of SBA members were recently invited to attend Expand North Star (the biggest startup event I’ve ever seen) and GITEX( The world’s largest tech show) in Dubai.

Our focus was on Expand North Star as this is a global meetup for startups from around the world – not just the MENA region. And, wow, there were 1,000s of startups spread over 9 very large tents. I did manage to do all the tents, but I focused on tents 1-6 which were early-stage companies. There were some hiccups in setting up meetings with startups that interested us (something I hope will be fixed next year) but that didn’t stop me from literally going up and down the aisles looking for something of interest. I spoke to over 30 startups from Sri Lanka, Australia, the US, Iran, UAE, Tunisia, Turkiye (the new name for Turkey, in case you missed the announcement), and many others. As with most events like these, it’s about panning for gold but in several days you can quickly identify the few that merit following up with.

I also went to GITEX and what can I say? It was overwhelming! There were so many vendors with each trying to outdo the other in the sheer pizazz of their extra-extra-large booths. These were the big tech players in the world where all the startups hope to one day be.

The entire thing was a mix of east, west, north, and south all meeting each other. The most memorable thing I saw was a woman wearing a niqab doing a demo of a tech product to a man dressed in a white thawb – and he was paying attention and they were having a real dialogue. Times have indeed changed.

We also got lots of chances to network with investors from around the world in the Investor’s Lounge and were treated to some spectacular events like a ride on a yacht which gave us great views of the skyline and we were treated to a pool party on the top floor of one of the hotels which has breathtaking views of Dubai.

Certainly, the Sophia Business Angels dinner on the last night overlooking the Burj Khalifa was a high point.

I hope to attend again next year as this truly is an opportunity to help grow the global entrepreneurial ecosystem and to find those nuggets that might turn into unicorns.

See you all in 2024!





I have to admit that I struggled long and hard to come up with the most boring title I could think of for this blog. The other choices were What to Do and What Not to Do After You Close Your Funding Round, Quick Ways to Tell Your Investors to F’Off and Don’t Bother Me, I Don’t Care About You Anymore.

As an entrepreneur, I know how difficult it is to switch from running your business to having to speak to or write to investors. Sure, you are all over them when you need their money, and you jump on calls with them on a minute’s notice. But, once you have their money you go back to just running the business. It’s not that you don’t care about them it’s just that you need to focus on the business. The point is, once you have investors, they are just as important as customers – they are your leads (hopefully) for more customer introductions, introductions to other investors and perhaps most critical of all a source of sage advice and counsel.

But, you say “I don’t have the time”. I understand, it seems like a huge effort to switch from “customer building mode” to “investor hand-holding mode”. So here are some tips for entrepreneurs on how to have your cake and eat it too.

Just send out a short email every month giving your investors the following numbers from the last month. Make it a template so that you or an assistant just need to update the email with the new numbers. Or think about a WhatsApp group instead of email – I find it must more immediate. Just list the following information:

  • Sales for the month (highlight anything unusual and explain it)
  • Expenses for the month (highlight anything unusual and explain it)
  • Cash in the bank at the start of the month
  • Cash in the bank at the end of the month
  • Current burn rate if different from your expenses
  • Number of months left before you are out of money (a. if no new money comes in and b. if revenues/profits continue coming in).
  • Add a few key KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you use to manage the business. I do hope you have KPIs. For example: number of new customers, % recurring revenue, or month-to-month growth rate in users. Anything that gives a sense of the heartbeat of your business and how well or bad it is doing.

Send this short summary to investors no later than the 10th of the month. That’s plenty of time to get your numbers. If you can do it in 5 days even better. As CEO you should require this information EVERY DAY! You can’t afford to wait 1, 5 or 10 days to find out you are running out of cash. So having the numbers is good business and sharing the numbers quickly is also good business.

Add a sentence or two of editorial; something like “terrible month, lost a major deal due to a customer going bust. As a result we are …”, or “New version released, Month to Month growth up 26%”. Tell a story.

TELL THE TRUTH. DON’T HIDE BAD NEWS: it eventually comes out and when it does investors will say “why didn’t you tell us sooner and they will hold it against you”. Why? Because investors have seen startups stumble, fall and almost die and the sooner they know something is wrong the sooner they can jump in to help with advice, money or introductions. Don’t be a fool and think you can fix it alone. That’s the reason you took investor money in the first place – not just for their money I hope but also for their expertise. And, if you did take dumb money then its double important that you give them the bad news as soon as possible as they are likely to have the most emotional reaction with the least amount of valuable advice and it’s best to get them working with you rather than against you.

And remember, the top three reasons a startup fails are: 1. no one wants to buy what you are selling (no MVP), 2. your team sucks and 3. you ran out of cash. But for me, if you find yourself in the first case and/or in the third case it’s simply because of number 2. In short, you’re the problem.

Good luck, live long and prosper.

10 Things You Need TO DO Before Taking Your Business To America – PART 2 of 2

  1. You don’t need to speak English perfectly, but you do need to be able to communicate and get your ideas across like an American: directly, to the point and succinctly. Americans don’t like long winded arguments about why they should buy something from you, they just want the facts. If they’re interested they’ll ask questions or you can go into more details once they’ve indicated they’re interested.
  2. Make sure you and your team keep American hours. Make sure you’re available, at least most of the time, your customers are awake. And, don’t forget to be available on weekends (Saturday but not Sunday) and DO be available when you go on vacation!
  3. Make sure all of your marketing materials (and that means your website, business cards, brochures, and I mean absolutely everything) are in English and that preferably the first thing visitors see when they come to your website is English. While you’re at it, you should get a .com website and don’t forget to get a US phone number which you can get from Skype or from Google Fi. Of course, this will vary depending on your industry but generally it will be better to look as local as possible.
  4. Study your market. Know it. Know the customers. Do your homework. You can’t arrive in America and start discovering it when you arrive (although you will), you need to arrive with a strong base of knowledge so that your American customers will rapidly get comfortable with you, and you with them.
  5. Price everything in dollars. Make it easy for your customers.
  6. Answer your phone on the first or second ring. Answer emails immediately and if you can’t answer right away send them a note saying when you’ll get back to them. Give them your cell phone number and don’t be surprised if they call you on a Saturday.
  7. Get yourself a good attorney and accountant and expect to pay a lot more than in your home country – about 6 to 9x more. It’s not that America has complicated laws and accounting (every country’s laws and accounting can be complicated), it’s just that you’re going to have lots of questions and you’ll need someone to answer them for you. Before, speaking to any though, spend a bit of time on the web reading as much as you can about tax and accounting issues, it will be a better use of your time and much cheaper.
  8. Make yourself a budget. How much are you going to invest in this idea of Taking Your Business to America?
  9. Be fast, plan on several trips per quarter. Just going once a year isn’t expanding to a new market, it’s tourism. Okay, you say: “But we live in a COVID world”. Well, take advantage of that and Zoom constantly.
  10. And, last but not least: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. You must go “out of the building” – whether in person or on Zoom or on a social network – and you must meet your potential customers.

So, pack your bags or get your favorite chair ready for the next Zoom call. You’re going to America.



10 Things You Need TO KNOW Before Taking Your Business To America – PART 1 of 2

  1. “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” This comes from the movie The Wizard of Oz and simply means you’re not home anymore, you’re in a strange land, far away from anything you’ve ever known before.
  2. Americans are very direct. We hate wasting time, especially if it’s business. Sure, there are always situations where a little bit of “getting to you know talk” is good but within a few minutes one dives right in.
  3. Americans are being sold to thousands of times a day – on TV (TV shows in America have commercials every 15-20 minutes), on the radio, in magazines, everywhere. They’re used to someone selling them something. That means they’re used to making a quick evaluation too. So, when selling to Americans, start with the end. Tell them what the problem is that you solve, explain your solution, and tell them the benefits. Do this briefly! And, then you can go into more detail. But, please DO NOT start with the details and if you hear the words “Get to the point” then you’d better jump to the conclusion immediately.
  4. Americans don’t care about your country, race, religion, or other attributes about you. They don’t even care if you have an accent. All they want to know is: how can we make money together. If you can’t answer that question, then you should never have left Kansas. In short, it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby – ‘cause the face of Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill.
  5. Americans like innovation. They like progress. They instinctively know that if they don’t innovate their competition will and their business will suffer. So, show them the benefit you bring them.
  6. It has become harder to get to the right executive to sell to. Getting in front of them to sell them your product is key – so you need to figure that out quickly. And, once you’re in front for them remember that they are being sold to ALL THE TIME, even in business, so remember that time is money and their time is precious. If they let you in, you had better have something good to offer them or else it will be a very short meeting. Finding and connecting with the decision-maker is very hard work. It’s all about networking whether in person or at a trade show or online so you need to make sure your networking skills are as sharp as they can be.
  7. “We don’t care about no stinkin’ badges”. You’ll need to see the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre to fully appreciate this line but in short, it means that Americans have a certain level of disrespect for authority, for rules, for precedent – you might even say for history. So, expect that and make it work to your advantage. Of course, some industries (e.g. banking) and regions are more conservative but even that is changing. But, don’t confuse breaking the rules with NOT following company policy or legal norms. Americans will follow those rules.
  8. Americans work really hard. They work long hours, staying late to finish a project is considered normal, as is going into the office on the weekend if needed and vacations are not the goal of work, rather the goal of work is advancement and more success – plus most Americans only get two weeks of vacation per year. There are some regional differences to attitude towards vacations; but when there’s a need to get something done those regional differences disappear. OK, so they work hard, so what? Well, they expect you to also. And, for you to be available all the time to answer their questions or to help them with a problem if they are your customer. So, you and your team need to be prepared.
  9. Americans love comfort. Make things easy for them. Give them a one-page summary of the pros and cons and benefits of your product or service. Give them hours when they can easily reach you even if you live on the other side of the planet. Be available when they are doing business (or at least try to be mostly available). And answer your phone and email on the weekend. It’s OK to take Sunday off.
  10. Do not talk about sex, money, politics or religion. Talk about sports (know the local team). And if they say something “funny” about your country, just shrug it off. Don’t say something “funny” about America – that’s not considered funny.

So go ahead and click your heels three times – it’s one of the most famous lines from that classic American film The Wizard of Oz –  and say “There’s no place like home and you’ll be there”. Because America can truly be a magical place where fortune and perhaps fame can be yours but you’ve got to try!

How to Steal Like Steve Jobs – A Presentation In English

This is a slightly longer presentation of How To Steal Like Steve Jobs, this time in English, that I made at the World Business Angels Investment Forum conference in Istanbul in 2019.

Please share this and drop me a line.


Many thanks go out to the folks who’ve done similar presentation who inspired me to spread the word that “the more things change the more they remain the same”.

How to Steal Like Steve Jobs – A Presentation In French

Here’s a fifteen-minute presentation on How to Steal Like Steve Jobs that I did in French for one of the local entrepreneur groups in Sophia-Antipolis, a large tech park near Nice, France. It’s a very condensed part of a full-day workshop I do on “stealing” like Picasso and Steve Jobs to come up with the next unicorn and come up with winning products, services and designs.

Please share this and drop me a line.

This video is in French (I speak both English and French with native fluency). I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to record myself doing this presentation in English (I have, I just haven’t recorded it), and when I do I’ll post it.

[Now available in English at]



Many thanks go out to the folks who’ve done similar presentation who inspired me to spread the word that “the more things change the more they remain the same”.

How to Pick Winning Startup Teams

Here’s a thirty-minute presentation on How to Pick Winning Startup Tech Teams I recently did for a room full of Russian angel investors at the annual Volga Angels conference in Samara, Russia (that’s where the Russians build their rockets) in September 2018. This was my first time in Russia and I also did one of my one-day entrepreneurship seminars at Samara State University – there really were some very fundable ideas in that group!

Please do share this and please do let people know where it came from. Thanks!

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation with extensive notes:


Global Entrepreneurship – The Importance of a second language as long as it’s English.

Absolutely nothing prevents you from doing business on a global scale if you only speak one language… as long as the one language you speak is English.

And, yes I can understand if you’re upset that you have to learn a foreign language when you have one that is perfectly suited to you. And, sure English is historically seen as the language of colonists and imperialists. And, perhaps that explains it’s pervasiveness. But, you can’t deny that it is what it is and that you can choose to either accept it or not.

I write this, not for the millions of people who already speak English as a second language (ESL); but for entrepreneurs who aspire to think and act globally and struggle with English.

I started a company several years ago called Kedzoh [] with the idea of being a global company from day one. We won a major innovation award called Startup Chile and then won another innovation award called Startup Brazil and then won yet another award called French Tech Ticket. In fact, winning those three awards is how we bootstrapped ourselves with $250,000 of equity-free money. (And that will be a subject of a number of blog posts in the future so keep your eyes out for them.) But, for now, let’s stay focused on the importance English. What did these three programs have in common? Well, all three required that you fill in the application in English and not their home language.

Winning those awards also meant that I moved to Chile for six months which turned into two years and then moved to Brazil for one year and then moved to France – the things you’ll do for free money. In Chile they speak Spanish, which I could get by in when I arrived and in Brazil they speak Portuguese which I did not speak when I arrived. And yet, in both countries, I was able to work with teams of local talent – developers, designers, and salespeople. By this point, I’m sure you’ve guessed that the common language we all used was English. So, for a global, team English is an absolute must.

You’re also probably wondering about French since we won French Tech Ticket. Well, I’m fortunate, I grew up in New York City but always spoke French at home so I ended up speaking both languages with native fluency. The issue in France wasn’t about language but more about culture. But, that will be the topic for another blog.

But what about selling your product or service to clients? Truth be told, I plunged ahead in both Spanish and Portuguese, even though I was no expert in those languages at the time. What convinced potential customers was the fact that 1) I made the effort to speak their language and 2) my enthusiasm for what I was selling was contagious. So yes, speak English but if you only speak English PLEASE make the effort to learn at least some of the local language you’re selling in. Your customers and team members will greatly appreciate it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, the fact that you’re sincerely trying to make the effort means a great deal to people. So, JFDI.

And, as to which language I speak in most countries. It’s mostly English. It’s the one language I have in common with clients around the world and with team members around the world.

But, it’s what I call international English; which means that people may use certain words which are slightly different in their usage than in the US. And, that’s where speaking another language helps in ‘speaking” International English. By being aware of the subtle differences that an English word might have. By not using jargon or euphemisms that will be lost to someone who didn’t grow up in New York City – for example: saying to your team “let’s hit this one out of the ballpark”.

And, perhaps most importantly, grammar is not the most important thing when speaking English it’s whether or not you can be understood. By that, I mean, your accent. Is it so thick that people can’t understand the words you are speaking?  It won’t matter a bit if you speak perfect English if the words you say are simply indecipherable. It’s better that you speak with a light accent (we all have accents, even I do), that you ARTICULATE your words and that you are understood. Speak slowly. Pronounce each word. Communicating is not a speed contest. What matters most is that your listener understands you.

Therefore, If you’re embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, I hope you’ll have your sights set on conquering the world – with clients, investors, and team members. So, I recommend that if you are to have one skill it should be the ability to communicate with the largest number of people possible on the planet and the only way to do that is to speak English. It’s simple, make English among the first skills in the 101 skills of an entrepreneur you’ll need. zzz link.

So, bon voyage, buen viaje, boa viagem, and have a nice trip.

How to Build a Pitch Deck – How to Pitch

Here’s a one-hour – Building a Pitch Deck and How to Pitch – presentation I had the honor of doing recently for The Next Society to a room full of entrepreneurs from the MENA region. And, I did this in Milan, Italy which I think is cool as I’m living in Nice, France; and was born in Paris, and grew up and lived most of my life in New York City. It was a real spaghetti bowl of nationalities and stories.

I Hope you enjoy it. Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

And here’s the actual deck from the presentation:

Patrick KEDZIORA – how to build a pitch deck – how to pitch – presentation online

Was Shakespeare an Entrepreneur?

The meaning of words evolve over time. For example, in 1828 England the word “Entrepreneur” was defined as a “manager or promoter of a theatrical production”.

I think this is an excellent bookend to the French definition of Entrepreneur… “one who undertakes or gets things done“.

You can easily think of a startup as a theatrical production. There’s you – the CEO or theatrical manager – there’s your team or your actors, your stage or your infrastructure, your lighting or marketing materials, your script or product/service/code. And, you as the theatrical manager have to bring all the pieces together and promote your play or startup so all the seats in the theater are filled every night.

Moreover, plays are much more similar to startups than you might think. Most plays don’t start as finished products. Most undergo rewrites and improvements. In fact, many don’t even start on Broadway, they start off-Broadway; often in a small town where the play is refined, feedback is sought from customers and critics, and adjustments are made until a final play – or Minimum Viable Product – is refined until it’s ready to move out of Beta and become a full-fledged product ready to be released to the public. In fact, plays will even have scenes and acts change once they ‘ve launched on Broadway.

But with a startup this entire process is speeded up. With a startup you’ve generally only written the first act of the play while you’re promoting the play to fill the house, and as the play is being performed you’re busy writing the other acts of the play while continuing to sell seats to tomorrows performance. And then, the whole things starts all over again the next night.

So what does this have to do with Shakespeare (1564- 1616)?

Well, besides, being a playwright, poet and actor he was also a theatre entrepreneur and part-owner of a playing company, known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, biographers have traditionally described him as not only writing his plays but also concerned about the business and financial affairs of his company and that he “continued to act in various parts, such as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, Adam in As You Like It, and the Chorus in Henry V.” (

Indeed, the 101 hats of an entrepreneur.