How far is too far to invest? Your plane’s Wi-Fi may dictate new growth

John Vironis Lightspeed Ventures, Michael Skok North Bridge Venture Partners, Frank Artale Ignition Partners Structure 2012

(L to R) John Vironis, Managing Director, Lightspeed Ventures; Michael Skok, General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners; Frank Artale, Managing Director, Ignition Partners
(c)2012 Pinar Ozger [email protected]

How far are investors willing to go to invest? As long as they get wifi on their flights, the borders are extending further, they told the crowd at GigaOM Structure Wednesday in San Francisco.
“You have to go to where the entrepeneurs are, and where the thinking’s happening,” said Frank Artale, managing director at Ignition Partners.
The VC investors said that while the older, more traditional wisdom might have said investors should stick closer to home when making backing decisions, the incredible growth within the cloud and infrastructure industries in emerging markets has disrupted that conventional wisdom. The investors pointed to India, Brazil, and China as areas where growth is hot.
So why not Europe?
“It’s the culture,” said Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners who is himself European. “And unfortunately it takes a long time to change that. And unfortunately the culture in Europe is not something that embraces failure.”
So what about Brazil, India, and China allows failure and innovation to exist?
“Innovation comes from pain due to growth,” said  John Vrionis, managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “And growth is happening in places like Brazil and China and India. VCs follow growth because they see entrepenerus attacted to growth in those areas.”
But on the flip side, Skok pointed out that there’s a practical reason for investors not immediately taking all their deals to China.
“It’s a relationship-based business,” he said, mentioning a close business associate who started a new business on the opposite coast. “I can’t bring all the network he would want every day in the Bay Area. So it’s really about what value you can add. If I actually had all the networks in Brazil that someone needed, I would be happy to get involved in that.”