Archive for April, 2006

Off to Bangalore again

Tomorrow I’ll be flying off to Bangalore again; that’s why I had to cut short my visit to Budapest for my mom’s birthday and come back to Frankfurt on saturday.

This time, I will be responsible for all three of our development topics, but since I’ll be only going for one week, the tasks will be different – I will have more of a controlling and quality assurance role compared with the heavy emphasis on knowledge transfer the last time.

After working through the week, I will take the weekend to go to Delhi and perhaps see the Taj Mahal. Also, I’m hoping to be able to buy a kashmiri silk carpet while in Bangalore. 🙂

Add comment April 23rd, 2006

Partnerships and Equity

My friend is running a small guesthouse in London and wants to expand her operations to a larger hotel. Her main concern is how to raise the necessary capital for the real estate purchase. Since she doesn’t want to sell her own property, her options seem to be limited to a bank loan or a partnership with another entrepreneur.
Since the interest payments for a loan would bump up her costs substiantially and she felt she would not have complete control over the enterprise with a bank breathing down her neck, she prefers the partnership option. With this, the biggest concern is that of sharing the equity.
Not willing to invest so much cash that might retain at least 51% of the equity and such the control, I suggested her another approach: Start with maybe 25% equity, but include a clause that entitles you to buying options of 30% in five or ten years – at the actual market price.
Such a move seems to be acceptable to me, as it gives certainty to the silent investor that his money is well taken care of and that he can remain part of the business if he wants to, while it also gives the opportunity to my friend of gaining back the control over the enterprise. Since my friend would be supplying the expertise (and all the work!) to the business, I think this is a fair approach.

Add comment April 17th, 2006

The most desirable place to live

The Independent quotes the 2006 Mercer survey “Managing Quality of Living for Expatriates” that finds Zurich to be the city with the highest quality of living in the world. They take into account factors like security, both crime rate and terrorism-related, public transportation system and infrastructure, access to healthcare, environmental conditions and the like.
Even more interesting than the winner being in Switzerland is, perhaps, that of the first ten cities in this ranking, three are in the Swiss (Zurich, Geneva and Bern) and three in Germany (Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich). Third place went to Vancouver, BC, Canada and I think Vienna is in the top ten as well…
Most of the metropolises rank pretty low, with Los Angeles being the 55th, both London and Paris somewhere in the 30ies and Tokyo in the 40ies. If you think about the environmental effects that the sheer size of these cities take with them, it’s not surprising that they got such a low ranking compared to the jewellry boxes that the Swiss cities are. Even Frankfurt, where I live does not have a lot of traffic or pollution, which makes it an attractive place to live for some people (and score good on the survey).

Add comment April 11th, 2006


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