Emerging Markets 2012

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The year 2011 included a number of highlights, including three trips to Latin America and one to Europe and Asia, and the chance to meet with over 200 entrepreneurs and founders as an early stage venture capitalist at Mohr Davidow. As one takes a step back, opportunities for disruptive technological change will increasingly come from beyond the G20, as the preponderance of global GDP will emanate from beyond traditional frontiers. Already BRIC has been supplanted by the frontier acronym, CIVETS, highlighting high growth markets Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa. While venture returns in the N-11 are still a few years off, looking at fundamentals like GDP growth, access to credit, increasing PPP, and underlying demography will impact cross-border trends. And while investments may stay at home, the imperative for global access to talent and ideas has long sailed.

I had the chance to speak about this and recent observations from a Fall 2011 trip to China on a panel on 2012 Global Projections at WilmerHale. In China the average “netizen” is 25, versus the average age of 42 in the United States. This necessarily disposes them to higher adoption rates in online categories of entertainment, social networking, and gaming. Fundamental social, political, and demographic trends provide a lens into likely technology adoption patterns. Whereas in 1995 the preponderance of the 50M Internet users were likely in California, by 2015 500M of them will be in China. By 2015 there will be 1.2B Internet users in the BRICs plus Indonesia. That’s mind-shifting.

In 2012 I will return three times to China to help manage our investment in Innovation Works, the Y-Combinator / Andreessen Horowitz of China, run by former head of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee. Additionally I look forward to keeping a finger on the pulse as a judge of Founder Showcase.

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