Good morning. For three action-packed days, Hong Kong has been the centre of the tech universe. We’ve mingled with more than 14,000 entrepreneurs and investors, including 580 of the world’s most exciting startups. We’ve heard from the leaders of Alibaba Group, Stripe, WeChat and Google, along with some 240 other world-class speakers. And we’ve met 565 bloggers, writers and reporters from all over the world.
RISE 2017 is over, but the insights shared and connections made will continue to inspire. Here’s a taste of what caught our attention on Day Three.
- Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell told us that Asia has surpassed Silicon Valley in funding for the first time, and not by just a little: Asia, driven by China, received double the funding of the Valley. Jager pointed out that China and India have many times the STEM graduates than the US, and many more new unicorns (billon-dollar private companies) and investors. But what’s next? Africa. Investment in Africa is surging and it has a young, tech-savvy and highly entrepreneurial population that will have more new workers than the rest of the world in ten years.
The transformative power of innovation
- Wherever you are, innovation is the lifeblood of the tech world and internal pivots are vital as companies grow. Lan Kwai Fong Group’s Allan Zeman and PCCW’s Janice Lee shared how they view risk and competition and make the bold decisions that keep their businesses on top. Eric Zhao explained how JD.com, one of China’s largest online retailers, is using big data, AI and drones to transform e-commerce. And Metlife’s Zia Zaman revealed what it takes to drive real change in the insurance sector.
- Airbus CTO Paul Eremenko talked about the challenges of harnessing innovation in connectivity, electrification and digital design and manufacturing in a traditional aerospace leader. He sees speed as the key to unlocking acceptance of risk while continuing to build amazing, safe products.
- The animation industry, too, is at an inflection point. But unlike previous tech-driven waves of change, the industry is now being remade by a shift in consumer habits with the rise of YouTube and other channels, said John McKenna, who heads up One Animation.
- Stephen Wang explained how businesses can connect with the WeChat community of 877 million daily logged in users by being a part of the mobile WeChat lifestyle.
- Matrix Partners’ Harry Man argued that the sharing economy is overhyped in China. He cautions that a lot of startups in this space are becoming purely rental businesses, missing the opportunity to create innovative platforms that do good and reduce waste.
PITCH perfect: Zap Zap Math
More than 250 startups from around the world applied to join PITCH this year, with 66 selected to compete in Hong Kong after initial screening and interviews. Now, after three rounds of intense live competition, Zap Zap Math have taken the RISE PITCH crown for 2017. Before a huge audience, plus a high-calibre judging panel of ZhenFund’s Anna Fang, GGV Capital’s Jixun Foo, and Google’s Bradley Horowitz, CEO Henry Chui did an amazing job from Centre Stage.
Henry, who had never pitched before, carried the crowd with his vision of a game-based learning platform that will help kids worldwide achieve math excellence and a lifelong love of numbers and learning. Congratulations Zap Zap Math and all the great startups we’re heard from this year!
And if you’re considering bringing your pitch to RISE 2018, here are some tips from our judges:
- A good elevator pitch identifies the pain point that you’re going to solve and your addressable market. But you always have to tune the pitch to the opportunity: know who you are talking to and what they want.
- A pitch is a chance to get to know the founder and how she/he thinks. The founder’s ability to make an impact and influence people is hugely important: it’s all about marketing and leadership.
- And if you’re sending a pitch deck, brevity and clarity are vital. Highlight the calibre of your team and include a visual of your product to get the investor’s attention.
So, make your plans. Mark your calendar. And see you next year in Hong Kong from July 9-11 for RISE 2018.