Entrepreneur turned Investor Bernard Moon is a Co-founder & Partner at SparkLabs Group, a network of accelerators and venture capital funds that has invested in over 280 companies across six continents since 2013. Here are his views on the Asian and Berlin startup ecosystems and how they align with the vision of SparkLabs.
“As a VC firm, we want to help grow startup ecosystems across the world, and an important factor is collaboration and knowledge sharing. And to build successful environments for startups, it isn’t a winner takes all but all boats rising together situation. Being part of an active organization like AsiaBerlin allows me to connect and contribute with various members that I meet, and to the vision of AsiaBerlin,” says Bernand when asked what motivates him to be a part of the AsiaBerlin community.
Since his first startup over 20 years ago, he has always enjoyed giving free advice to all entrepreneurs seeking help beyond his VC firms’ objectives. “This was before I moved to Silicon Valley 16 years ago, but I discovered that it was a big factor in Silicon Valley’s success. I mean this “pay-it-forward” culture that we now try to replicate across our various accelerator programs and the cities we have established ourselves in,” he says.
Previously, he was Co-founder & CEO of Vidquik, a web conferencing & sales solutions platform. Bernard was a Managing Director at the Lunsford Group, which is a private investment firm with holdings in real estate, healthcare, and other industries. Bernard was Co-founder & VP of Business Development of GoingOn Networks, a social media platform for companies, and also led their product development where BusinessWeek recognized them in their “Best of the Web” list.
Beyond the Silicon Valley Startup Ecosystem: Asia
The thesis of SparkLabs since the founding in 2013 has been that innovation and entrepreneurship will become more distributed and away from Silicon Valley. This thesis has become a reality over the years and will continue as more and more countries have produced tech unicorns. “I believe a recent count was 31 countries in the world have one or more unicorns versus even 5-7 years ago when it was a third of this number. Outside of our existing presence in South Korea, China, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore, we like Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.” He further explains:
- As venture capitalists, Vietnam is an up-and-coming startup ecosystem with solid software engineers and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The venture capital industry needs to develop further, but definitely a market to become more involved with.
- Japan has world-class engineering talent, a decent venture capital ecosystem, but it needs a more active entrepreneurial culture.
- Indonesia is difficult to ignore since it’s a country of over 270 million and a third of the population under 30. There is a decent amount of startup and investor activity, so we are just seeing how the population with disposable income develops.
Commenting on the vibrant Berlin startup ecosystem, he says, “For Berlin, the entrepreneurs and melting pot of talent is really attractive. The angel and venture capital industry needs some further development, but definitely a city that we would love to build a presence there in the coming years.”
Listen to Bernand Moon’s talk at AsiaBerlin Sumit 2019 (formerly Asia-Pacific Week Berlin) as he highlights what needs to be done before a company or an enterprise should implement any kind of innovation activity into their daily business.