Guest Post by Calvin Cheng who will be serving as an advisor at CONNECT Weekend’s Digital Media Pitchfest
It’s an exciting time to be a technology-focused entrepreneur in Southern California. A startup ecosystem has blossomed, anchored in Silicon Beach and emerging in other regions as well such as Culver City, Pasadena and even DTLA. Funding for Southern California startups has also grown significantly over the past several years, from sources such as angels, venture funds, private equity firms and strategic investors.
Yet among the ever-growing buzz and excitement surrounding this phenomenon, angst exists among some entrepreneurs that funding sources remain scarce for Southern California startups. As an entrepreneur in search of funding, one needs to be resourceful, positive, opportunistic and attuned to emerging trends. One such trend is the quiet, even stealthy, emergence of capital from traditionally China-based sources.
Ever more, private (primarily technology-focused) enterprises that have achieved prominence and success in the China market are looking to invest in early-stage American companies (See Outward Bound and Snapchat’s Giant Funding from Tencent). Beyond that, offshore venture funds traditionally focused on investment into China-based startups are now looking to invest in American startups, particularly homegrown startups desiring to establish engineering, development, or design teams or manufacturing capabilities in China, or presenting unique propositions for entry into the China market. Even beyond that, new venture funds established by Chinese nationals with significant deal experience in the China space have sprouted up. These funds also seek to invest in American companies.
The world is flat. And a resourceful entrepreneur will realize the opportunity inherent in a community as richly diverse, creative and talented as that of Southern California.
Join us at the Digital Media Pitchfest on March 15th, 2014 for a collaborative session where entrepreneurs can practice their pitch in front of a live audience.
Calvin Cheng is an associate in the Corporate Department of Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office. Mr. Cheng has advised U.S. and China-based companies, venture capital funds, investment banks, and REITs on a wide variety of matters, including private equity and debt financings, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, periodic reporting under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, compliance with SEC, NYSE, and NASDAQ rules and regulations, general corporate law matters, and real estate transactions. Mr. Cheng practiced in the firm’s Beijing office from 2006 to 2007 and continues to work closely with the firm’s China offices on cross-border transactional matters. Mr. Cheng received his B.A. with Academic Honors and General Distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, where he served as Articles Editor for the Asian Pacific American Law Journal. He previously attended Beijing University and Nankai University in Tianjin, China, where he studied Chinese language, literature, and history.