According to Debu Purkayastha Asia is the marketplace your startup now needs to enter.
Its expanding internet penetration levels, very receptive consumer market and well documented VC interest in the area have all persuaded Octopus Investments entrepreneur-in-residence that the region holds a lot of promise.
Purkaystha’s role at Octopus includes working with the ventures team to identify new investment opportunities and support entrepreneurs in the portfolio, so he constantly seeks fertile soils for startups.
Is Asia right for every startup though? Should founders bypass the West altogether?
It’s more complicated than that, especially when Purkaystha starts discussing startups by geography and the skill sets typified by each region.
“Each 3 geographies [USA, Europe, Asia] have their own parts to play, with different skill sets: I still think US product startups, on the west coast, are at a different level to everyone else; SE Asian startups have exceptional execution levels – tech is used as an enabler – and a good example here is Flipkart in India.”
It’s interesting here that Purkaystha then goes onto say that rather than seeing Flipkart as the Amazon of India, he actually sees Amazon as the young pretender abroad.
It’s a good example of how startups by geography can completely affect how someone views a company or entire sector in the context of other regions.
“Europe has a bias towards business to consumer model and its startups are in an intuitively complex enterprise place, that’s its strength.”
Of course, if you’re determining startups by geography, comparing cities is also important to check which market would suit your company.
“Where london has a dominance is in fintech, and if it plays its cards well it can see some amazing startups; the government needs to step in because this is the one area where London has a clear advantage over other regions.”