The conference today was exhausting. We get to the convention center, just get registered, barely cross the threshold of the room when we get absolutely swamped, swamped, swamped. Entrepreneurs come out of the woodwork, up through the carpets and from behind the curtains. They're brandishing their business cards and printed plans. In about 30 minutes, I go through the 100 or so business cards that I brought with me. So then I'm writing my contact info on other people's cards. Mostly they're the extra cards of the people who want my info, but I got a kick out of writing on the other cards people presented me, "Sequoia Capital, er, okay..."
Tomorrow and the next few days will be trying to filter through these opportunities as quickly as possible. Hope to find at least one gem in there.
UPDATE: Hmm, interesting stuff. Everything from inventors with ideas to private equity sized natural resource and heavy industry stuff. No super stars yet, but still taking a closer look. Lots of Internet, some cleantech, some mobile, lots of other stuff.
I'll probably be there. Drop me a line if you will too.
local then globalRishi Navani on Online Movie Rental Services and Other Investment Opportunities in India
I like Rishi's comments on focusing on success in your local market before thinking global. While many of the really big China opportunities will be in building global companies and global brands and while the internet allows you to address global markets almost right away, I think you've got to start with local success and build upon it.
This was something I felt in Brazil too.
The BRIC local markets are big enough that you should win at home first and be able to build some scale and core competencies.
Which makes me think of the recent story that Michelle Wie is planning to compete in more men's tournaments. I think the right strategy is like Tiger's, kick ass at every level before moving on.
SVP has been busy working with some new entrepreneurs on some interesting opportunities lately: vertical search, clustered search, social tagging, print-on-demand, vertical search. Ah, good ol' web 2.0. Most are pretty early. Hope to share more info (and links) soon.
In the meantime, to all of you back in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!
Ang and I have planned a last minute family gathering for lunch at our favorite place for American eats here in Shanghai, the Moon River Diner. We've happened to have their turkey feasts at friends' houses the past two years as Moon River does catering for the holidays - so I'm really looking forward to getting together with Angie's family who happen to be in town and chowing down. We're planning on getting Spence all dressed up for some pictures too. Should be a lot of fun, though working here in China, it'll be a regular work day otherwise.
I've just climbed out of the deep, dark hole that I've been in. First, two weeks in Brazil for TRIUM (woo-hoo #4), then a couple of week s of long days-late nights at work, a quick seminar to international & local b-school student, a bad cold (that's still with me, ack, ack) and all of the homework from our Brazil classes. A lot to catch up on, including family time, my term project, the remnants of my social life, oh and this blog...
I went back to catch up on their four episodes so far.
This quote from episode one, an interview with Andy Rachleff from Benchmark, keeps going through my head:
You can always hire execution, you can never hire vision.
China's start-up community is in dire need of visionaries. Way too many executors. And too often they're getting negative reinforcement from conservative investors who are looking to invest in "safe" deals with not only prototype, not only revenue traction, but sizeable profits. [Oh and there shouldn't be any competitors either]
Tangentially reminds me of the great John McKay quote. When asked about his football team's execution, he replied, "I'm in favor of it."
Angels from America
Had a few angel investors from the States fly through in recent weeks. Smart people with money to deploy but they don't see enough China deal flow to deeply understand the opportunities.
Got to thinking it would be good to put together little info trips for investors who are interested. If you are or know of anyone who's coming through or would be interested in a little tour, drop me a line.
Could start with all the Chinese-American Internet entrepreneurs who have made it big.
A new mantra I'm testing out this week is the so-called Powell Doctrine whereby you only do something if you can do it with overwhelming force. It's not complicated. Elementary actually. If you're going to commit to something make sure you use all your resources to ensure success. For me it's part of an ongoing effort to balance my
ADD multi-tasking with my ability to really focus on a single task to "overwhelming" completion.
The barriers to multinational operations have fallen such that we see start-ups of fewer than
100 50 who have cross border operations.
Not just the "office" in BVI or Cayman, but management in Silicon Valley, manufacturing in China; R&D in Texas and sales in China.
Met a banker last week who called those "mini-MNCs." Guess the name is obvious, but I like the ring of it.
Anyone familiar with this business model (i.e. Weblogs Inc, Gawker Media, etc...) see local comps here in China?