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Global angel investment trends from the eyes of VCs

Team YS
6th May 2015
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Indian startups raised more than $1.7 billion funding in the first quarter of 2015 in almost 150 deals. Earlier, it was only the southern part of San Francisco (Silicon Valley) which was considered the ‘Mecca for startups and innovation’, but the situation has changed a lot now. The decentralization of startup activities across the globe got a huge boost with the successes of companies like Alibaba (China), Flipkart, Olacabs, Zomato, and Snapdeal etc in India; and many more in Israel and South Korea and Europe.

Investors are now looking globally and are aiming to dip their toes across continents. In a recently held event, ‘Let’s Ignite’ by LetsVenture, investors from different geographies discussed the global investment trends.

‘When I had a chance to invest in Twitter’

VCs too miss great deals from time to time. So, if you’re an entrepreneur who couldn’t take the discussion with the investor further, do not lose heart. Sasha Mirchandani, MD and Founder of Kae Capital and Co-founder of Mumbai Angels, speaks about one such incident,

There is an element of luck when it comes to investing. We have missed out on a few good deals for various reasons. I had a chance to invest in twitter, but for multiple reasons, I didn’t and later did regret it when they went for an IPO.

He believes that a VC should bring value to the table and do things for startups that the founders and people appreciate.

The tech bubble and the ‘hot’ mobile

Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner of 500 Startups, stated that though some tech companies are overvalued, we’re not yet in a tech bubble. He says,

On the other side, I’ve seen a lot of disruptive ideas that are seeing industries turn their head and are valued at a fair price.

Almost all the VCs at the discussion unanimously agreed that mobile is the way to go. Its reach, capabilities and capital efficiency adds to the futuristic growth. Apart from mobile, healthcare and fintech are also being closely tracked by investors.

What works in Singapore and Japan?

Atim Kabra, Founding Partner and MD of Frontline Strategy Limited (FSL), believes that an entrepreneurs should have a long term strategy in mind while building and growing their startup. According to him,

Exit is the proof of the pudding.

He mentioned that the comparatively small and closely knit ecosystem of Singapore makes it an ideal destination for startups to setup offices and thrive. The ease in making connections also helps as everyone in the ecosystem is just two degrees (maximum) away from each other.

Hiro Mashita is the Founder and Director of M&S Partners and the guy behind almost hundred VC deals in Japan/Asia and the US over the last 10 years. He said that video related services both streaming and curation are hot segments in Japan.

The strange market of Qatar

Akshay Randeva, Director of Strategic Development at the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, said,

Even with a high pro capita income and high levels of internet penetration, not many people are open to starting up in Qatar. The ecosystem is 10-15 years behind Singapore.

Akshay shared the government’s plans to build accelerators and encourage start-ups, which is against the will of the locals at the moment. The country’s policy of minimum 51% ownership by a resident of Qatar in a company has made things even harder for foreign nationals. The legal issues too have heightened the entry barrier.

Irrespective of the country one starts their business in, it’s important to have a long term vision for your startup and keep an eye to see if you are on course. All the venture capitalists in the panel moderated by Ravi Gururaj accepted that they look to back founders who have a clear vision of their endgame, be it an exit through acquisition or an IPO.

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