From Lithuania to California: Seven Eye-Opening Lessons on Breaking into the US Startup Scene

From Lithuania to California: Seven Eye-Opening Lessons on Breaking into the US Startup Scene

Arturas AsakaviciusRaimonds Kulbergs
Date published
April 6, 2023

Table of contents

Hi, founder! 👋 At, our focus is on post-MVP startups with roots in CEE and global expansion plans so when it came to making our very first investment decision, backing Breezit - a SaaS-enabled marketplace revolutionizing the private event industry - was a no-brainer. I will not copy the entire Linkedin post explaining why we were excited at the time here, but it essentially boiled down to this:

  • A space we’re comfortable advising on, ie, B2B SaaS or marketplace ✅
  • Big market potential - $1T ✅
  • Competitive advantage in distribution - focus on product-led growth and growth loops ✅
  • Battle-tested founders either from or with roots in CEE ✅
  • Global ambition, ideally with US as the target market ✅ (more on that below 👇)

Seven lessons learnt

After dominating the event planning market in Lithuania within two years, Breezit set its sights on Southern California, and Feb ‘23 marked their first paying US customers. Reflecting on their journey, CEO Artūras Asakavičius shared these 7️⃣ lessons they learnt along the way and kindly let us share them:

1️⃣ US users are on it, literally

Unlike in Lithuania, US customers tend to stick to using the platform for contacting vendors, rather than attempting to transact outside of it. It was much easier for us to show the product value in the US compared to Lithuania.

2️⃣ But US users are more reluctant to sign up in the first place

US customers show a strong aversion to signing up on platforms. To address this, Breezit adapted its product by making all features available without registration and finding alternative methods for capturing customer emails.

3️⃣ US users are spoiled: delivering exceptional UX is key

High competition in the US market means customers expect exceptional UX and a wide service selection. Breezit had to up its game, as the strong engagement in Lithuania didn't automatically transfer to the US market.

4️⃣ US customers are more savvy with analytics

US vendors are more sophisticated in calculating conversions, unlike Lithuanian vendors who rely more on intuition. Budget planning is very strict and we had to time our sales based on budgeting periods.

5️⃣ US outbound sales is a struggle

US outbound sales are significantly more challenging due to advanced spam-blocking techniques. Breezit had to overcome flagged numbers and explore innovative ways to reach potential customers.

6️⃣ Don’t skip product localization

A crucial aspect of scaling a startup internationally is understanding the importance of product localization. Initially, we didn't fully grasp the significance of having at least one local team member. Fortunately, the required localizations for the US market were minimal, and only 5% of the code ended up needing alterations.

7️⃣ US customers share are direct with feedback

US customers readily share their dislikes about competitors and suggest improvements, making it easier for Breezit to build a better product. In contrast, Lithuanian vendors tend to be less forthcoming with honest feedback.

In a nutshell, Breezit's journey conquering the US so far teaches us to adapt and embrace the local scene. Think of it as dancing with a new partner – pay attention, adjust, and use feedback to your advantage. So, ready to take your startup global? Dive in and make waves!

Thanks for these insights, Artūras. Good things come in pairs sevens 🎰, hopefully these will come in handy to you as well!

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