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"Europe is a fat cow, it can't grow any more,"says Roger Shashoua, the man responsiblefor co-founding international organiser ITEGroup and making a fortune from migrating exhibitionsinto the emerging markets. Shashoua should know. He made a name for himselflaunching exhibitions in the emerging markets of China andRussia. His first Expofund capital investment vehicle, heclaims, made a return of over 200 per cent on a seven-figure investment. Now the entrepreneur is looking to enter a new arena withExpofund II, investing not in the acquisition and redirectionof distressed assets, but in the acquisition and sale oftrademarks and brands. He's also looking to create an"online market for the exhibition industry".The new venture, Global Market Brands (GMB), works asa facilitator for companies looking to take their brands fromthe mature markets of Europe and the US into unfamiliarterritory. In basic terms, it will protect a company'strademark and brand in the market it's looking to enter, thenmatch it with receptive companies or associations capableof working with the company to successfully launch itsbrand in that market.Expofund II remains the financial engine that makes eachproject possible."There's simply no growth in the mature European marketat the moment," reiterates Shashoua. "The only growth forany business, long-term, is in the BRIC markets: Brazil,Russia and its regions, India and China."But with the economic crisis, no one wants to risk theinvestment. UBM and ITE are strong enough financially tobe able to get into these markets, but even then they canonly cover the tip of these enormous markets - you'd needa hundred such exhibition companies for India alone."Shashoua co-founded ITE in 1991. "When I went intoRussia, no one wanted to go into Russia with theirsuccessful shows. But ITE's success was based on alicence of just four brands." Healso began his Chinesebusiness in 1981 in the samemanner, eventually selling it onin 1989. However, despite theprevalence of people enteringand leaving markets all overthe world, Shashoua saysthere is still no market onwhich to trade brands andtrademarks. So perhaps it is this final part of his new venture that willraise the most eyebrows: the creation of an auction site fortrademarks and brand names. "There is no online facilityfor those who want to sell or invest in brands, and the timinghas never been better," he claims.The plan is to provide a forum where anyone who wantsto acquire, sell or licence a brand can enter and startbidding for it. "The Chinese, who are exporting everythingworldwide, are dying for Western brands to stick to theirproducts so they can sell them," he says.Around 30 years ago, Shashoua ran a patent licensingcompany in the US. "If you had a patent and didn'tknow where to sell it, you would come to my company -Patent International. It became the largest patentlicensing register in America, with 66,000 clients. "The problem was, there was no Internet exposure at thattime; everything had to be done in hard copy or by Telex. Icouldn't see a viable model at the time, so we sold thecompany."But I came back to this concept because of the presenteconomic crisis," he says. "It works because it givespeople a way to profit from their existing brands without riskor investment. It's like saying 'I'll buy some of your shares,and then I'll make a market for them so that people can buyand sell these shares'. It also gives them an exit."Shashoua is now at work setting up the auction site.Initially the business will run like a conventional auctionhouse such as Christie's in London, but in time people willbe able to bid, just as they can on Ebay."For the industry, no question, the timing is absolutelyright for the purchase, sale or licence of trademarks andbrands. An auction site where people can buy and disposeof brands, bypassing Expofund, is the logical next step,"he concludes.With eight clients already committing their brands,according to Shashoua, he expects Expofund II to be fully invested by the end of the year. It seems he is off to agood start.Interview| Exhibition World32| Nov/Dec 2010| THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NETIMEX is taking its brand abroad next yearOn the brandwagonRoger Shashoua, the founder of Expofund, talks to EWabout his latest venture;helping companies to launch their best-known brands in the emerging markets.Roger Shashoua

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