GVA © 2017

31 October, Sat
How non-U.S. startups should approach Silicon Valley investors

“Everything is trending, everything is hot,” said Bill Reichert, managing director at California venture capital (VC) fund Garage Technology Ventures, at an event put on by the Slovakian government to connect big tech companies with emerging innovation.

Reichert was participating in a panel discussion centered on one perennially popular question: What are the hot sectors ripe for Silicon Valley investment?

“As I go around the world, and see amazing new technologies in all these different sectors, anybody anywhere can tap hundreds of millions of prospective customers because of the significant decrease in friction across the globe,” he continued. “It’s amazing the verticals in which you can build a big, fun, interesting, exciting company. If you have a compelling insight into almost any segment, it’s hard to imagine a segment that is too small to build a really interesting company. So if you’ve got something that’s interesting where you think you can create a “win” and disrupt, don’t worry about what the VC says is hot. Go build an amazing company.”

Encouraging words for sure, ones that will hopefully have resounded around a room where 60 startups from 17 countries across Europe and Asia had been invited to compete, network, and vie for the attentions of a myriad of big U.S. corporations and investors.

But a key question to emerge was how do startups around the world garner the attention of the Silicon Valley moneymen?


Above: TechMatch

Valley presence

Ian Sobieski, managing director at the Band of Angels fund, said while it’s important to have at least some presence in Silicon Valley, it is by no means essential to move there.

“You don’t actually have to move to California,” said Sobieski. “You have to have some meetings face-to-face to be able to build real relationships, though. So if you want to raise money from California and Silicon Valley, you can go there for a few weeks, get a 650 phone number and a U.S. mailing address from one of the various accelerators. But you can still have your residence and your team here (e.g. Europe) and create an investable relationship with Silicon Valley.”

This raises another key question, however. For startups based in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else, how essential is it that their target market is in the U.S.? Can you go to Silicon Valley for investment if you’re a Scandinavian company targeting India, for example?

“We have invested in companies that have started somewhere else, proved their model, and then saw the U.S. as an opportunity to scale to global proportions,” added Reichert. “We have invested in a couple of companies where the primary market turned out not to be the U.S., but the company was located in Silicon Valley. But a company not located in Silicon Valley, that’s not targeting the U.S., well, that would be really tough for most (VC) funds. There are some truly global funds, but most Silicon Valley funds do prefer some sort of nexus.”

So startups wanting to gain the attention of Silicon Valley funds need to either have their main leadership team based in California, or have a core focus for the startup’s growth in the U.S. Ideally, it would be both.

Customers & talent

Assuming the U.S. is high on your company’s agenda for growth, and you’re seeking money to spur this growth, there are at least two key things you should be seeking in Silicon Valley before investment, according to Reichert: customers and talent.

“Almost every visitor we meet in Silicon Valley thinks there’s one reason to be there — capital,” he said. “But the way to be most successful is to put customers and talent first. Silicon Valley is the best place on the planet to talk to the most companies — almost every big company in the world has some sort of innovation lab, corporate development office, or VC fund in Silicon Valley. The reason to come to Silicon Valley is to get customers first — but also get talent.”

Silicon Valley, of course, is a hot-bed of talent, be it developers or business development specialists. “You need to get someone who’s drinking the Kool-Aid, who totally believes in your future — if you can find that talent, who buys into your vision to create a global company, and you get a local customer, you will be infinitely more succesful talking to investors.”

But it’s possible to get involved with large U.S. companies through working with their hubs elsewhere in the world, or other local big companies that can serve as a stepping-stone to them.

“Take a phased approach — attack your own market first, and you will land on large companies,” said Mohanjit Jolly, partner at DFJ Venture. “Within those companies, look for a way into the U.S. market. Once you have a physical presence in the U.S., this is where investors are going to get excited.”

Jolly also added that you can accelerate this by talking to one of the VC firm’s larger portfolio companies to see if you can complement their offering and become embedded within them. Such a partnership then becomes a good reference point for the VC firm. “That gives me the thumbs up, and I have validation,” he said.


Perhaps one of the key takeaways of the discussion was the democratization of funding — you don’t really have to go to Silicon Valley. Not at the very early stages, at least.

“Things are changing — it used to be that you had to meet them (angel investors) at events like this (TechMatch),” said Sobieski. “But it’s a digital world, where there are platforms like AngelList, and Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. There are an increasing number of different channels to popularize and get your idea into the world in a way that increases the odds that you find that needle in a haystack and a capital investor.”

November 2019
25 November, Monday
Global Venture Alliance – Accelerator-3.0

Our CEO Zamir Shukhov's interview with the SME Innovator magazine about the GVA methodology, acceleration 3.0 and the future of entrepreneurship in Russia.

March 2018
05 March, Monday
GVA became TOP CHALLENGER of the recent UBI Global World rankings

GVA is recognized as the TOP CHALLENGER according to the UBI Global World rankings of University-linked Business Incubators and Accelerators.

February 2018
28 February, Wednesday
How Russian Consumer Companies Cooperate with Start-ups

The article on Vedomosti on  cooperation between corporations and start-ups. Among examples, there are three GVA's accelerators: Mega Accelerator, PepsiCo LAB and Faberlic FMCG Accelerator.

05 February, Monday
WSJ: “Nasdaq-listed Yandex is Russia’s Uber and Google combined”

“Stock investors can’t invest in Uber, but they can invest in Nasdaq-listed Yandex, owner of Russia’s top ride-hailing platform,” writes WSJ reporter Stephen Wilmot, referring to the Yandex.Taxi platform.

02 February, Friday
The acceleration program StrartUp Kazakhstan has been launched

The first face-to-face event in the framework of the StartUp Kazakhstan – program orientation took place in innovation cluster of Tech Garden in Almaty on February 1-2. On the first day General Director of the Autonomous cluster Fund "PIT" (Tech Garden) Sanzhar Kettebekov and CEO of Global Venture Alliance Zamir Shukhov addressed to the participants with the introductory speech. 

02 February, Friday
“Startup Innovation and investment in Emerging Europe:” A groundbreaking research released by East-West Digital News

How do the local startup scenes look like in Estonia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine — but also in less known countries, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Moldova, to Georgia? How much do VCs invest these countries? Are corporations involved in these emerging ecosystems? Which are the most well-funded startups, and which younger ones should be followed? Why do so many ICOs come from Eastern Europe?

01 February, Thursday
2 acquisitions and 1 ICO: the Russian eSports market is heating up

The beginning of this year saw major moves on the Russian eSports scene, a sizable European market with established players operating globally. Thus, last week Mail.Ru Group — an LSE-listed Internet company which controls the largest Russian-language social networks and a range of online gaming companies — announced the full acquisition of ESforce.

January 2018
22 January, Monday
New report by GVA’s partner Pavel Luksha “Skills of the Future: How to Thrive in the Complex New World”

GVA’s partner Pavel Luksha, founder Global Education Futures and professor at Moscow School of Management, has a new report out on what graduates should know and be able to do. “Skills of the Future: How to Thrive in the Complex New World” was developed with WorldSkills Russia during sessions of the Atlas of Emerging Jobs project. The report is a thoughtful review of global trends, changes in work and concludes with implications for education. Not a continuation of the present, the authors “believe that mankind should take a serious approach towards the formation of a desired image of the future.”

22 January, Monday
The Fund for the Digitalization of Industry will be launched in Kazakhstan

On January 22 during the official visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev to the USA the autonomous cluster fund Tech Garden signed a number of important agreements with American companies on the digitization of the economy of Kazakhstan.

November 2017
09 November, Thursday

At the international GELP Moscow 2017 Summit, which was held in Moscow on 1st to 3rd of November, leaders of Russian and foreign education from 12 states outlined practical steps for systematical change of the global educational environment, taking into account the existing global challenges of civilization.

October 2017
30 October, Monday
Global Venture Alliance & Forbes Russia in a closed round table discussion

Global Venture Alliance took part in a closed round table session organized by Forbes Russia.

27 October, Friday
In Moscow for the first time the international educational Summit Global Education Leaders` Partnership will take place

The authoritative international alliance Global Education Leaders` Partnership (GELP), which influences the development of school education abroad, for the first time, chose Russia as a meeting point for leaders and experts of the world educational community. The official operator of GELP is the Global Venture Alliance.

27 October, Friday

Global Venture Alliance is the general sponsor of the event on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the magazine Forbes.

25 October, Wednesday
Russia creates a research center for IT solutions in the transport industry

The Global Venture Alliance team on October 17 at the international forum "Open Innovations 2017" in Skolkovo organized a closed signing between RZhD, IBM, NES and NCC in the field of transport logistics. 

September 2017
19 September, Tuesday
MEGA Accelerator Opening

IKEA Centers Russia and GVA have identified 9 start-ups that will go into the MEGA Accelerator business incubator. Theese are Altair VR virtual planetarium, mobile application Save4time, virtual bot MRBot, VR-platform Hexa, interactive game Ligrook, time scheduler Verme, HR-robot Robot Vera, corporate messenger Beesender and IT-service for lawyers Bots & Partners. This was reported to Firrma in IKEA Centres Russia.

July 2017
28 July, Friday
Apple imagines AR glasses that fulfill the dream of Google Glass

Tim Cook has not-so-subtly hinted that Apple is working on some sort of augmented reality product. And while ARKit may be the start, a patent application published today hints at what Apple could be picturing down the road.

26 July, Wednesday
Apple and Cochlear team up to roll out the first implant made for the iPhone

Apple has teamed up with Australian-based Cochlear to bring iPhone users the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the sound processor.

25 July, Tuesday
Google’s DeepMind made an AI that can imagine the future

Google’s London-based AI outfit DeepMind has created two different types of AI that can use their ‘imagination’ to plan ahead and perform tasks with a higher success rate than AIs without imagination. Sorry if I made you click because you wanted AIs predicted flying cars. I promise this is cool too.

24 July, Monday
Scientists are now using Wi-Fi to read human emotions

Scientists at MIT are using Wi-Fi and AI to determine your emotional state. They’ve created an algorithm that can detect and measure individual heartbeats by bouncing RF signals off of people.

21 July, Friday
This little USB stick is designed to make AI plug-and-play

The Neural Compute Stick from Movidius makes it easy to add a machine vision processor to any device.