Hello World!

Estimated reading time 4 minutes

Hello, World!  Well, here I go, stepping into the blogosphere with my first blog post.  First and foremost, let me tip my hat to some of the blogs that have served as an inspiration for me to start blogging.

Folks, as this is my first attempt in writing/blogging I do expect a skewed ratio of brickbats to bouquets…but will certainly appreciate feedback to help me walk the unbeaten path.

Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on the ‘risk’ perceptions and opportunities associated with the BIM (Brazil, India and Mexico) markets.

A key assumption at BlackstoneValleyGroup supported by internal data (that is what my research team says) is the premise that the BIM markets will exhibit sustainable growth for the next 10-15 years and we are putting our money where our mouth is.

Risk :
During chats with my fellow Angel/VC brethren especially those with the same global investing mantra, I discovered a common them when it came to the term ‘risk’ for the BIM markets opportunities.

There are wide arrays of assumptions & beliefs in understanding the ‘risk’ of investing in BIM markets startups/early stage companies but even with the breadth of assumptions the ‘risk premiums’ associated with investing in these markets was unusually high.

I am not talking about the pure risk of investing in a venture….but referring to the ‘Macro and Soft’ risks in these markets which lead to very high ‘risk’premiums.

The 30,000 ft ‘risk’ view for the BIM market opportunities –is that the risk of investing in a startup from these markets gets compounded by ‘Macro’ elements such as

  1. Slow evolution of Govt Policies,
  2. Bloated bureaucracy,
  3. Currency risk,
  4. Weak infrastructure,
  5. A creaky system of property rights,
  6. Weak IP/copyright/trademark protection

Now if you add ‘Soft risks’ such as barriers of culture, custom and language – it is indeed a small wonder how ventures even get funded in these markets.

However if you look under the hood at the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the BIM countries – have those ‘risks’ prevented or stopped the entrepreneur segments present in the different strata – from functioning or growing?

The entrepreneurial segment that was active in Pre-Liberalization/Globalization era (pre-historic times for my young readers – 1990s/2000s) from- street vendors to widget makers to traders is now getting a second generational push as tech entrepreneurs and service providers across education, technology, healthcare, real estate verticals. This second /third generational push is creating a thriving and sustainable eco-system with diversity and depth never seen before.

The ‘risks’ have not changed but with the new gen entrepreneurs being forced to deal with global competitors on their home turf it has driven them to find solutions and workarounds to adapt and mitigate the same risk subsets – ‘Macro’ and ‘Soft’ , which have been and are  primarily ‘internal’ to them.

So what am I trying to say?

The first step of the entrepreneur funding lifecycle from Boston to Bangalore to Brasilia is to rely on savings, friends and family to bootstrap and start.

We are also aware that there is a high probability of he/she running out of money before they can scale and this ratio is high in BIM countries versus let say USA.

A typical predisposition for the traditional sources of capital in BIM countries (such as banks, financial institutions, Govt  etc) is that distribution of funds ONLY happens if they are asset backed (i.e. collaterialized) or if the funds are distributed by way of debt/loan.

The newer and non-traditional sources of funding – local Angel Investors/Seed Investors – have just started to find their feet and are scared and scarred in certain cases to open their money chests. The high ‘risk’ premiums make these less attractive to the Angel/VC community here.

There is huge chasm between the funding needs of the entrepreneur community in the BIM markets and the ability of the traditional/new funding sources to bridge the divide. Even if we associate a ‘high risk’ premium with these investments – a first mover’s advantage should be a key motivator to have a fresh look at the ‘risk’ perception in these markets.

So to the tired weary eyes and still scratching their heads reader – I appreciate your patience and hope you come back for more.

Before you go..if I have plugged BlackstoneValleyGroup enough times on this post then I have achieved my unstated objective (just kidding) – but on a serious note, if this post tickled a neuron then please do let me know.



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