16. June 2014–
It is widely understood that German investors tend to be more risk averse than their American counterparts. In response to this situation, the six-month old Berlin-based firm ChalkRow Ventures is designed to help early stage tech startups connect with investors in New York City. Most recently, ChalkRow announced a partnership with VentureOutNY, an initiative sponsored by DFJ Gotham Ventures which aims to “bridge the gap between tech talent abroad and the opportunities in New York City.” ChalkRow plans to launch its first product, a platform for US VCs and international founders to connect, in September.
The concept begs the question of why international startups cannot connect with US VCs on their own. To this ChalkRow Managing Director Chaney Ojinnaka responds, “Startups could connect to US VCs on their own, but typically its a challenge as they don't understand US institutional investors and their requirements of entrepreneurs in the early stage. Besides, US VCs prefer warm introductions.” The product will provide an “alert matching mechanism” where US VCs can request to be connected with founders through their online ChalkRow profiles. ChalkRow then organizes the meetup between the parties.
ChalkRow is currently focussing on matching founders with New York City VCs, which is strategically significant because firms such as its partner VentureOutNY are looking to draw startups away from the traditional choices in Silicon Valley. According to Ojinnaka, VCs in New York City are now looking to Europe to seek deals.
“New York is now the fastest growing VC market in the US,” says Ojinnaka. “Also, American firms understand that EU startups, when they have the right features, are capable of capturing a much bigger market (EMEA) than American startups. Delivery Hero is a perfect example of this.”
Though New York City is the focus for the product launch, Ojinnaka plans to expand the platform to include other American cities in the future.
Image Credit: ChalkRow Ventures