When Steve McBride landed in New York City this summer, the streets were sweltering but his schedule was decidedly cool. Despite months of attempting to book meetings via email, the VP Business Development for Weever Apps had only booked a few hot leads.

Once he was actually in the Big Apple – with help from the Canadian Digital Media Network’s (CDMN) Soft-Landing Program – McBride found that New Yorkers weren’t as frosty as he had feared.  He ended up being so busy with meetings that he never made it to the Broadway show he wanted to see.

Office picture of Weever Apps team. Robert Porter, Brian Hogg, Stuart Philp, Andrew Holden, Tim Richard, and Tom Pepper.

In fact, McBride closed deals, signed contracts, made contacts and even had to hire someone to handle a new account he landed during the trip. New York taught McBride an important lesson: That the best connections are made in person.

“It’s important to be in a different ecosystem. People like to deal local – if they don’t know you they don’t want to let you in the door,” McBride said.

Related Story: A Canadian entrepreneur in New York: tapping global markets with government help

McBride spent the week-long Soft Landing at The Yard, a shared working space in Brooklyn with a decidedly boutique feel that has become a hot location on the New York startup scene.  Housed alongside him was a company he’d been trying to connect with for months.  From a chance meeting at The Yard, Weever Apps is now working with their new client on mobile app integration.

That was just one meeting in a jam-packed week that culminated in multiple contracts, including one worth five figures with PayUsLessRX.com.

The Soft-Landing Program provides Canadian startups or SMEs that have a compelling business case to travel to an economy of interest with up to $4,000 CDN in grant money to cover travel, hotel and work space for an international market visit of up to three months. Travel is not normally a priority for bootstrapped startups, but McBride says it’s essential.

“Canada and the U.S. are very different. I learned so much. You get such a pulse of the market,” he said.

Weever Apps will continue to be busy: They have a new product in beta, are hiring new positions and are preparing to raise a round of funding. One thing is for sure, Weever Apps will be back in NYC as their market expands.

“It’s so valuable to be immersed in [the market] and get your own answers,” said McBride. “You can read reports and research all you want. Until you are there it’s not the same.”

To learn more about the CDMN Soft-Landing Program visit softlanding.cdmn.ca or contact Bob Embleton, Director Network Partnerships for CDMN, at 519-804-2980 Ext. 1056, or at bob.embleton@cdmn.ca.

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Kayleigh is a storyteller and researcher for Communitech, with a focus on sharing success stories. Born, raised and schooled in the Waterloo Region, she holds two degrees from the University of Waterloo. Kayleigh is passionate about social media, shoes and coffee.