#Asia Will Germany win? Fenox Ventures debuts Startup World Cup


The grand prize is a US$1 million investment and Fenox challenges every country to ‘bring their best’


Most of the time, the average startup competition is about investors discovering a company during its infancy with the dream of nabbing a valuable stake in the next Uber for cheap.

Fenox Venture Capital, a global VC based in Silicon Valley, announced today its debut global competition called ‘Startup World Cup’,  with a very different goal in mind.

“Every country should send their best. So I don’t care if it a Series E company. This is the World Cup Finals,” said Anis Uzzaman, General Partner and CEO of Fenox (and man in charge of the competition).

The World Cup targets major conferences and 11 regionals will take place all across the world and 16 startups will be chosen to compete in the finals in San Francisco on March 24, 2017. Every region will have at least one representative.

And here is  the kicker: The champion will receive a US$1 million investment from Fenox as its prize.

The winnings will come in the form of an investment strategy pioneered by Y Combinator called ‘Safe‘ (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). It is meant to act as something of a convertible note replacement — substituting the debt-based strategy while maintaining its flexibility.

“Our thought process is we won’t know if the company is raising at that point. So it will be US$1 million dollar on the next round,” says Uzzaman.

Uzzaman also pointed out that it is a minimum bar because he predicts other investors will be excited to jump on board which would raise the total dollar figure.

“And [regional winners] will get a lot of approachments from VCs and large corporations because I am sure 25 per cent of our guests will be from the Googles, Apples and Facebooks of the world,” said Uzzaman.

The genesis of the idea is the fact that startup ecosystems do not interact much other regions outside of their own. Uzzaman said he hopes the World Cup can become a platform for co-mingling amongst industry players from all across the world.

Maybe because he was speaking to e27, but Uzzaman brought up the (accurate) example of startup media and that with the possible exception of TechCrunch the Asian outlets do not pay any attention to the West and the vis versa is also true.

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“When I talk to startups in Asia, they say they cannot get a hold of good Silicon Valley investors. When I talk to the US startups, they say they want to work with the large population in Asia but they don’t know how to get there because they don’t want to just go out without knowing anyone,” he said.

According to Fenox, internal estimations allow the firm to claim the Startup World Cup will reach about 20 million people.

The first regional kicks off in Jakarta on August 23rd and Minister of Communications and Informatics Rudiantara is expected to be in attendance.

Regional competitions will conclude at the end of February 2017 to allow for proper preparations ahead of the main event in March.

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While March 2017 is a long way off, Startup World Cup is currently advertising its finals judges as Kevin Hale, a Managing Partner at Y Combinator, David Cohen, Techstars Founder and Managing Partner and Eric Feng, a Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

And because of the obvious connection, it is worth noting the German World Cup regional is on September 6 but e27 cannot independently verify if Thomas Müller will participate.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


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