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Monday, January 12, 2009

International Venture Capital Sources Outside Of The US

A significant portion of my blog community is outside of the US. This community has asked me to help them identify where they can find sources of capital for their new ventures. The following is a list of international venture sources I have researched. I have categorized them based on region and country.

In some cases I have interacted with these references. Many of them I have researched for my own fund raising efforts. Some of them have been referred to me by blog participants and other VC's.

The identification of these companies as funding sources does not mean I do or do not endorse them. An entrepreneur should always do their own due diligence on a potential funding source. I am technology centric so many of these sources fund tech companies. If this is not your category a further search is in order. Check out a company's portfolio and see if there are companies that are in the same category as your venture. Check references on any venture firm if you get serious about them. Always get advice from a number of different respected individuals before progressing to a term sheet.

Venture capitalists do fund companies outside their domiciled region. There is certainly a bias towards local companies. However, if an idea, team, product or strategy is attractive to them they will invest in a company that is not located in their country. So do not limit your inquiries to only firms in your region or country.

If you do decide to engage with a VC from another region and culture be cognizant that different cultures have different ways of communicating and doing business. Do your homework before you engage a group outside of your cultural milieu. You want to avoid making mistakes in communication or expectation setting.

The biggest following I have outside of North America is from the Asia Pacific region. This is a geographically, politically, developmentally and culturally diverse region. There are many VC's in this region. My selections are based on references, direct contact and my own research.

Singapore is an interesting region for a couple of reasons. Singapore has a pan Asian investment strategy investing in countries throughout Asia. The VC firms are typically affiliated with the Singapore government chartered with maintaining a regional technological lead. Investments are also expected to benefit the Singapore society and economy.

Sirius Venture Consulting
Sirius is an early angel/seed round funding source. I mention them first because many of my blog participants are looking for that first institutional investment. Sirius might be able to help you.

Infocomm Investments
Infocomm does invest in early stage companies but they also invest in subsequent rounds as well. They do require a co-investor to participate. So, this would not be your sole source of capital. A company like Sirius could become your other co-investor.

Australia/New Zealand
I get the sense that there are not many funding options for entrepreneurs in Australia. Not sure why this is given their interest in technology. I have identified a firm that can help.

Technology Venture Partners
I know a well respected colleague that is a partner at this firm. I also know that they strictly invest in Australian and New Zealand ventures. If you are down under and your are in the technology space I suggest you contact them.

India is a source for a major portion of my Asian blog traffic. India's emergence as a technology leader has also brought about the need for funding new and emerging companies. Many US VC's are active in India along with local VC outfits.

Sequoia Capital India
I use Sequoia as an example of a US VC firm actively funding Indian based ventures. They are the granddaddy of VC's and perhaps a VC with one of the largest funding source. I suspect that they are not investing in many seed rounds. If you are in the official A round category and technology focused you might want to contact them. Also, even if they do not fund your seed round they may refer you to a fund that can. If you do see early success they may be a source for a second or third round of funding.

ICICI Venture
Helion Venture Partners
I do not know much about these funds. I did some research on them based on size, portfolio and focus. The appear to be respected firms They look like good sources of seed funding.

I have seen some interesting ideas for products and companies out of the Philippines. I have considered sending them off to some US VC's but did not know of any that invest in this area. It appears that the Philippine government has also identified this as an issue. The article below is a proposal by the Philippine government to start funding startups. I do not know where this legislation stands. In the meantime I suggest the Philippine entrepreneur community visit the Singapore VC sites and see if they are interested in investing.

Lawmaker proposes RP venture capital fund for tech startups in the Philippines.
This is the article I recently found on the Philippine governments proposed legislation to fund Philippine based Startups.

There is certainly a robust venture community in Japan. I have identified two venture sources that have English and Japanese translated web sites.

Aozora Investments
I personally have not used these firms so please check their references before proceeding.

I have specifically chosen Hong Kong based venture firms. These sites have English and Chinese web sites. Hong Kong to a certain degree competes with Singapore in funding Asian based companies. However, the emphasis is not on technology.

Beijing Venture Capital Company
The firms I have identified do focus on technology.

In the order of interest Europe is my third largest source of inquires about raising funds. Europe like Asia is extremely diverse. However, Europe has a longer track record for venture funding and a more developed community of VC's. My research and exposure to VC's is limited to Western Europe. I am not familiar with Eastern European venture community and suggest independent research for that region.

The UK has a well developed venture community. A walk down St James Street in London will yield a plethora of VC's. However, finding technology focused funds and seed round funding could be difficult in this traditional VC environment. I have identified two organizations that are technology focused and potentially interested in funding an early stage company. They were referred to me by one of my colleagues.

Balderton Venture Capital
This is a former Benchmark subsidiary and still retains some of the bravado and aggressiveness of its US counterpart. This organizations does invest throughout Europe and has a definite internet and technology focus.

Wellington Partners
This is another referral from a US based VC. Their team looks great and they have made UK and European investments.

The vibrancy of the Irish venture capital world was brought to my attention by a blog participant. Ireland like Singapore has a government sponsored VC program. To complement this they do have several high profile private VC firms.

ACT Venture Capital
Delta Partners
These are two recommended firms that invest in technology and internet ventures. They do invest outside of Ireland.

Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland)
This region is all about mobile platform development.

If you are developing a mobile application you might consider Nordic as a source of capital.
Nordic Venture

This was a bit of a surprise to me. Italy does have VC firms.

One of my blog participants is a partner in this firm. They have made Italian and US investments.

The German VC world is not as developed as the UK. If you are in Germany you may want to contact them. Once again even if they do not invest they may refer you to a group that will.

This firm does invest in technology companies.

The French venture world is a hard to figure out. There is certainly activity but I am not sure about the role of the French government in the funding world. The following are two recommended funds.

Butler Capital Partners
Butler does not do technology ventures but is the old boy on the block. You may want to touch base with them to see how they would react to a technology play. Of course, if you are looking for money not related to technology they are a good source.

This is a technology focused French VC.

Middle East
With Israel being the big exception VC funding is not very popular in the Middle East. However, there does appear to be a move lead by Dubai to get the rest of the Middle East up and going in the VC community.

Israel is very active in funding new companies. They are a technology leader in the region and work very closely with US VC's. Some US VC's have representation in Israel.

Giza Venture Capital
Gemini Israel Funds
I picked two local VC's that are locally operated and fund technology companies.

Dubai appears to be making a move to encourage VC funding in the Middle East outside of Israel. This appears to be in its infancy.

New Enterprise East Investments
This is a Luxembourg venture firm focusing on the Middle East and Africa with special attention paid to Dubai.


There are funds that do not have any particular regional focus but do have a charter to help developing countries seed new enterprises.

Global Venture Capital
Walden International
These funds are good for startups that have few funding options locally. I have not worked with them but do recommend exploring them if your other options are not working and your business fits into their charter.

In conclusion, there are funding options for entrepreneurs outside of the US. Certain venture firms focus on regions as opposed to countries giving entrepreneurs more options and choices. I have provided a few examples of VC's. There are certainly many more. This list is not exhaustive and should be the starting point for more research of your own.

Good Luck!! Let me know how you do.

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