Two seasoned entrepreneurs unite to connect the world’s VCs and startups
By Masyitha Baziad June 24, 2016
- VCNetwork out to find ‘the right combination of founder and funder’
- Has 500 VCs listed, 84% from the US, targeting 1,000 by early 2017
STOP us if you’ve heard this one before: A seasoned US entrepreneur meets a peer from Indonesia, and … together they set out to connect the world’s venture capitalists (VCs), angel investors, and startups.
If you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big.
That’s what happened when Jenny Q. Ta, founder and chief executive officer of US social networking site Sqeeqee.com, met Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, founder of Indonesia’s first-ever Internet company, Bubu.com.
“I was travelling in the United States and was interviewed by a Washington-based journalist, who then told me that I had to meet Jenny, since we both have the same vision of connecting the world’s VCs and startups,” says Shinta.
“So he put us in touch, and I called Jenny for a meeting.
“And that was that – we just clicked from the moment we met, and that was also when we decided that we had to get VCNetwork.co going,” she tells Digital News Asia (DNA) in a teleconference call which included Jenny.
Launched in January, VCNetwork.co is a network and database of independent international VCs, and aims to connect them with entrepreneurs from all over the world.
For Jenny, a self-made millionaire by the age of 27, the idea of VCNetwork.co came from a lunch discussion on investment banking with an old friend from Wall Street.
“My friend shared a lot of valuable information regarding investment banking on Wall Street, and the ways venture capital funding for startups would soon change,” she says.
“My ears perked up. I analysed the information and built the idea of a global, centralised hub that could uniquely connect startups to investors.
“When Shinta heard my story and business plan, we immediately clicked and put our minds together to launch VCNetwork.co,” she adds.
The idea has also resonated with others: VCNetwork.co just added 200 more VCs, bringing the total to more than 500 VCs listed on its database.
Jenny claims that the network has received hundreds of business pitches since launch, but admits that none has been a match yet.
“There are a handful of deals that are being considered seriously, but these things take time. However, we expect to see the first few deals close before the end of this year,” she says.
How it works
To use VCNetwork.co, entrepreneurs must create a profile on the platform, containing information on the founders and the team, as well as how much funding the startup is seeking.
Once a profile is created, entrepreneurs can then submit their business plan, and select which industry they are most related to – this will help the matchmaking process later.
The first business plan submission is free; additional submissions will cost the startup a flat fee of US$99.
The matchmaking process begins after a startup has submitted its business plan. The VCNetwork.co algorithm will pair the startup’s submission with the most viable VC, regardless of location.
To ensure confidentiality, each business plan submitted by an entrepreneur will be securely emailed directly only to the point-person at the VC firm.
The startup will also be notified that its profile and business plan have been shared with a particular VC.
“The door must be open for both VCs and startups,” says Jenny.
“Our matchmaking system will match business plans with funding needs and the VCs’ interests, so it could be a match between an Indonesian VC with some European startup, or the other way around.
“Remember, sitting on piles of cash is meaningless for a VC if it cannot roll out its money to worthwhile projects, and that can only happen with opening up a global network,” she adds.
The founding duo will focus their energy on bringing in more VCs especially from South-East Asia and Europe, two regions they feel have shown tremendous growth with startups.
“Since I am based here in Indonesia, the priority is to connect this region (South-East Asia), on both the VC and startup fronts,” says Shinta.
“The region is filled with new startups coming up every day, but they still do not have exposure to VCs.
“Local and regional VCs also need to be connected with international VCs from the United States to get bigger and more impactful investments,” she adds.
85% of the VCs listed on VCNetwork.co, or around 425, are US-based, with the rest coming from Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. The target is to have 1,000 global VCs listed on the platform by at least early next year.
“VCNetwork.co is more known in the United States, therefore we have more pitches, decks and business plans from the United States than from other countries at this time,” says Jenny.
“However, that will soon change as we are in the process of connecting ourselves with VCs from around the world, including those in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore.
“The one thing all VCs listed on our platform should have, regardless of their location, is the willingness to fund worthwhile projects not just with US-based startups, but startups globally, including South-East Asia,” she adds.
Next Page: And the problem with the funding landscape now is …