Global Themes

On Globalization & Venture Capital

Why Asia, Why Now?…

Last Thursday, I made a brief presentation at the InvestorNet ICT Round Table in Copenhagen on “Why Asia and Why now?”.

The audience was a mix of European VCs (primarily from Scandinavia) and the discussion centred on what is happening in Asia and how that affects Europe’s lead in innovation and competitive edge…You can see the slides here 

The failing Incubator model…?
At the same event in the afternoon, I heard a very interesting talk by Sam K Steffensen of 5te – an incubator situated in the IT University in Copenhagen. Sam was refreshingly direct and deliberately provocative…He said that the traditional incubation model is not working and people (and policy-makers) have not woken up to the possibilities (and the reality) of an inter-connected world…

Sam went on to criticise the environment for innovation in Europe and said that if you are a start-up, it does not help to be in Europe…(I almost had a sense of deja-vu: “No longer catching up with Silicon Valley…“)

March 15th, 2007 Posted by | Conferences and Panels, Europe and Asia, Globalization, My Presentations | 5 comments


  1. Interesting post Shantanu. The simple message I get from the presentation is “invest in Asia where there is growth potential”. This is great.

    Naturally, I should ask what is Amadeus and others doing in this space? Are you guys really putting your money where your mouth is? My experience with EU VCs can be summarized with one sentence. If you are not within 20mins driving distance, don’t spend your time asking for money.


    Comment by Batu | March 15, 2007

  2. Batu,

    Thanks for the comment.

    You may also want to read this post re. your question about what other VCs are doing in this space:

    As far as Amadeus is concerned, we are certainly putting our money where our mouth is – in terms of dedicated resources to support our portfolio companies’ growth strategy and market entry in Asia.

    We are not considering any direct invetsment at this stage – for the simple reason that we still do not know enough and lot of relationhips and market knowledge needs to be in place before such a move.
    I think you will agree that long-distance early-stage investing – without a well thought out strategy – is probably the fastest way to loose money.

    Re. your general comment about European VCs, that was true traditionally but is less so these days.
    At Amadeus for example, we have investments not just in Cambridge and London but in Scotland, Ireland, and several in Scandinavia…and a small number in Israel.

    Comment by Shantanu | March 16, 2007

  3. Thanks for coming back on the issue. Living in Asia for the last three years, I should say raising money in Asia is tough. Perhaps several start ups making inroads in to Asian markets however direct venture investment to the region with the exception of China/India hubs is very very limited.

    Regardless, thanks for your kind answer.

    Comment by Batu | March 16, 2007

  4. Hi Shantanu ,
    You may like to check out this story of innovation in FMCG small Indian towns .,0002.htm

    Comment by Sandy Devgon | March 20, 2007

  5. Nice link Sandy. thanks!

    Comment by Shantanu | March 20, 2007

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