A Business Trip to Remember: Our Journey Through the USA

Embarking on a business trip to the USA, we immersed ourselves in a whirlwind of innovation, networking, and insightful experiences that have reshaped our perspectives and broadened our horizons.

AWE: A Collaborative XR Experience

Our journey began with the Augmented World Expo (AWE), a premier event for the XR community. Although there were only a few hardware innovations shown at the event, the event was a hub of collaboration and connection.

AWE Event – After-party

We engaged with multiple members of the medical XR community and VRARA (Virtual Reality Augmented Reality Association), forming valuable partnerships with local and tech enthusiasts. The ambiance in Long Beach was refreshing, providing a perfect backdrop for these interactions.

Richard ready to present us at AWE

San Francisco: The Heart of Innovation

San Francisco was next on our itinerary. Known for its vibrant tech scene, the city did not disappoint. Our participation in the Belgian hike highlighted the strength of the local community, despite the city’s mixed reputation.

Belgians at San Francisco

The welcoming environment was palpable. We went to various events, including a pitching event of IDEO, an NVIDIA sponsored AI accelerator in the city’s Cerebral Valley. The Cerebral Valley is the centre of the AI activities in Silicon Valley, and is located in the middle of San Francisco. The event included numerous startup founders and enthusiasts, as well as industry leaders and investors. This resulted in many interesting and inspiring discussions. The vibrant activities there show that San Francisco still is on top of its game in terms of innovation, high-tech and attraction of talent. This event provided invaluable insights into the myriad opportunities still thriving in San Francisco.

Pitching event in Cerebral Valley in San Francisco

After the event, we hitched a ride with a Waymo, a fully autonomous car! The car drove without any assistance, fully autonomous to our destination. This was really an experience we could not have imagined before being here. It shows again that San Francisco is the place where new tech is implemented and tested, and people dare dream and execute far beyond what normally would be allowed.

Waymo care is riding without any driver, Richard sitting in passenger seat

A highlight of our stay was meeting with Kevin Henshaw. COO of IMVU at Stanford University, where we engaged in brainstorming sessions and business case shaping. Our time at WeWork also provided a conducive environment for collaboration and creativity, and helped setting the scene for an in-depth discussion on how to bring the new product to market.

Stanford proved to be an inspiring environment to discuss next business steps

Exploring NVIDIA

Our visit to NVIDIA was particularly inspiring. We delved into the possibilities of NVIDIA-powered software tools for creating realistic avatars. Despite being the largest company in the world, NVIDIA maintains a lean operation with a modest employee count. Holding the Blackwell chip was a momentous experience, and we look forward to exploring more opportunities with NVIDIA in the future.

Keep an eye out on our dedicated article about NVIDIA!

OneBonsai at NVIDIA HQ in Silicon Valley

New York: The Intersection of Academia and Industry

New York City offered a blend of business and pleasure. We met with preeminent universities and industry experts, expanding our network and knowledge. The breathtaking views of the cityscape enhanced our personal connections, making each interaction more memorable. The contrast with California however was big. Where San Francisco was rather open-built and relatively quiet, New York is super busy. Where California is innovative, New York is more business-like.

Our meetings with Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and BelCham , the Belgian tech transfer representatives, were invaluable. They provided a comprehensive understanding of the legal and practical aspects of doing business in the USA. Thanks to Nadia Majidizadeh and Anton Wouters for hosting us there!

OneBonsai at Flanders Invest & Trade in New York

We went to the Game for Change festival, which was filled with innovations to make a dent in the world. We met with Bernard from Previewlabs, who shared effective strategies for approaching local prospects and his inspiring story of moving to the US.

Game of Change Awards in New York

A Land of Innovation and Opportunity

One of the most striking aspects of our trip was the accessibility of the tech scene in the USA. The open atmosphere where individuals with ideas and those seeking investments converge fosters innovation. Experiencing a fully autonomous car ride was a testament to America’s leadership in technological advancements.

Coincidental interactions often led to valuable outcomes, underscoring the importance of openness and spontaneity. The USA’s all-or-nothing approach pushes people to think big and pursue ambitious goals.

Cultural Reflections

Our interactions highlighted some cultural nuances. Belgians, often described as coconuts with a hard shell and soft inside, contrast with Americans, who resemble peaches with a soft exterior and a hard core. While it is easy to form casual friendships with Americans, building deeper relationships requires more effort.

Our business trip to the USA was a journey of discovery, innovation, and connection. From the collaborative spirit at AWE to the cutting-edge discussions in San Francisco and New York, we have gained invaluable insights and formed lasting partnerships. The experience has reaffirmed our belief in the power of open collaboration and the boundless potential of the tech industry. As we move forward, we carry the lessons and connections from this incredible journey, eager to apply them in our future (US) endeavors.