The challenges of being startup from unrecognized countries

  • October 23, 2019

Over the past years I have been attending a number of conferences, training’s, programs and scholarships, even before I co-founded my own Cyber Security and Privacy community in Kosovo, we hosted international conferences, tens of workshops ranked as TOP 5 cyber conferences that must be attended in Europe (EC-COUNCIL). I used to meet tons of people worldwide, I remember those busy B2B conferences where for two days you receive more than 350 business cards, when you go back to them for follow-ups, you don’t even remember what you talked with whom. That’s why I used to put my profile picture on business card 😉

In 80% of cases when I started pitching/presenting my idea, usually should be at max. 60 seconds presentation, it goes like: 

Me: We are Kosovo based startup(looking their face)…hmm…I got. 

Me: Do you know where Kosovo is located?


Me: OK, then after I spend few second for brief introduction of Kosovo, neighbor countries and potential.

The farther you go, the less you are know!

It’s not about that I don’t want to present my country, I love it, I do it with the full pleasure, cause at least if I don’t get any feedback from those connections, they learned about new country that is running pretty good somewhere in Europe.

But my concern is about TRUST, if someone would like to work with you is because they trust you. If someone would be interested to invest on you, they need to believe on your idea, trust on you team, your traction’s, where you are running, country of origin and it’s perception. It’s huge barrier when they don’t even know if your country is somewhere in the map.

Our startup nature is even more complex, we are cyber security startup and our approach involves trusted and skilled security researchers worldwide to help smart companies identify and close their security gabs. So we must be so TRUSTED to provide TRUST to our clients, Yep TRUST is the key.

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For next ones I meet, a few words for Kosovo and business environment there.

Republic of Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe that has great potential in Technology and Innovation. We have a number of successful startups in Kosovo with international growth. It is located in Southeast Europe, respectively in the Western Balkan countries. It declared independence in February 2008, and the government’s strategy for the coming years is investing in Technology. Has been done such a great job with communities, associations and the Innovation Center in Kosovo that it is bringing ideas to reality. If you heard of Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha their roots are in Kosovo. For more of it’s beauties find

Kosovo based startups and success stories headed by Mergim Cahani is Kosovo based startup, Netflix, Google and much more for Albanian speaking countries. They have proven to be a viable startup and have raised funds up to 10 million.. It was hard for Mergim, and even harder being the first one to build trust between international investors and ‘unknown’ country.

An interesting case when it wasn’t necessary to go through country presentation, proudly is when I met one of Gjirafa’s partner in Warsaw, presenting in Wolves Summit conference. During the conversation he stated that invested on Kosovo based startup, and He was fascinated with Mergim and his passion, as hard worker and well formed person.

The story he shared with me, I would like to share with you, if it’s not true, correct me: It was Mergim’s fiancée birthday, that time when Gjirafa launched the online store, delivering products to the home. There was some failure on delivering the product to some of the customer, and the client started complaining on it, it was during weekends and the founder the night he planned to go out for important dinner, drove his vehicle for 150km back and forth to deliver customer order. The partner was so exited while telling the story, Mergim builded bridge of trust with consumers and partners. Respect! is the also fast growing startup that aim to connect 12 million Albanians worldwide help, do business and share love with each other., Formon, Solaborate and tens of other companies..mention them on comment if I missed any.

Greetings from ARIZONA