Exhibition industry veteran, Roger Shashoua, has launched a new investment initiative to help UK and European organisers expand their brands into emerging markets.
Shashoua's investment vehicle, Expofund, will focus on partnering with and funding established brands to enter four main countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). It will provide licensing, trademark registration, financial and local market expertise services in BRIC countries in return for a stake in the UK or European company’s emerging markets investment.
Shashoua claimed the recession left many exhibition organisers risk averse and struggling to find the financial means to head overseas. Additionally, there were plenty of exhibition organisers from the UK and Europe in one BRIC market that hadn’t explored options to expand further.
"With the financial crisis, people have had fantastic brands but have not been able to expand into BRIC countries," Shashoua said. "We will invest in those brands and they can come to us to go after these markets in partnership.
"If they don’t do something with your brand overseas, someone is likely to nick it or copy it. So why not be ahead?"
The latest initiative represents the second iteration of Shashoua’s Expofund model, which launched in 2009 to provide funding to distressed companies and closed earlier this year. Shashoua said his initial investment target for the latest Expofund was 50-75 brands.
He declined to name companies and brands specifically targeted but said advanced discussions with several of the industry’s "largest groups" were underway. Unlike the approach taken by Shashoua’s first exhibition company, ITE Group, Expofund is about matching brands with local organisers, not organising exhibitions itself.
Alongside the BRIC-focused Expofund, Shashoua has also taken the wrappers off a global auction site enabling exhibition organisers from all over the world to sell or acquire exhibition brands, intellectual property and trademarks. The first Global Market Brands Auction kicks off in January 2011 and is focused on London, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Moscow and New Delhi.
"People have brands they want to acquire or sell but don’t know how to," he told EN. "There’s a void in the market for the kinds of services we are planning to offer."
Shashoua claimed the Expofund and Global Market Brand auction initiatives were a world-first.