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NOV 11, 2004

Venture Capital Gathering in Asia (Part 1)

By Yoshito Hori
Copyright GLOBIS

I had just returned from a three-week, round-the-world business trip, and only had five days before taking off again for Hong Kong and Singapore. Even between the two trips, however, there was no time to relax. I had family to spend time with, work to catch up on, the first group of the GLOBIS All-Staff Retreat to check in on, a speech to give, and a talk scheduled for the following day. Then November 3ーCulture Day and my second oldest son’s Shichi-Go-San (age-specific festivals held in Japan for children at the ages of 3, 5, and 7). It was then I really began to feel drained, despite it being taian (a day of particularly good fortune according to the Japanese traditional calendar) under a sky clear and sunny. I wore a kimono, as I had at the same festival for my oldest son two years ago, and Meiji Shrine was jam packed. That probably contributed to my feeling even more tired out and lethargic. Even at lunch, with three generations of the family all gathered together, I felt foggy.

But as I said, no time to rest! My flight to Singapore was set to leave on Thursday, November 4.

I arrived at Changi Airport after midnight and caught a taxi to the hotel. The road into town was pretty, lined with palm trees. The last time I was here was about a year ago.

I had two objectives for this trip: first, to meet with investors in Singapore and second, to speak at the Asian Venture Forum (AVF) in Hong Kong.

I met with investors the first morning, as planned. Things were looking good for the next fund. So good, in fact, that I managed a laid-back weekend reading the assigned text for a GLOBIS MBA study group. It was a good thing, too, because then I took off for Hong Kong. Compared to Singapore, Hong Kong is pretty chaotic. It’s almost hard to believe that both cities were built by Chinese merchants.

This was the first time for GLOBIS to sponsor the AVF, though we’ve sponsored venture capital forums in Japan before.

AVF is organized by the publisher of the Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ). The company principally makes its money from this journal, as well as these forums. They hold forums every year in Australia, Japan, Korea, India, China, the US, and Europe. After everything, the forum held in November in Hong Kong is a synthesis of venture capital and private equity across the entire Asian region.

There were 500 participants this year. The event appeared to be gaining recognition, given there were only 250 last year and 150 the year before. It was an impressive lineup of attendees, including a few investors I had had trouble tracking down in the past. The forum was an important opportunity to connect with them.

An invitation-only dinner party was held on the Tuesday, November 9, and on the 10th, I participated in the investors’ round table conference, after which the forum officially began. Starting around 6 pm, guests began to appear in the lobby lounge of the Marriott Hotel. As a sponsor, I welcomed people as they arrived, introducing myself in English as the host of the party and offering my hand and a business card. The venue was full just after 7 pm, overflowing with enthusiasm. I was nearly out of the 100 business cards I had brought.

Shortly thereafter, the organizer told me it was time to formally greet everyone. A mic had been set up on the counter of the lounge where I was to deliver my speech. This was a perfect chance to get the GLOBIS name out and recognized. After the opening remarks from the organizer, I boldly jumped up on stage and grabbed the mic.

“I am Hori from Globis Capital Partners, and I am engaged in a venture capital company in Japan. I’m sure most of you who have come here are drawn to China, but don’t forget about GLOBIS as a venture capital firm in Japan.” With this brief introduction, I aimed to plant the idea of GLOBIS in their minds. It seemed to workーI managed to hand out all of my business cards by the end of the evening. 

In the course of one day, I had managed to meet and greet most of the main players in venture capital and private equity in Asia. Despite the frenzied schedule, I finished the day feeling really satisfied.