Founded by Jack Ma in China in 1999 to becoming the largest IPO in U.S. history, Alibaba represents one of the most compelling tales of a Asia based start-up that has had a significant impact on the U.S. market. However, U.S. based tech startups continue to be the dominant source of disruptive technology for global markets. Perhaps surprising to many, early adopters of newer technologies typically have not been U.S. or Europe based companies, but rather larger Asian multinational companies, specifically ones that are located in Japan, Korea, and China. Such cross-border synergies have enabled U.S.-based start-ups to hit scale they would not have otherwise been able to achieve had they followed solely a domestic sales strategy. Of course, navigating through the Asian markets typically represents a choppy and uneven exercise given significant cultural, business, and regulatory barriers. Palo Alto based Translink Capital employs a very unique strategy investing in and assisting U.S. based start-up that view the Asian markets as a potential core building block for expansion. Below is a transcription of my conversation with Toshi Otani, founding partner of Translink Capital, on how he and the Translink team view opportunities that U.S. companies have within the Asian market (or in some cases, when to steer clear). What was the gap you were looking to fill when you and the team launched Translink Capital? We formally launched Translink Capital in 2007. Our founding team was very close as we had known each other for a decade-plus. Most of our team had worked within corporate venture arms of Samsung, Mitsubishi, and UMC, where we were focused on making strategic investments here in the valley. There are clear benefits of corporate venture capital with regard to the unique in-house insights that can be provided along with the high-level connections. Of course, there are some cons to taking strategic capital as many strategic investments come with some strings attached. We saw an opportunity to expand upon the benefits and shed most, if not all of the red tape of the corporate venture model. We also saw the Asian markets as game changing for many companies here in the valley. That was really the genesis of Translink, which is a hybrid between a strategic investor and a VC firm with a focus of providing portfolio companies guidance and access to the robust Asian markets. Tell us a bit more about how you help companies that are viewing the Asian markets as a core growth strategy. First, we created an ecosystem of the 20 of the biggest corporations in Asia, and we have strategic LP’s all over Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Second, we have a unique process where we will do business...Read More
Month: November 2014
Should your growth efforts include Asia? Through the eyes of Translink Capital.
Posted by samir.kaji on Nov 12, 2014 | 0 comments