VCs looking for potential not just promises

Dot com parades like IgniteAsia Challenge tend to separate dot com dreamers from dot com builders with solid business models.
Written by Edison D. Ong, Contributor
Dot com parades like IgniteAsia Challenge tend to separate dot com dreamers from dot com builders with solid business models.

MANILA (Manila Bulletin) - ''To survive in the new economy, businesses should not only sustain a sufficient number of patrons or customers, they must also incorporate a stable and functional business model in order to attract the necessary investors vital to their survival,'' said Nilo Cruz, president and managing director of Compaq Computer Philippines Inc.

He added, "All of a sudden, it is not anymore a question of who was first or who has more, but of who will prevail."

Cruz expressed this view in support of the IgniteAsia Challenge, a contest for non-public Internet companies looking for funding. Compaq is a marketing partner of IgniteAsia. The others are Microsoft, Indosuez W.I. Carr Securities, Pacific Century Cyberworks, Netvigator.com, Bain & Company, LabMorgan, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, IandI (Internet and Information) Asia, Wired Island, eAngelz and CNBC Asia.

Geared towards cultivating and streamlining Asian entrepreneurial talent, and supported by leading organizations, the IgniteAsia Challenge offers Internet companies the opportunity to present their business propositions to an experienced panel of judges from the technology, venture capital and academic sectors.

Cruz said Compaq Computer Philippines, together with its business partner Microsoft Philippines is proud to be part of the event because both companies firmly believe that "success comes from having a solid business structure, worldclass architecture, and an abundance of talent and determination."

Coinciding with the Philippineleg of the IgniteAsia roadshow in Southeast Asia is the announcement of the availability of the Compaq NonStop eBenefits Program which is designed for dotcoms, application service providers, network service providers, portals, Internet data centers and new Internet start-ups.

To join the program, qualified businesses are committed to purchase Compaq ProLiant products in one year, publish Compaq's presence in all service-providers related websites, and involve Compaq's brand in three marketing activities per year.

In a press briefing statement, Edmund Lin, manager of Bain & Company Singapore, said "Internet business can no longer expect to go to initial public offering without a track record of profitability. It is essential to receive the right venture capital backing early on."

He continued, "Dot-coms companies need to shift their attention from being first to market to being the first to scale in their relative spaces. New startups must be prepared to give up a share of their equity to recruit a deep, experienced and credible management team."

Bain & Company together with LabMorgan are first round judges for the Challenge.

Entrants to IgniteAsia need to submit a standard format 3-page executive summary online, each of the chosen 50 semi-finalists then enter a full business plan also on-line. Fifteen finalists are thereupon selected to present for five minutes, to an audience of 250 venture capitalists and edia, at the final conference slated on February 8 2001 in Singapore.

"Entries for the Southeast Asia leg of the Challenge will be accepted via ww.igniteasiachallenge.com until 31 October 200," reminded Ed Milbank, gnite Asia spokeman.

IgniteAsia offers Asian Internet entrepreneurs unparallelled access to the ost important Internet investors in Asia, including major venture capital nd private equity companies. It also facilitates introductions to leading ndividuals and decision-makers in some of Asia's most prominent Internet echnology partners.

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