Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 10 Trends for Startup Asia in 2012

As the 2012 calendar near a close in this Chinese Dragon year, it’s time to reflect on the top trends that defined the increasingly sophisticated Startup Asia scene over the past 12 months.

Here’s a few observations here from my many journalistic travels and interviews in China and India during 2012.

1. The rise of the serial entrepreneur. Those who struck it rich with their first startups are now going back in for another try, this time with more cash of their own and with lessons learned. It’s a phenomenon that jumpstarted Silicon Valley and has now spread to Asia’s tech hotspots.

2. The arrival of the angel investor. Serial entrepreneurs are turning to angel investing as a way to seed lots of startups. The jury is still out if these first-time investors can make good bets, but early signs indicate that they are applying their skills to this new artistry. Check out Shanghai’s AngelVest as an example of how this model works.

3. Going private. With stocks trading low, several company founders raised enough private equity finance to take their companies off US exchanges and private again. Witness Focus Media, and a lot more in the cue. When and where the companies are re-listed is a trend to watch.

4. Survival of the fittest for venture firms. Those with a good track record and investment returns raised new funds, such as GGV Capital, which raised a fourth fund. Those that couldn’t get traction have gone silent or shifted their management teams. It’s a natural weeding out of venture firms in Asia, following a pattern that happened in the U.S. a decade earlier.

Continue reading post at Click Startup Asia 2012 Trends.

5. Venture club deals. Venture capitalists are hedging their bets by grouping together and investing in deals that seemed destined to be big winners. Particularly favored are deals that have earlier angel financing say from a big name like Lei Jun.