Sunday, June 28, 2015

Silicon Dragon Eyes LA With Alibaba's Move To Set Up In Pasadena

Alibaba's new digs in
Pasadena
Alibaba's move into Los Angeles by leasing a 22,000 square foot office space in Pasadena’s new Playhouse Plaza signals a bigger opening of cross-border China and southern California business connections. These links are being framed around technology entrepreneurship, venture investment and nearby innovation hubs that seek to make startups more central to the city’s economic base.

This is a catch up for LA compared with its northern neighbor San Francisco. Sand Hill Road venture capitalists have long been bridged with China, and Chinese tech titans Baidu,

Alibaba, Tencent, Fosun and Renren have been setting up bases and making numerous investments in Valley startups over the past few years. But far fewer SoCal venture and tech links with China have existed.

Now a new corridor between LA and China is emerging from Silicon Beach in trendy Santa Monica to San Gabriel Valley’s Pasadena. Famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and parade, Pasadena is getting on California’s innovation hotspots map with startups from the world-renown Caltech, Idealab, the Art Center College of Design – and soon Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Silicon Dragon’s forum in LA, July 29-30, will delve into this trend of LA as a gateway city for China investment, with tech talks, venture panels and deal making at the Pasadena Convention Center, just a few blocks from Alibaba’s soon-to-open digs.
 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Silicon Dragon Dealmakers Face Beijing VC Bubble

Dealmaker panel at Silicon Dragon Beijing 2015
It’s a nerve wracking time for venture capitalists doing deals in China today. Valuations to invest in hot startups that could be the next unicorn have escalated to new heights. Yet no one wants to take a pass on a deal that just might be the next Albaba, Baidu, Tencent or Xiaomi in the world’s second-largest venture market.
The competition is fierce and the pace fast to get in. Yet experienced venture capitalists who have been through up and down cycles of the market before are taking a slightly more measured approach. A panel of venture capitalists at a recent Silicon Dragon event in Beijing said they are trimming the number of deals they’re investing in this year and being more selective about teams and business models they back.
At the same time, these venture capitalists are encouraging entrepreneurs and founders of emerging Chinese companies to take in as much capital as possible now while the boom lasts.
Keep reading at Forbes: Beijing bubble

Alibaba's Jack Ma Doesn't Sound Like a CEO In New York

If it’s true that dreams can change the world, then Jack Ma may be on to something big.
Alibaba’s founder spoke before a packed ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria at the Economic Club of New York, and told of his vision to take China’s e-commerce titan into the next decade, and even the next century as he seeks to fulfill his promise for Alibaba to last 102 years.
Not sounding like the typical American CEO of a major company, Ma wove in references to religion, politics, climate change and social good into his remarks, which were made flawlessly for more than half an hour before an audience of investors and corporate leaders who kept their smartphones clicked off to listen.
Keep reading post at Forbes: Jack Ma in NYC.
 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Renren's Pivot to Fintech Deals: Hear Joe Chen at Silicon Dragon's Beijing event May 21

The transition underway at Chinese social media company Renren underscores the fast and furious startup scene for China tech innovation and investments. Never before has the momentum been quicker or the impact deeper and wider. See Forbes post: Renren's pivot.
Renren, which started out as the Facebook of China, is pivoting now to the internet finance business and diversifying into more profitable areas with investments in such seemingly far afield areas as logistics (ie the company’s recent investment in a trucking deal).
Chairman and CEO Joe Chen says the company’s first quarter financial results — net revenues down 41 percent from a year ago with an operating loss of $26.5 million – reflect a bottoming out of Renren’s legacy business in online advertising and gaming.
As new social messaging apps such as WeChat have caught on in China, Renren has been busy investing in numerous tech startups, with as much as $500 million venture capital invested in more than 30 deals. More than half, $275 million, have been invested in the fintech space. See prior article at Forbes, Renren’s burst of deals in U.S. tech startups.
One of the more significant of those fintech investments is online lending platform SoFi, which is set to go public this year in what could be a $3.5 billion valuation. Renren has a 25 percent stake in SoFi.
Such moves are being regarded by hedge fund investors as worth watching for the upside potential.
We will learn more about Renren’s future as CEO Joe Chen speaks next Thursday, May 21, at Silicon Dragon’s Beijing event.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

London Tech Investor Amadeus Opens In India, Hires Intel VC

In a forward-thinking move, London-based Amadeus Capital Partners has set up in Bangalore and plans to soon make the fund’s first investment in a business with operations in India.
Leading the team in India is Bhavani Rana, an experienced venture and private capital investor who was until recently Investment Director at Intel Capital. Rana is a seasoned investor with 14 years of leading and managing more than $170 million of investments in 30 companies in India, the U.S. and Europe. He spent 14 years with Intel and scored several IPOs and M&A deals.
Rana said he aims to help build out India’s technology and Internet services ecosystem, which has been in catch-up mode for several years and is now growing very fast as India startups ride an improving economy and huge mobile communication markets. He will be speaking about these topics on a venture capital panel at Silicon Dragon London 2015, March 11.
Keep reading post at my Forbes column,  Amadeus Journey To India.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Guru Fixer COO Takes US Tech Startup Quixey On Fast-Track Journey to China and India

Not too many Silicon Valley tech companies are going after both the China and India markets even though that’s where the biggest opportunities exist for many tech companies going after fast growth and profitability.
One company that is ahead on this front is mobile app search engine Quixey in Mountain View. China followed by India are top priority markets for Quixey, COO Guru Gowrappan told me during an interview this week.
Already, China accounts for 50 percent of the search app’s volume and some 20 to 30 percent of revenues  — on par with the U.S. market, Gowrappan revealed. India, a market that skipped right over the desktop generation, lags on revenue so far for Quixey, but should speed up within two to three years, he added.
It helps to have a COO with international perspective and experience working with leading businesses in key global markets.
It helps to have a partner such as Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on this journey.
Continuing read post at Forbes: onforb.es/1vaVema
Quixey and other U.S. tech startups will reveal their lessons, challenges and milestones at Silicon Dragon, February 5, in Palo Alto.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Renren CEO Empire Builds Once More With Tech Startup Deals

Renren CEO Joe Chen
(Bloomberg photo)
Chinese social networking site Renren
has been making steady investments in tech startups as it seeks to broaden its revenue stream, become profitable, and boost its stock price.All of these new investments led by CEO Joseph Chen have been far afield from its core business in social networking, and most of these deals are in the U.S. Chen, throughout his entrepreneurial career, has been an empire builder, acquiring and investing in related tech startups and also divesting businesses that are not going anywhere. Renren itself was built mostly from a combination of acquired or invested in sites.
Renren plans to invest some $500 million in financial tech, and has already invested nearly half that amount, although the NYSE-listed company is investing in other tech areas, too.
Chen’s latest investment in San Mateo-based stock trading site Motif is one in a series of those bets on financial tech. In mid-January 2015, Renren led a $40 million financing for the four-year old Motif, which has raised some $120 million from Ignition Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Foundation Capital.
A look at earlier tech startup investments made by Renren include:
Keep reading post at Forbes:
onforb.es/1usohMe