Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Global Opportunity For Big Data Services

In late 2012 I accepted a short consulting engagement to help a Silicon Valley based investor set up an international angel network in South America and Europe. The purpose of this network was to identify companies from outside the US that would be candidates for Silicon Valley investors. Since late 2010 he number of international accelerator programs was growing at 200%+ annually, however growth in available angel capital abroad was flat to negative. This created an interesting arbitrage opportunity (which I believe still exists) for US based angel investors.
In each country I visited, I took time to investigate the local Big Data expertise. While my perspective is by no means all-inclusive, I did speak with over a dozen VC’s and accelerator programs, and close to 100 start-ups. Across the board, there was little to no focus on developing expertise in Big Data skill sets (infrastructure and tools addressing volume, variety, velocity). The few companies I found working in the space were led by one or two individuals who were having to train local engineers themselves. They have no local talent pool with experience in this space to recruit from.
This strikes me as an enormous opportunity. The Big Data bug is already spreading globally, and the velocity of this spread is sure to increase. Billions of dollars of value will be generated through the move to Big Data, yet the global talent pool seems to be completely under-developed. Does this create an opportunity for a country to take a deliberate approach to developing global leadership around Big Data? Where will larger solutions providers be able to establish international development centers to leverage local skills? What country will be a net exporter of this talent globally?