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Wed 12 Jun 2024
Investors Outlook: May ’24. Extra Issue.
In the United States, there’s a focus on improving cybersecurity for IoT devices and developing software solutions, while the venture capital scene adapts to new valuations.

In the United States, there’s a focus on improving cybersecurity for IoT devices and developing software solutions, while the venture capital scene adapts to new valuations, especially in the Midwest. South Africa’s economy may pivot with its ongoing elections, hoping to leverage its rich resources for a revival. Kenya benefits from strategic financial interventions, boosting its early-stage investments in climate tech and fintech. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, efforts are concentrated on enhancing renewable energy technologies and Portugal’s real estate sector thrives, attracting global interest despite project execution challenges.


What is happening in the US?


Vishal Arora, Founder at PanCosmic Capital, provided insights into current trends and innovations within the cybersecurity sector in the United States, particularly in areas that intersect with the Internet of Things (IoT). Arora highlighted the growing focus on securing IoT devices located in remote or critical infrastructures, such as manufacturing facilities and energy plants, which are increasingly targeted by cyber-attacks. He noted the absence of foolproof security solutions for these critical environments and mentioned several companies developing robust protections for industrial IoT settings. Additionally, Arora discussed innovations in the software supply chain, emphasizing the necessity for dynamic software bill of materials (S-BOM) solutions. These solutions aim to manage and track external libraries and third-party software components used in developing software products, addressing the challenges of untracked and potentially vulnerable code in deployed applications. Additionally, Jason Jacobsohn, Founder at Propellant Ventures, provided insights into the current state of venture capital investment in the United States, particularly focusing on the Midwest region. He noted that while there is still ample capital available, valuations have declined for later-stage or previously overvalued companies, especially in coastal hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and New York. In contrast, Jacobsohn’s firm specializes in seed-stage investments in the Midwest, where valuations remain relatively favorable and less subject to downward pressure due to their inherent reasonableness. He expressed a bullish outlook on the region, highlighting a funding gap that presents numerous investment opportunities. Overall, Jacobsohn emphasized that despite varying market conditions, the U.S. continues to offer plentiful opportunities for venture capital, tailored to different risk appetites and investment stages. Anthony Jarrin, CEO at The Cannaregio Group, also provided an overview of the current economic climate in the U.S., emphasizing a resilient recovery post-pandemic from 2022 into 2023. While mainstream perception might not fully reflect it, Jarrin noted that the economy has been advancing with strong earnings and revenue growth in the securities market. However, he pointed out significant challenges in the private sector, particularly in industries like hospitality and real estate, which are heavily impacted by high interest rates and labor costs. Jarrin expressed concerns about sustained inflation and its management by the Federal Reserve, particularly in light of it being an election year, suggesting that interest rates might remain high until the year’s end. Despite these challenges, he remains optimistic about the U.S. market, viewing it as a stable investment destination during global complexities. Jarrin predicts continued foreign investment in U.S. opportunities, although he cautioned that running businesses has become complex due to rising input costs, leading to margin compression despite stable or increased revenues.


What is happening in South Africa?


Dale Cohen, CEO at Topaz Asset Management, discussed the current state and potential future of South Africa’s economy amidst ongoing elections. Cohen described South Africa as “possibly the greatest economic tragedy of our time,” citing its natural beauty, mineral wealth and favorable climate, which contrast starkly with the challenges posed by poor governance. With the elections underway, there is hope for a new government that will implement policies conducive to economic growth and attract investment. Cohen emphasized the tremendous potential for economic revival given South Africa’s rich resources and capabilities. He highlighted the significant devaluation of the South African Rand since the 1980s, underscoring the scale of economic decline but also pointing to the vast opportunities for growth if governance issues are addressed effectively. The outcome of the elections could be a turning point for the nation, potentially ushering in a period of recovery and prosperity. Adding to that, Jacki McEwen-Powell, Partner at Schmeckt Foods, highlighted the ongoing elections in South Africa, noting that the country is experiencing a period of instability which, paradoxically, could lead to significant investment opportunities. She emphasized the potential for economic growth in Africa at large, predicting a substantial increase in the population that could drive demand for various products and services. Specifically, she sees considerable potential in technology, particularly the Internet of Things and in physical products that could meet the needs of a growing populace.


What is happening in Kenya?


Florent Nduwayezu, a Syndicate Investor at EUVC, provided insights into recent developments in Kenya’s economic landscape. At the beginning of the year, the country grappled with significant currency depreciation, with the Kenyan Shilling declining from 120 to a peak of 190 against the dollar. Thanks to concerted efforts by the new government and strategic financial interventions, including international loans, the Shilling has strengthened back to around 130. Nduwayezu highlighted a surge in early-stage investments, particularly in climate tech and energy, sectors that are seeing considerable activity and growth. Fintech also remains a key area of focus. Notably, Kenya topped the charts in investment receipts within Africa for the first quarter of the year, marking it as a vibrant and promising hub for venture capital and innovative financial solutions.


What is happening in The Netherlands?


Geerling John Offereins, Co-Founder at TIPPER, shared insights into the business and investment climate in the Netherlands and its global connections, particularly in renewable energy and water desalination sectors. Despite its small size, Offereins emphasized the Netherlands’ significant global influence and the critical need for collective effort in adopting sustainable technologies. With a career spanning 30 years as an investment banker internationally, he sees vast opportunities for progress by aligning resources, knowledge and vision to foster a cleaner world. He praised initiatives that promote collaboration and learning among nations, underscoring their importance in accelerating sustainable development. Offereins highlighted the country’s reliance on wind and solar energy and advocated for the inclusion of geothermal energy, noting a positive but slow shift away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable energy sources.



What is happening in Portugal?


Nin Othon, COO at EndoPure, highlighted the current trends in Portugal’s real estate market, noting the country’s growing popularity as a destination for international residents. Portugal has become a hotspot attracting foreigners from around the globe, which has significantly boosted the real estate sector. Investments are flourishing not only in urban capitals but also across the countryside, driven by the allure of Portugal’s scenic landscapes and favorable living conditions. Nin also referenced the 2020 and 2030 programs initiated by the UN and EU, aiming to enhance development across various sectors. However, he pointed out challenges such as incomplete projects, indicating that while the intent is strong, execution remains an area for improvement. Despite these hurdles, Portugal’s real estate market continues to be a vibrant area of investment and growth.


What is happening in Israel?


Oran Dror, CEO at Dror Investments Ltd., shared updates on Israel’s economic climate. Despite facing ongoing challenges, Israel has seen significant economic growth, with the stock market surging by 50% since November 2023. This growth is reflected in robust fundraising activities on the stock exchange and through debt instruments. Additionally, the Israeli currency has remained stable, trading at about 3.7 since October 2023. Dror highlighted that while there are domestic and international challenges, the country’s economy continues to expand, particularly in the high-tech sector, which remains a critical area for Israel’s international business and exports.


What is happening in Korea?


Oran Dror, CEO at Dror Investments Ltd., reported from Korea, observing that the business environment is notably vibrant. He pointed out that Korea has recently faced a significant currency devaluation, about 20% in the last six months, which has paradoxically strengthened its export sector. This economic shift has also spurred Korean companies to pursue investment opportunities abroad, particularly in the high-tech industry, as well as in real estate, data centers and energy projects. Dror’s insights reflect an active Korean strategy to leverage current economic conditions to bolster its international economic presence.


What is happening in Malaysia and Southeast Asia?


Mohd Atasha Alias, CEO at Prezytion, provided insights into the current investment trends in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. He noted a significant increase in investments in cloud infrastructure, highlighted by major announcements from industry giants such as AWS, Azure (Microsoft) and Google Cloud. This surge is driven by the regional push for AI adoption, which is becoming a dominant trend. Additionally, Alias pointed out that Malaysia, a leading semiconductor producer for global markets, is gaining increased attention due to the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the US and China. This situation positions Malaysia advantageously as a “middle power” in global trade dynamics, attracting further investment. The country is also witnessing growth in companies engaged in R&D, particularly in automation and manufacturing, signaling robust development in these high-tech sectors.


What is happening in Canada?


Andy Srivastava, President at Permanencia Capital Holdings Inc., shared his perspective on the current economic situation in Canada. He described it as a mixed bag, with both positive and negative elements. Historically reliant on real estate, the Canadian economy has been struggling due to high interest rates, leading to increased expectations for rate cuts to facilitate recovery. The country is witnessing a rise in bankruptcies, adding to the economic uncertainty. However, there is optimism about the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting on June 5th, where interest rates are anticipated to be cut. Srivastava believes that such a move will enable more capital to flow into Canada, potentially stabilizing and invigorating the economy.



What is happening in France?


Chloe Roche, Venture Capital Analyst at Auriga Partners, shared insights on the current state of the French economy, highlighting its resilience particularly in the tech sector. She noted significant interest in AI and climate technology, exemplified by the recent Viva Tech summit in Paris, which brought together a vibrant international community for innovation. Despite the optimism in tech, Roche pointed out challenges in the healthcare sector, where early-stage companies are struggling to finance their R&D programs. However, she remains optimistic about the future, drawing positive comparisons to trends in the United States. Roche suggested that dynamic movements in the U.S. library industry often precede similar trends in Europe, including France, indicating potential for upcoming positive developments in the French tech ecosystem.


What is happening in The UK?


Richard Baglow, Commercial Director at New Art Gallery, shared insights from his IT SaaS background, discussing trends in the UK tech sector. He noted that many organizations are increasingly focusing on platforms designed to manage workflows, particularly through automation and generative AI technologies. Baglow emphasized the significant impact these technologies are having across various service sectors by enhancing efficiency, reducing errors and driving cost savings through the minimization of human intervention. This trend is not only prevalent in the UK but is also gaining momentum globally as businesses seek to accelerate automation processes. Specifically, he mentioned how these advancements are revolutionizing the fulfillment processes within companies, including his own, by automating repeatable tasks and streamlining operations.


The 176th G.I.L.C. Summit brought together top investment professionals from around the globe to discuss the evolving economic environments across various countries. To keep pace with the ever-changing world of global finance, make sure to register for future Club events.

Participants mentioned in the article
Anthony Jarrin
President & CEO
The Cannaregio Group
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