By Quentin Gigon, Junior Project Manager - Innovation & Entrepreneurship
For the past few years, China has seen its economy grow at a fast-paced rhythm with a keen interest towards innovation, making it an ideal location for high-tech startups to stress-test ground-breaking technologies while seeking international expansion. Moreover, it goes without saying that China also opens doors to other Asian markets. Nevertheless, foreign companies doing business here are faced with a set of challenges both cultural and operational, tangible and intangible. These challenges are amplified if these foreign companies are small and have only limited financial resources and manpower.
In light of the above, the Venture Leaders China program was launched to offer a platform for a selection of 10 disruptive startups from Switzerland to connect with China over a 10-day roadshow across 5 cities: Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin. The trip included business workshops, investor meetings and public events. A few weeks ago, the 5th consecutive edition of Venture Leaders China 2018 ended after 10 days full of learning, memorable experiences, and, most importantly, valuable contacts from various industry professionals of the local startup ecosystem and multi-million and -billion-dollar investors.
All in all, as we look back at this 5th edition of Venture Leaders China, we can be more confident than ever that this program is an ongoing success story. All the startups showed high levels of satisfaction regarding the trip, with some of them already having secured investments, signed agreements and booked flights to come back in the next few weeks for follow-up meetings with potential investors and clients that were met during the trip. Moreover, the feedback from the audience of the various pitching events was nearly unanimous: the quality of the startups was one of the highest they have ever seen, and the pitching events were among the best they have attended. The valuable agreements signed here as well as these laudatory words provide evermore justification for the program and remind us of the high potential of Swiss startups, but also of the importance to support them. Today’s big firms were yesterday’s disruptive startups and the Venture Leaders platform provides the perfect gateway for startups to accelerate their growth, which eventually will lead to positive spillovers back in Switzerland, in terms of both employment and an increase of the quality of the already excellent Swiss innovation ecosystem.
More information below including testimonials and details of the individual events.
This year, the delegation was composed of Jordi Montserrat and Beat Schillig of Venturelab, Mathias Paquier of Canton de Vaud, Michael Friedrich of DistalMotion, Reto Naef of Topadur Pharma, Aurélien Rizk of InterAx Biotech, Marco Salerno of Foldaway Haptics, Raj Lehal of Cellestia Biotech, Noris Gallandat of GRZ Technologies, Zhenzhong Su and Lukas Meier of Fixposition, Carlos Ciller of RetinAI, Matthew G. Hall of SimplicityBio, and Nilson Kufus of Nomoko.
The program started in Hong Kong with a morning at Invest HK, the local investment promotion bureau, with insights from Charles Ng and Jayne Chan into the attractivity of Hong Kong as a place to do business, as well as Karena Belin of WHub discussing the local startup ecosystem, while Peggy Cheung of Jones Day offered a presentation about IP and Licensing.