No pain, no gain
Lim does not see the current moribund outlook on US dot-com companies as a damper for Asian companies. "The current shake-out is a moment of truth for some. Companies that have poor business models, weak infrastructure and poor retail planning are not doing well. The fallout and consolidation is actually a healthy and necessary step in establishing a mature economy. History has shown us in the case of telecom, networking and the PC eras that the ground shifts in order to weed out those who cannot meet the needs of the market. Ultimately, good companies with strong management, proven business models and large target markets will endure."
Lim said the market has given US dot-coms a "necessary but painful lesson". "I hope that companies in Asia will learn from it and not make the same mistakes. Every dot-com must think long and hard about how their company will be profitable."
Lim said e-commerce service providers can be part of the solution for Asian companies by offering to mind the store while their clients focus on their core expertise, and on building up their businesses and brandnames.
Asked what Asian dot-com companies would feature on his shortlist if he was a venture capitalist shopping in Asia , Lim cites Sina.com, Tom.com, Alibaba.com, Jobstreet.com, IQMind.com, AceFusion.com, Live-e.com and ECnet.com.
Lim expects Escalate.com to make a significant impact in the ESP space this year and to go public within a 12- to 18-month timeframe.
The Redwood City, California-based company has grown from four to 200 employees in 18 months and is currently in hiring mode. It hopes to add on another 150 staff by year-end including software design engineers, content producers, applications analysts, database specialists, systems administrators, and business development and customers service managers.