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What opportunities lie further afield for Western tech leaders?

Established companies are worried about disruption on home soil, that "Kodak moment", but there are investment opportunities abroad, says entrepeneur Hercules Fisherman.

If ever a word became synonymous with change within an industry, disruption would surely be labelled as one of the most used and fastest growing.

So it comes as to no surprise that it cropped up during a chat about tech investment opportunities with serial tech entrepreneur and company advisor Hercules Fisherman.

Fisherman is the founding CTO of Fizzback, the first scalable customer intelligence analysis platform and Voice of Customer system (VoX) which exited back in November for just over $88m to Nice Systems.

Fisherman is also an advisor at various incubators, accelerators and institutes including Oxygen Accelerator, Seedcamp and Founders Institute.

But back to his views on tech investment opportunities.

“Disruption is going to come and disruption is coming to companies who we think are ahead of their time.”

He brings up Kodak and Xerox – the former now infamous for its sudden fall from grace, sometimes cruelly labelled as its “Kodak moment”.

“They were pioneers in their field, vanguards…”

It’s not a new theory: the rise of digital, nimble footed start ups which are making their names through their innovation have ramped up the pace of technology.

And it’s a speed hard to match by the larger, established corporates.

According to an Innosight study, the average life span of companies in the S&P 500 Index dropped from 61 years in 1958 to 25 years in 1980—to 18 years now.

“Companies are trying to learn how to be adoptive (sic) to change” Fisherman goes on to explain.

That’s one way of going about it, but it’s quite tough for a large company to suddenly turn innovative – without acquiring a start up of course.

What about looking to other, less established markets though?

Tech investment opportunities in China, India, Brazil, parts of Africa are huge.

All have burgeoning populations and economies supporting growing numbers of middle classes.

Stayzilla is an online marketplace for room bookings, very much like AirBnb, in India and is seeing some very impressive returns.

And in general, India’s financial technology sector is absolutely ripe for tech investment opportunities.

According to the Bank of India, more than 40% of the Indian population does not have access to banking facilities, rising to 61% in rural areas.

Furthermore only 11% of the Indian adult population have access to a loan facility.

As a result, New Call Telecom is now raising more than $100m to scale up operations in India and introduce digital services across the subcontinent.

Knowledge about the potential of other markets is well discussed but poorly implemented; even Huffington Post has had to question why.

Basically, there’s a way here for these areas to “bypass elements of traditional technology.”

It’s called leapfrogging.

But what’s interesting about the leapfrog versus legacy tech is that companies within the West facing the possibility of having their systems streamlined by start ups would have more room and time to innovate if they looked and settled further afield.

Legacy tech will kill the CIO, but if they’re brave and research those BRIC nations, they could be the ones grasping those tech investment opportunities and causing the disruption themselves.

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