Driving Strategic Partnerships the Right Way

It’s been a decade since we started the firm back in a small room in Palo Alto, and we have come a long way. We have invested in over 60 companies through the course of four funds. In addition to our headquarters in Palo Alto, we have opened 4 offices in Asia; China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Since inception, we have been laser focused on facilitating partnerships between large Asian corporations and start ups here in the U.S.. I’m happy to report that the team’s efforts have been quite fruitful.

Our success rate has been an amazing 100%. Every portfolio company CEO can specifically point to a partner/customer we have made an introduction to that has resulted in a meaningful contractual relationship.

I believe that our success can largely be attributed to our unique “Collaborative Venturing Model”.

Even before we source our deals, we have extensive discussions with our strategic investors in determining investment themes in particular areas of interest. Our team gets together on a quarterly basis to formulate our investment focus areas based on the proprietary information that we have gathered.

This allows us to dial-in on companies and potential partnerships that we know there is a specific project or initiative in the background, and ultimately make the right introductions at the right timing.

The feedback from our strategic partners that we gather during this process is an invaluable part of our due diligence in assessing the companies’ technology, market fit, and execution capabilities.

The end result we ultimately strive for is a three-way win whereby (1) the strategic LP findings a business partner in a critical business area, (2) our portfolio company gets a impactful early partner/customer, and (3) we get to lead an investment into an exciting company.

The follow up we continue to provide after investment is equally important in forging these value-boosting partnerships. Our activities extend well beyond our contribution as a board member of our companies. In many cases, our team members on the ground in Asia may act as virtual country managers for our companies until we have sufficient business traction to justify a in-country hire to grow the business further.

This unique hands-on approach has enabled us to accelerate business for many of our portfolio companies in Asia; specifically in regions such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.

Furthermore, in over 70% of the time, our strategic partners have elected to co-invest directly alongside us in our portfolio companies. We believe that this is a great testament proving that the relationships are very strategic in nature that warrant a direct investment in the companies we made introductions to.

We continue to take steps to further enhance our on-the-ground operational capabilities in the Asian markets we operate in. We have been fortunate to be able to add very capable members to our local teams. All members are bilingual, bi-cultural, and possess an extensive business development and investment experience.

As Asia becomes more and more relevant to Silicon Valley start ups, we firmly belief that our value proposition will only get stronger over time.

We aspire to help many more Asian companies find strategically relevant partners in Silicon Valley, and in turn, support our portfolio companies expand successfully in the northern Asian markets, ultimately resulting in superior returns to our investors.

Personally, the journey at TransLink continues to be exceptionally rewarding. It’s been a fun ride, and we are grateful for the life-long relationships we have forged along the way. I look forward to the next 10 years!


Toshi Otani

May 03, 2018