From Alibaba to Zynga: 40 Of The Best VC Bets Of All Time And What We Can Learn From Them
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To do so, he turned to the Chinese private equity firm Capital Today.
Mobile Country Codes (MCC) and Mobile Network Codes (MNC)
Later, the retail giant sold its entire e-commerce operations in China to JD. For its part, Capital Today succeeded by investing in a tiny upstart in a market that had just lost a giant incumbent. IneBay had just fled China, after competitor Taobao had taken over the market after a very expensive battle.
Following the Taobao vs. The growth of Chinese ecommerce from to Sales grew from 56 billion yuan to billion yuan in just the four years starting from Statista Byhowever, JD. This is what happened when Delivery Hero and Foodpanda butted heads. Delivery Hero won out, but the investors in Foodpanda got a nice consolation prize. Rocket had backed a company called Foodpanda that competed with Delivery Hero in the food takeout space.
Until the end ofthe two companies both focused on expansion, in different parts of the world: This later translated to a 7. Instead of competing with Delivery Hero in the crowded food delivery market, Foodpanda was able to join forces with the company — like Uber and Didi Chuxing did in China — to get a bigger win together.
The merger gave Delivery Hero a dominant worldwide position in the takeaway industry. That success suggests a new model for international companies. When you try to expand one company across the globe, it can set you up to fight a continual series of guerrilla battles with local competitors.
You may have higher odds bringing together many smaller companies with tight, regional network effects. Rocket — a publicly-traded holding company in Germany run by the Samwer Brothers — have cloned US businesses across many categories and across the globe. As tech entrepreneurship takes hold across China, India, and the rest of Asia, in addition to Europe, Rocket Internet has seen big wins balance out its losses.
This is exactly what Zayo did with another niche but burgeoning market: At the time, the American fiber optics market was made up of regional players. Many had their growth stunted by the s dot-com boom and bust.
They were fragmented and mostly undifferentiated. Zayo came in and began consolidating the industry. They raised aggressively to acquire other fiber network and infrastructure companies, buying a total of 32 companies by the time of their IPO. This was just as the optical networking market was beginning to recover from a post dot-com slump. The need for bandwidth from corporations and homes alike was increasing rapidly, but most of the companies building out that bandwidth infrastructure were small, straggling, and local.
Zayo set out to buy and unite them. Zayo could take advantage of low prices on companies that had been overbuilt and needed to sell, while remaining confident that there would be a need for their services in the years to come.
Zayo capitalized on geographic opportunity. They identified a fragmented space and saw that companies were offering similar services.
Then they consolidated those efforts and collected the returns. Sometimes it pays to enter a crowded space, if a company has the means to buy up weak players, expand, and execute better than the companies that are already there. In another part of the world, Mobileye and its investors were able to make history by recognizing another type of geographic opportunity.
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But instead of consolidating a crowded space, they started building where no one else was looking. Mobileye Mobileye was one of the first companies to recognize the future in autonomous driving. The company started building self-driving car technology 10 years before Google launched its self-driving efforts in Colmobil was the only shareholder not to sell any shares after IPO — their 7.
Goldman then took an approximately Despite coming to Mobileye significantly later than many of its Israeli VC counterparts, Goldman was still able to make a 10x return on its investment.
And it did so by going outside the traditional hubs of startup investing and making a bold bet.
Mobileye, however, began its life in Jerusalem. Despite its reputation relative to Tel Aviv, the city of Jerusalem was actually a highly fertile place for a high-tech company like Mobileye to emerge from back in Jerusalem is home to Hebrew University, one of the top-ranked universities for math and computer science in the world.
It has a highly-skilled immigration population from Russia and elsewhere, which gave Mobileye a natural pool of talented engineers to pull early employees from. And it was a professor at the School of Computer Science and Engineering who would go on to start the company: Ziv Aviram, his co-founder, studied industrial engineering and management and was known for leading Israeli retail companies.
Entrepreneur Magazine named it as one of the top 5 places outside Silicon Valley to start a company in But geopolitical and economic circumstances made it difficult for Mobileye to raise traditional venture backing. Mobileye was founded inright before the Palestinian uprising from — and the bursting of the dot-com bubble in As has happened in countless fledgling startup hubs around the world, those fortunate employees — restless, experienced, and hungry — now have the dry powder to go start their own companies and make their own investments.
Companies with experienced founders already have a leg up. And as Semiconductor Manufacturing International SMIC has shown, when those founders have a chance to thrive in a needy market, they can knock it out of the park. At the time, China had just recently opened its semiconductor industry to foreign investment, and most US investors had no idea what to expect. It was uncharted territory. The US, for reference, grows at an average of about 3.
Second, China was at the time consuming more semiconductors than any other country on earth. Their rate of semiconductor consumption was growing at The stars were aligned: This marked a milestone for the Chinese technology market — and for early investor Sinovation Ventures, which saw up to 40x returns on its investments in the app.
Having missed successes like Groupon in the US, investors will go hunting for a perfect copy overseas. These overseas investors tend to miss the local nuance around what it takes to make a product sticky and successful. Meitu rode in the very unique slipstream of two huge forces in Chinese culture. First, there was mobile.
Right around the launch of the Meitu mobile app, smartphone usage in China started to grow exponentially. That gave the app an organic engine for growth. Second, there was a growing obsession with beauty. Around the time Meitu launched, China had a very low plastic surgery procedure per capita rate compared to its neighbors. By7 million Chinese people were traveling outside the country to get work done.
Investor funding helped Meitu to expand on the back of photo retouching. They now have 23 products. They routinely fill the leaderboard in the Chinese app store.
There are significant users bases spanning several countries in Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand. The lesson here is to look at local markets and understand what will make a certain product sticky. Copycat companies only understand the idea for the company — context-specific companies can actually nail the execution.
With both Meitu and Semiconductor Manufacturing International, we saw context-specific companies that grew fast amidst bigger macroeconomic shifts in China. Whether it was opening up to foreign investment or the growth of smartphones, these companies rode larger waves to success. Riding big waves is how many of the biggest companies on this list got to where they are.
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