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The first global startup success

Viber has to be the first case of a truly global startup to have such a huge exit.

Viber is incorporated in Cyprus, has development centers in Israel, Belarus and China, was started by Israeli entrepreneurs who live in the US and was acquired by a Japanese company.

VCs are traditionally weary of outsourced development in emerging countries, as the cost benefits are usually outweighed by the communications problems and risks of slowing down. But Viber has shown that the model can work. It is extremely hard, but with the right leadership it can definitely be done successfully, and cheaply.

My opinion is that we’ll see more and more companies trying to be truly global in the coming years, but that only a handful will be successful in doing so – potentially from serial entrepreneurs who have already managed such distribution.


Say what you want, but VC is still about finding the best companies first

There’s a lot of talk about crowdfunding and the disruption of venture capital in tech and VC circles. But while people are busy talking, VCs are hard at work at finding the next huge successes.

Techcrunch posted a very interesting story of  Plain Vanilla, the makers of QuizUp. For those of you who don’t know it (where do you live?) QuizUp is a marvelous social trivia app which scored 1 million downloads in 8 days and is the top free app in the iOS App Store. It’s incredibly well executed and addictive.

The most interesting part of the story for me is the additional funding round, which in my opinion has the potential to go down as one of the best investments of the year.

Sequoia and e.ventures found about QuizUp while it was in beta and rushed like crazy to close a round and wire the money before the app launched in the store. If they had waited just one more week the round could have been extremely more expensive and crowded.

Plain Vanilla was basically faced with the following question: accept $2M from two leading investors pre-launch or wait for the launch and either  raise at better terms thanks to the traction or potentially die if it does’t go that well. I think they made the right choice.

This demonstrates what sets great VCs apart. Massive congratulations to Sequoia and e.ventures for getting into it before everyone else even noticed.


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