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谁是下一个WhatsApp和Candy Crush

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WhatsApp and Candy Crush recently joined the big leagues of technology start-ups done good, prompting tech-shy investors to join the hunt for the digital giants of the future.

WhatsApp和Candy Crush最近加入了成功高科技初创企业的行列,这推动通常回避科技股的投资者开始寻找未来的数字巨擘。
Family offices, wealthy individuals and even some institutional investors have begun to sift through the swaths of up-and-coming technology ventures in the hope of spotting the next big thing.
家族理财室、富有的个人甚至一些机构投资者开始筛选前景看好的科技企业,以期发现下一个巨擘。
Christian Nagel, co-founder of Earlybird, a Berlin-based venture capital company, admits that European investors have in recent years suffered a “horrible experience” when committing capital to start-ups.
总部位于柏林的风投公司Earlybird联合创始人克里斯蒂安•纳格尔(Christian Nagel)承认,最近几年,欧洲投资者在将资金投入初创企业方面遭遇了“可怕的经历”。
“Venture capital as an asset class has not been in investors’ favour, and investment volumes have constantly come down,” he says.
他表示:“作为一种资产类别,风险投资近年不受投资者青睐,投资规模持续下降。”
But he believes the high-risk, low-return dynamic that blighted early-stage investors is shifting.
但他认为,让早期投资者希望破灭的高风险和低回报的格局正在改变。
“We have had discussions with our investors about whether the venture capital model is broken, and we find that family offices are among those who have realised that something has changed,” he says. “There is less capital chasing more opportunities.”
“我们就风险投资模式是否已经不适用与我们的投资者进行了讨论,结果发现,家族理财室等投资者意识到情况已发生变化,”他表示,“机会更多了,但追踪这些机会的资金变少了。”
The recent flurry of young tech companies that have found success at an international level has spurred investor interest in digital start-ups, despite the fact that many investors were burnt not too long ago during the dotcom bubble.
近期一连串在国际层面上获得成功的年轻科技公司,引发了投资者对数字初创企业的兴趣,尽管事实是,很多投资者在不那么久以前的网络股泡沫期间曾遭受亏损。
Just last month King Digital Entertainment, the developer behind the addictive online game Candy Crush Saga, filed for an initial public offering in the US with the hope of raising more than $500m.
就在上个月,深受网民喜欢的在线游戏Candy Crush Saga背后的开发公司King Digital Entertainment,申请在美国进行首次公开发行(IPO),希望筹资逾5亿美元。
Sina Weibo, a Chinese messaging platform similar to Twitter, followed suit last week by announcing plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange with a potential valuation of up to $8bn.
类似于Twitter的中国微博客平台新浪微博(Sina Weibo)最近也宣布,计划在纽交所(New York Stock Exchange)上市,估值可能高达80亿美元。
Social networking giant Facebook also recently surprised markets with its $19bn buyout of instant messaging application WhatsApp in what appeared to be one of Silicon Valley’s best-kept secrets.
社交网络巨头Facebook最近以190亿美元收购即时通讯应用WhatsApp,此举令市场意外,堪称硅谷保守最好的秘密之一。
While the odds of spotting the next Facebook are very long, investing in the next Airbnb, the accommodation website, or Farfetch, the online fashion retailer, is more plausible, according to Stefano Guidotti, chief executive of U-Start, a matchmaker for start-ups that puts selected small businesses in touch with angel investors.
为初创企业牵线搭桥、把精选的小企业介绍给天使投资者的U-Start公司的首席执行官斯泰法诺•吉多蒂(Stefano Guidotti)表示,尽管发现下一个Facebook的机会不大,但投资于下一个住宿网站Airbnb或者在线时尚零售商Farfetch还是比较可信的。
He says: “Digital start-ups are disrupting industries from travel to accommodation to logistics – this is where you can really look for home runs in the investment space.
他表示:“数字初创企业正在颠覆各种行业,从旅游和住宿到物流,你确实可以从中找到投资良机。”
“Models that are growing at an incredible pace have the chance to become a billion-dollar opportunity, and [they emerge] much more frequently than companies like Facebook or Twitter.”
“正以令人难以置信的速度增长的模式,有机会成为价值数十亿美元的机遇,(它们的涌现)次数远远多于Facebook或Twitter这样的公司。”
The one area that investors should steer clear of is the new breed of start-ups aiming to cash in on the buzz around alternative digital currencies such as Bitcoin, according to Matteo Rizzi, partner at SBT Venture Capital, the financial technology-focused firm.
聚焦金融技术的公司SBT Venture Capital合伙人马特奥•里兹(Matteo Rizzi)表示,投资者应回避的一个领域是希望借助比特币(Bitcoin)等另类数字货币所引发的热潮谋利的新型初创企业。
“This is potentially a very risky investment because the return could be very big, or you could lose all of your money,” he says. “It has such explosive potential because regulation could hit this sector very hard and kill it before it gets going.”
“这可能是一种风险非常高的投资,因为回报率可能会非常高,但你也可能血本无归,”他表示,“它具有如此爆炸性的潜力,因为监管机构可能在这个行业站稳脚跟之前沉重打击并掐灭它。”
Rising investor confidence in early-stage technology and digital businesses has been helped by the development of vibrant start-up hubs beyond the US.
美国以外富有活力的初创企业中心的发展,增强了投资者对初创科技和数字企业的信心。
A cluster of businesses focusing on online marketing and data analytics has sprung up in Berlin, while London is home to a growing number of financial tech start-ups. Large entrepreneurial communities have similarly sprouted in Tel Aviv and pockets of eastern Europe and South America.
一些聚焦于在线营销和数据分析的企业开始在柏林涌现,伦敦也出现了越来越多的金融科技初创企业。类似的大型创业社区在特拉维夫、东欧和南美部分地区纷纷涌现。
Mr Nagel says: “In the past most start-ups were in Silicon Valley or New York and you had to spend millions just to start developing. Now we see businesses popping up everywhere as you can develop and test an app overnight with little money.”
纳格尔表示:“过去,多数初创企业位于硅谷或纽约,仅仅启动开发,你就得花费数百万美元。如今,我们看到企业从各个地方涌现出来,你几乎不用花什么钱就能在一夜之间开发并测试一款应用。”
As a result, Earlybird recently launched a fund focused on early-stage businesses in Turkey, central and eastern Europe. It raised $110m from entrepreneurs, family offices and institutional investors including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation.
因此,Earlybird最近推出了一只基金,关注土耳其、中欧和东欧的初创企业。这只基金从企业家、家族理财室和机构投资者那里筹资1.10亿美元,这些机构投资者包括欧洲复兴开发银行(European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)和国际金融公司(International Finance Corporation)。
Family offices founded by successful business people who made their fortunes decades ago have been among the first to realise that an exciting new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged, according to Mr Nagel. “This new breed of entrepreneur does not copy existing US business models, but creates something unique that can be expanded internationally,” he says.
纳格尔表示,由几十年前致富的成功商人成立的家族理财室,首先意识到新一代令人激动的创业家已经涌现。他表示:“这一代的创业家不会复制美国现有的商业模式,而是创造出了能够在全球扩张的独特产品。”
Mr Guidotti agrees, pointing out that many family offices are particularly keen to invest in sectors they already have some experience of. Families with a background in the motor industry, for example, prefer to invest in start-ups in related technology, such as car-sharing or tracking devices.
吉多蒂同意这点,他指出,很多家族理财室尤其热衷投资于自己有一定经验的行业。例如,具备汽车行业背景的家族更愿意投资于相关技术领域的初创企业,例如汽车分享或跟踪装置。
“They see the opportunity in something they can control and understand better than a hedge-fund product, which has not necessarily brought the results they expected,” Mr Guidotti says.
吉多蒂表示:“它们在自己比对冲基金产品更内行的领域发现机遇,对冲基金不一定带来它们期待的结果。”
Although investors are regaining confidence in the tech start-up scene, it is not fool proof. There is resounding consensus that roughly 15 to 20 per cent of even the most carefully selected businesses will fail.
尽管投资者正在重拾对科技初创企业的信心,但这并非稳操胜券。各方的一个强烈共识是:即便是经过最精心的遴选,也仍会有15%至20%左右的企业破产。
To keep business failures – and investor discontent – to a minimum, venture capitalists and groups such as U-Start seek recommendations from accelerators such as Berlin’s Startupbootcamp and academic incubators that provide facilities, office space and mentoring advice to early-stage entrepreneurs.
为了把企业破产(以及投资者不满)降至最低,风险投资家和U-Start等机构从创业加速器(如柏林的Startupbootcamp)和为初创企业家提供设施、办公场所和指导建议的高校创业孵化器那里寻求建议。
Earlybird’s Mr Nadel adds that the main reason a business tends to fail is down to problems with the team dynamic.
Earlybird的纳格尔补充称,企业破产的主要原因往往在于团队动力问题。
He says: “We have declined opportunities where the idea was great but the team was so-so. The team needs to be really willing to create something, not give up first time a cheque from Google comes around. This is not about quick money – if you sell the company or bring it public, the team should stay.”
他表示:“我们曾拒绝那些创意不错但团队平平的机会。团队需要真正具备创造的意愿,而不是在谷歌(Google)第一次送上支票时就放弃。这不是为了快速发财,如果你要出售企业或将其上市,团队应当留下来。”

重点单词   查看全部解释    
social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 
crush [krʌʃ]

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v. 压碎,碾碎,压榨
n. 压碎,压榨,拥挤

 
prompting ['prɔmptiŋ]

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n. 刺激,激励,暗示 动词prompt的现在分词

 
entrepreneur [.ɔntrəprə'nə:]

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n. 企业家,主办者,承包商

联想记忆
confidence ['kɔnfidəns]

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adj. 骗得信任的
n. 信任,信心,把握

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control [kən'trəul]

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n. 克制,控制,管制,操作装置
vt. 控制

 
platform ['plætfɔ:m]

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n. 平台,站台,月台,讲台,(政党的)政纲

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emerge [i'mə:dʒ]

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vi. 浮现,(由某种状态)脱出,(事实)显现出来

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corporation [.kɔ:pə'reiʃən]

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n. 公司,法人,集团

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executive [ig'zekjutiv]

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adj. 行政的,决策的,经营的,[计算机]执行指令

 
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