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Want VC from Google? Here’s the guy who decides whether to invest in your business (or not).


Amin Zoufonoun is a senior member of Google’s Corporate Development team, which is responsible for evaluating, negotiating and executing Google’s mergers, acquisitions and investments.

He has led a number of Google’s key strategic acquisitions in the U.S. and internationally. At X|Media|Lab Global Media Ideas on 18 June, 2010, Zoufonoun will share his thoughts and experiences on start-up success.

In an advance email interview, we asked him to share his views about future opportunities for Australian startups and what he looks for when evaluating investments.

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing / game-changer in

Digital media that will attract investment dollars?

I believe the web will continue to be at the forefront of innovation.

As mobile devices provide richer web experiences, applications and even traditionally offline content move to the web.

There will continue to be waves of successes as technologists develop new ways for people to interact with information and services online.

Q: How will the Asia Pacific market fare for tech investments for the next 18 months?

The world is more connected than ever, and the current financial crisis is a global one that affects everyone directly or indirectly. Until we see continued stabilisation throughout key markets and hopefully some surprises from emerging ones, it is difficult to say what will happen in the next 18 months.

Q: What is your approach for evaluating potential investments?

At the highest level, our focus is on user experience. We believe if we do what’s right and what’s needed for users, success will inevitably follow. As such, we look for technology, products, services and people who can help us create better products and services to serve the global community of web users.

Q: Best advice you would give a start-up looking for growth capital?

There is so much to talk about here, when, with whom, how much, why/why not, how to structure.

My best advice is for entrepreneurs to seek the advice of seasoned and successful entrepreneurs who have faced similar situations to avoid a costly mistake. It is sometimes difficult to turn down money, but sometimes that’s the right thing to do.

On the other hand, sometimes one needs to raise capital when there isn’t an apparent need. The art of raising capital is just that: an art. As such, it should not be taken lightly as when/from whom/how much/how money is raised affects many aspects of the company going forward.

Q: What will your focus of your keynote presentation at Global Media

My focus will be on where we’ve been and seem to be going on the web — how much work there is still to do in old and new areas, as well as what start-ups should understand (about corporate investment/m&a) and do to position themselves for success.

Q: What experiences and skills will you be sharing with your ‘Lab’ mentoring projects at Global Media Ideas?

Having spent seven years at Google in a role that has enabled me to be at the forefront of strategy and innovation both internally and externally, I would like to share my experiences concerning start-up success, failures, pitfalls and opportunities.

Amin Zoufonoun is a speaker at the X|Media|Lab Global Media Ideas Pro Day Conference on 18 June 2010, Sydney. He will be speaking among powerbrokers from Mobile Entertainment Forum, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Starz, StumbleUpon, The New York Times, MIT and more! Find out more.