Asia BrandTech is a $250mm venture fund focused on cross border opportunities into and out of Asia. It is managed by Gramercy Private Equity , the funds management arm of Gramercy Group. It is based in San Francisco with operations in Singapore and investments throughout Asia.
THREE TARGETS FOR THE FUND
There are three types of companies that the Asia BrandTech Fund targets for investment:
(a) US companies that are forced to be global early in their life cycle and don't have the resources to deal with Asian markets so early in their life cycle,
(b) US companies that have been "born global" but need help in penetrating key Asian markets, and
(c) Asian companies that need help in penetrating the US market.
(a) Companies that are forced to be global early in their life cycle and don't have the resources to deal with Asian markets so early in their life cycle.
Many US technology companies have struggled to enter Asia successfully. New technology companies are forced to be global early in their life cycle or risk a similar fate. But a typical high tech company doesn't have the financial or management bandwidth to effectively be global so early. Asia BrandTech allows such companies to focus on their comfort zone – typically US and European markets - while Asia BrandTech funds the companies' commercialization in key Asian markets in partnership with seasoned local Asian partners. Funding is applied to a "quasi-subsidiary" of the parent company without being on the parent company's balance sheet. When the time comes for the parent company to exit, the Asian "off balance sheet entity" (OBSE) can be rolled up into the US parent based on the relative revenue of the Asian subsidiary to the parent. The opportunity provides the local Asian partners with a level of equity upside from the IPO or acquisition not previously available as a mere distributor or channel partner. This premium quality equity upside attracts the best local partners to help commercialize the opportunity. The accelerated commercialization of key Asian markets allows the US company to achieve higher valuations faster so when the exit occurs the valuation of the US parent will be much larger than it would otherwise be without the commercialization of key Asian markets. Gramercy's principals pioneered this OBSE financing concept during the last 20 years.
(b) Companies that have been "born global" but need help to penetrate key Asian markets
There are an ever-increasing number of companies that have been "born global". They design their products in the West and manufacture their products in Asia or other international territories like Eastern Europe. Often they gain early significant market traction in some international markets but need experienced business development help to be successful in penetrating certain key Asian markets. Many of these companies are not well suited to the OBSE approach mentioned in section (a) above because they are less established in home markets and the sales territories are less discrete and more integrated. Nevertheless they need significant help in getting the right partner and business model mix in Asia. For this type of company, Asia BrandTech will invest directly into the parent company providing necessary capital and expertise for accelerated international expansion into key Asian markets.
(c) Asian companies that need help in penetrating the US market.
There is an ever-increasing number of very promising technology companies from China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia that have proven to be very successful in their home market. These firms can be effectively translated into key US and Western markets but don't have the resources or connections to penetrate these markets. For this type of company, the Fund will also invest directly in providing the necessary capital for accelerated expansion into key markets.
Gramercy has extensive experience translating US technology companies to Asia. Michael Gale and Randy Boyer, key principals of the Gramercy Group pioneered the OBSE financing structure as a cost-effective and low risk way for earlier stage technology companies to expand into Asia and have used this model effectively during the last 20 years. Michael Gale and Randy Boyer used elements of the model and have performed strategic Asian business development in introducing leading technology companies to Asia such as Macromedia, F5 Networks, Akamai, Haht Software, Hitwise, conVISUAL, Zoom Systems, Lightware, Avenue A, IMR, Toggle, UPOC, Varitalk and eMarketer.
Because of Gramercy's long experience in bringing US companies to Asia and reputation in doing so, it enjoys a strong deal flow of leading companies seeking help to expand their operations to Asia. Gramercy also has access to and deal flow with the most promising Asian technology companies who are looking to expand into Western markets.
Roger Buckeridge is currently a director and co-founder of Allen & Buckeridge, a leading Asia Pacific venture capital fund, and has been a venture capital and private equity fund manager since 1985 and an occasional corporate advisor and consultant to Australian companies and governments in the converging information industries. Since 1997 Roger and his partner Roger Allen have raised and invested more than A$250m in more than 50 early stage technology-based companies which have brought products and services to global markets in Asia, North America and Europe. Many exits have been secured by successful trade sales to global publicly listed firms. A&B has often syndicated its investments with prominent venture capital firms, particularly in California, the US East Coast and Hong Kong/China. Earlier, from 1985 to 1990, Roger served as chief executive of CP Ventures Limited, a A$44m early and expansion stage publicly listed venture capital fund that he co-founded with Roger Allen, and subsequently was acquired by another investment group. In 1989-90, he led the raising of another venture capital fund, the A$33m Japan Australia Venture Capital Fund, that was principally supported by the ANZ Banking Group and a group of corporate and institutional investors from Japan.
From 1991 until establishment of Allen & Buckeridge in 1996, Roger consulted to government and industry clients in Australia, in particular on aspects of the emerging information economy based upon the ICT and media industries.
In a thirty-year investment management and consulting career (including six years with McKinsey & Company), he has advised ICT industries clients in the United States, Japan and Australia, and has been associated, during their formative years, with several major venture capital investment successes in Australia. Earlier he trained as a scientist, holding a PhD in chemistry and managed an Asia-Pacific marketing unit within Ford Motor Company.
Michael is CEO of the Gramercy Group and Managing Partner of Gramercy Private Equity and is based in San Francisco. Michael has over 30 years of business, investment and managerial experience in the Asia-Pacific and US markets. In 2001, Michael co-founded Gramercy Venture Advisors, a boutique investment bank focusing on the technology industry, digital media and sustainability and led the development of Gramercy Private Equity, the arm of Gramercy that specializes in Special Purpose Private Equity Funds and is the manager of the Asia BrandTech Fund.
Prior to the founding of Gramercy, Michael spent eight years as CEO of Double Impact, a leading San Francisco based venture catalyst. Michael has helped in the development, funding, growth and exit of over 100 early stage technology companies from around the world. He has extensive international experience in building, funding and managing start-up companies. Prior to Double Impact, Michael was Managing Director of Macromedia's Asian operation during the three years leading to its very successful NASDAQ listing in December 1993. As well as his involvement across the full range of activities at Gramercy and serving on the various group Boards and Investment Review Committees, Michael sits on the Boards of a number of portfolio companies. Michael is also the founder of the not-for-profit global democracy site www.voteglobal.com.
Stephen Tolchin is currently an advisor, board member and investor in early stage technology companies and he is an Advisory Principal at Gramercy Venture Advisors. Tolchin is a limited partner in several venture capital firms. He has served on the boards of directors of MizBiz.com, Web Flow Corp., PowerPlan Corp., Movaris and Double Impact, Inc. He was an executive advisor for many years to Veritas Software Corp, and has been an advisor to Relational Technology Corporation (later Ingres), Bridge Communications (prior to the 3Com merger), Pyramid Technology Corp., Ramp Networks (from early stage through IPO) and Détente Technology (prior to acquisition by Cadence) and to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
He is a Technology Partner at El Dorado Ventures. He ran a small VC fund and organized substantial angel investment rounds. He has also advised Toggle Entertainment, Optimize Solutions Inc., PeopleMover. Inc., and Intelic. He has been an advisor to Common Loop, Celunite, Enterprise Appliances, and a podcasting company.
Tolchin was previously CEO of Webflow Corp. (now Accentuate) and HAL Software Systems, the multi-platform application software products division of HAL Computer Systems, where he also was Vice President of software engineering for the computer systems business. HAL is a Fujitsu owned company.
Prior to that, Tolchin was Vice President of software development at Pyramid Technology, a public manufacturer of high performance, scalable Unix server computers (now owned by Seimens), and also had responsibility for various marketing functions, including the $80 MM Telecom Business Unit. Tolchin was also vice president of engineering and chief technical officer at NetLabs.
Tolchin was Technical Director at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he developed a large-scale client-server based clinical information system in the early-mid 1980's, Tolchin was supervisor, software engineering, Unix systems and Principal staff at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, a $400 MM defense contractor, where he led the development of HIOS, a large-scale integrated office automation and collaboration system for the US Army. At APL he also led development of local area network technology and database technology during 1979-1986. He was also vice-chairman of the graduate computer science program in the Johns Hopkins University GWC Whiting School of Engineering, and was an assistant professor with joint appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering.
Prior to this, Tolchin managed major information system projects for Blue Cross-Blue Shield of greater NY, and worked for Analytic Services Corp. He also founded and operated a manufacturing business in the consumer goods market.
Tolchin holds a B.S in Physics from City College of New York and an M.S and PhD. in Physics from New York University.
Asia BrandTech - A Gramercy Group Fund
548 Market Street, #27695
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: + 1 415.295.4650
Fax: +1 415.354.3487