February 7th, 2016 by: Grow VC Group

In this week we had the distinct pleasure to discuss TradeUp‘s (a Grow VC Group company) work and business model – growth capital for globalizing companies – before HSBC‘s trade finance sales teams from across US and Canada. HSBC is the world’s leading trade finance bank – and as such of great interest to many TradeUp clients that are growing their global sales and financing their supply chains.

The company’s trade sales event, which took place in HSBC’s New York headquarters, brought together world-class speakers to discuss the future of trade, future of trade finance, and use of social media strategies in sales in finance.‎ HSBC also produces outstanding research in trade; see, for example simulations of global trade flows through 2030.

Read more at TradeUp Blog.



February 5th, 2016 by: Grow VC Group

Everyone wants to work with startups and accelerate disruptive ideas nowadays. Corporates have also realized, they are not fast enough to develop new models and react to external changes with their old operating models. That’s why they want to cooperate with startups, accelerate internal and external new projects, and also invest in new companies and businesses. But in reality it is not so easy. Telcos have also been active in this area, and often failed badly. What is a model that could work in real life?

Do you remember Vodafone 360 some years ago, when Vodafone wanted to ‘manage’ a social networking business, i.e. copy social media startups? Needless to say it was an expensive and total failure. And more recently Telefónica created Wayra, a startup accelerator. It had accelerators in more than 10 countries until Telefónica decided to leave that business. Many other carriers have had some level of venture capital, accelerator or startup cooperation programs. Have you heard about many success stories? Maybe not so often, but there are many stories from startups and entrepreneurs that have been quite frustrated, how the cooperation has worked, how arrogant and slow those corporate guys have been to entrepreneurs, and on the other hand, how carrier’s operative people cannot see value from these startup programs.

Almost each main city starts to have a few dozens accelerators. There are few successful examples, like Y Combinator and 500 Startups, in that category. But the reality is that it is very hard to make successful business with accelerators, or they can end up in facility management and consulting businesses. Typically there must be some other benefit and value from an accelerator business than a pure revenue or ROI. Public sector accelerators can create new successful businesses, new taxpayers and boost the local economy. Corporate accelerators should bring value for corporates daily and future business.

Why it is so difficult? It is not so hard to hire a so called ‘startup expert’ to hand pick interesting startups, select some startups into an accelerator program and give a small sum of money, or organize pitching events. The problems are often much more fundamental. Telcos, as other corporates, want to play ‘like a small venture capitalist’, to not really think a model for their real business needs and processes.

First, to invest time, money or other resources in any company, the approach must be very systematic, based on real data and clear targets. For venture capitalists or business angels, it can be enough to find a few winning lottery tickets, but for a corporate that also looks for help in their business needs, the approach has to be a systematic process. Those startup partners can potentially be clients, partners and developers for a corporate, and the value can come in many different ways also with big volume of small pieces, not only 10 or 100 times ROI as in the VC business.

Second, the cooperation should not only include startups, but small and medium size enterprises (SME) as a whole. Startups usually refer to new companies that look for very fast growth and are financeable by VC’s and business angels. But, for example, for a Telco it makes sense to cooperate with hundreds of SMEs that never plan to go to Silicon Valley or get VC money but can be good businesses with stable revenue. Those companies can cooperate with Telcos to implement some services and technology, be customers, and help to innovate solutions for new needs.

Third, the SME cooperation should also be integrated to the whole organization and operations of the corporate. This means that it cannot be just a few ‘startup experts’ that manage the cooperation and maybe sometimes organize pitching events where operative managers can participate. If the cooperation includes a lot of SMEs, enough data is available from each SME, and all operative units have access to this information and models to cooperate with SMEs, we can expect much more practical value. And in this way the whole organization is engaged in developing this cooperation and get value from it.

Fourth, it must a symbiosis of all parties, not to utilize anyone. Apple and Google have created a mobile app business model that is excellent business for them, but at the same time app companies can also make good business. Another model of the symbiotic ecosystem is a SME, corporate and public services project of city of Helsinki. They are building a concept and processes where the city’s services to entrepreneurs and SMEs work together with local SMEs, universities, accelerators, and corporates. One part of this is to build a common platform and databases (based on Startup Commons open platform) to get cooperation to work. Its target is really to make all communication more effective and information and measurable data available to all parties.

Many corporates, including telcos, have wanted to play venture capitalists. It is probably a lot of fun for those few guys who can invest money normally without personal risk as angels or VC partners, and those external consultants who focus to look for startups, listen to their pitches and tell their wisdom about how to run business, to entrepreneurs for a nice compensation from a corporate. Corporates should think a more realistic model that is really linked to their current or future business and organizations. It means more boring things than to play venture capitalist, like creating processes to work with hundreds of SMEs, collecting internal and external data from needs, companies and solutions, develop different models to get value from this cooperation and guarantee all external and internal parties get value from this. And especially it requires the right attitude, it is a lot of hard work, all parties must respect each other and value has to come from the systematic work, not by finding winning lottery tickets.

The article is originally published on TelecomAsia.net.

Startup Commons startup ecosystem

Photo: Startup Commons ecosystem model.

February 4th, 2016 by: Grow VC Group

Valuation of early stage companies now made accessible to users of  DealIndex’s proprietary investment and analytics dashboard.

Feb 3, 2016 – Today we are pleased to announce that users of DealIndex’s Deal Exchange, a crowdfunding aggregrator and investment analytics dashboard, can now access and make use of AlgoValue, an online valuation and cap table analysis platform developed by former ‘Big 4’ valuation experts to easily valuate early stage and mature companies.

The service is available for any industry and follows the same methodology employed by large industry valuation firms, giving instant access to a database of over 11,000 comparable companies. Prices start at US$50 per month.

“We at AlgoValue are delighted to bring to DealIndex’s investors, robust, professional but easy to use valuation at ‘the click of a button’, says Raphael Meyara, Algo Value’s CEO and Co-Founder. “Our valuation tool helps support DealIndex’s mission to use technology to professionalize and open wide crowdfunding for serious investors, empowering them with the ultimate valuation resource.”

“We are proud have on board a partner such as Algovalue, a leading provider of valuation services in private venture-backed companies,” reports Neha Manahaktala, CEO and Co-founder of DealIndex. “This partnership complements and enhances our current service offering for investors using our data-driven dashboard to source for, compare and track investment opportunities in the crowdfunding and alternative finance space.”

About DealIndex

DealIndex (www.dealindex.co) is an intelligent data and deal aggregator of private companies and assets raising capital across leading alternative finance platforms globally. DealIndex adopts a global, curated approach to the alternative finance ecosystem, providing extensive data, research and analytics as part of its service to clients.

The company has pioneered the first global crowdfunding aggregator dashboard that allows investors to navigate and track deals in real-time, manage their portfolio of private company investments, and make informed investment decisions backed by extensive analysis, data and research.

The dashboard provides single sign-on access to hundreds of private companies seeking capital, bringing together, for the first time, curated, quality leading equity crowdfunding platforms spanning across 4 continents.

DealIndex is headquartered in London, with offices in New York and Hong Kong. It is part of The Grow VC Group, a worldwide pioneer and leader in the crowd investing, peer to peer and online investment market.

About AlgoValue

AlgoValue (www.algovalue.com), an online valuation and cap table analysis platform, provides a suite of efficient, intuitive, accurate and analytical tools which bring instant transparency, as well as real-time decision-support data output for valuating early stage and mature companies as well as their equity securities.

AlgoValue’s solution simplifies calculation complexities, eliminates costly errors resulting from numerous data entries from multiple sources, saves time and money, and improves the way illiquid equity investments are valued and managed.

AlgoValue Inc. is based in New York, Tel Aviv and London and is used by domestic and international valuation firms, accounting firms, venture capital firms, law firms, private companies and crowdfunding platforms.

For further inquiries please contact:


Raymond Rubin

Business Development Manager



Michelle Tang

Director of Marketing and Partnerships


DealIndex Deal Exchange

Valuation tool in DealIndex


February 3rd, 2016 by: Grow VC Group

Controversial ‘Trade In Services Agreement’ to be voted on in European Parliament this week

A controversial, far reaching trade agreement that critics call a ‘turbo-charged privatisation pact’ is set to be debated in the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week. Warning that the deal will be a ‘nail in the coffin’ of public services around the world, campaigners have called on MEPs to reject the agreement.

Why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Is More Important Than TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — the former a free trade agreement covering 12 countries from North and South America to the Pacific Rim, the latter a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union — represent the main trade negotiation motions of the current global economic system. The TPP negotiations were successfully concluded in October 2015 after four years of intensive talks. Legislative ratification will be the next step. TTIP has been under negotiation since June 2013; hopes are for completion by the end of 2016.

Trade missions to be run by Enterprise Nation following UKTI cuts

In 2016, EN plans to take 200 small businesses to five countries in Europe, the US and Asia. The organisation has run two similar missions over the past two years, with 100 small firms generating £6m-worth of business.

Read the whole article on TradeUp Blog.

TradeUp capital for export

February 2nd, 2016 by: Grow VC Group

Financial Times Live organized European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle on January 27. It gathered hundreds of finance executives and professionals not only from Europe but around the world. Fintech and digital finance got very important role in the presentations and panels. And it was probably also the hottest topic to discuss during the breaks. One fintech startup speaker even predicted that half of the audience loses their job in the next 5 years due to the digital disruption.

​The day was started by Philip Lane, the Governor of Bank of Ireland, and Andrew Bailey, the Deputy Governor of Prudential Regulation at Bank of England. The interesting coincidence was that a day earlier it was announced that Andrew Bailey will take over from Tracey McDermott as the boss of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, FCA. Both of them spoke the importance and complex questions of the regulation. Mr. Bailey specially wanted to emphasize, how important it is the finance companies clearly differentiate items in the their balance sheet, e.g. bank deposits from bank’s debts. And he also saw similar needs with investment instruments; investors must be able to see, what kind of assets an instrument includes. A significant difference between Mr. Lane’s and Mr. Bailey’s comments was that Mr. Lane saw EU’s importance role, when Mr. Bailey focused on the national regulation.

The digital disruption panel discussed, how new services change the business and also about the relationship of old and new actors in the market. They saw that it is not only about technology, but it is even more important to develop new business models and instruments. The panel has little bit different views, how new services and service providers impact on banks. Some panelist saw banks and new services could work well together, when e.g. banks already now lend money through p2p lending services. But some panelist, e.g. Zopa’s founder Giles Andrews highlighted that it will have a significant impact on banks, if they lose customer touch points to online services.

The fintech panel included Colm Lyon from Fintech and Payment Association of Ireland, David McHenry from Silicon Valley Bank, and Anthony Watson from Uphold. The most important topic was, how much established finance companies are able to adapt to the new digital business and how much it will be dominated by new startups. They also divided fintech to two dimensions: 1) new finance services and products, and 2) access to (old or new) finance products. Mr. Watson presented bold statements, like “half of the audience will lose their job in 5 years thanks for fintech”, “corporates are not able to adapt to new business because they should cannibalize the existing business”, and “corporates are now very excited about block chain, and it is a total joke, it is just one database, but tells how limited their thinking about the changes is.” Mr. McHenry commented SVB is especially interested in fintech solutions that can really scale up, for example, trade finance is an area where he sees a lot of opportunities. They were also asked to name the leading fintech hubs in the world. They started with San Francisco, London, and New York, but then added that there are a few other places where significant development is happening, like Portland, Seattle and Atlanta in the US, Ireland and also some hubs are emerging in Asia.

In his closing remarks Irish Minister of State Simon Harris highlighted, how finance sector has become very important for Ireland. Ireland has now 38,000 jobs in finance, 12,000 of them outside Dublin, and they are high skill well paid jobs. He also wanted to emphasize the Irish finance sector is now very healthy after the serious crisis and they have been also able to develop the regulation.

Read the whole article on Crowd Valley Blog.

European Financial Forum in Dublin

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