Fireside chats: How to pitch to investors?

I shot, edited and produced this video for Beijing-based tech media startup AllChinaTech.

AllChinaTech’s Co-Founder Wu Nan interviewed David Tang, Managing Director of Nokia Growth Partners, at the inaugural Tech Junction, a tech meetup group based in Beijing. Tang shared his insights on what investors look for at pitch meetings with entrepreneurs and how entrepreneurs should handle investment negotiations.

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Uber China confirms USD 2 billion from multiple Chinese investors

Uber China confirmed Thursday the ride-hailing firm had received nearly USD two billion from Chinese investors without disclosing exact amounts from individual investors.

An Uber China spokesperson said China Minsheng Bank, China Vanke Group Co., and China Broadband Capital (CBC), along with other unnamed investors are behind the investment, in addition to HNA Group, China Taiping Insurance Group, China Life Insurance Company, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (GAC), Baidu and CITIC Securities.

The spokesperson said the Chinese investors have also invested in Uber’s global operations in addition to Uber China but did not elaborate on details. Uber China is an independent arm of the Uber parent company and fundraises separately.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., an earlier confirmed investor, has announced USD  100 million in investment for Uber China’s Series B financing.

China is Uber’s only independent franchise and began independent operations in October 2015. Uber China was established in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone with registered capital of RMB 2.1 billion, and to date has received more than RMB 6.3 billion in investment.

Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick told reporters in Beijing on Monday that its Chinese unit has completed a Series B fundraising, and confirmed the Chinese operation now has a USD 7 billion pre-money valuation.

Kalanick said Uber has a long-term view towards serving cities in China, and the ride-hailing firm is committed to making significant investments in China.

Uber began serving customers in China as a part of the parent company in February 2014 and currently serves in 22 Chinese cities. Kalanick said the number would go up to 100 in the future.

The Uber chief said he spent about 75 days in China in the last 12 months.

“That gives you a sense of the time I’m spending locally here; I only expect that will go up over time, with more and more of our business happening in China,” Kalanick said.

This story was published on AllChinaTech.


Beijing-based smart bicycle startup 700Bike puts the social back into biking

700Bike, a smart bicycle startup, was launched in May 2012. The startup did not produce bikes right away but built a community of avid cyclists in China via its cycling blog on China’s largest social network WeChat, and an app to share news and information about urban cycling.

Besides building an online audience, the startup organizes events for cyclists such as the Chinese Tweed Run – a festival encouraging cyclists to ride in vintage clothing with music and food – Night Ride activities in different cities and co-organizes The Fixed Gear Open Game.

It is reported that between 2012 to 2014, close to 10,000 cyclists participated in events, according to China.com.cn, one of the biggest Chinese state-owned news and information sites.

700Bike now produces bikes that represent China’s new generation of city bikes with features including an embedded digital display depicting track speed, distance and ride time.

700Bike also provides a corresponding app for its bikes allowing users to sync cycling data with mobile devices and even includes a built-in GPS transceiver on certain models that can track bicycles in case of theft.

At 700Bike’s headquarters in Beijing, bicycle-related events are held every Sunday. Past events included tips on riding in thin air regions and the benefits of riding with cleats and toe clips.

Apart from sharing cycling information among cyclists, 700Bike refers to itself as an Internet company that also designs and manufactures bicycles. Zhang Xiangdong, co-founder and CEO of 700Bike, sees the challenge of the city bike market as an opportunity for a new concept of city bikes.

“The Chinese middle class has changed their attitude towards transportation, and their way of life has been transformed accordingly,” Zhang told AllChinaTech.

Zhang is a cycling enthusiast and the author of Best Flight, a book about his cycling adventures in five continents over seven years. He joined the smart bicycle startup in November 2014.

Four months after he joined, 700Bike raised USD 15 million in Series A funding from Banyan Capital, China Growth Capital, and IDG Capital Partners.

Zhang made a bold move in June when the startup began accepting pre-orders for its first smart bicycle series with no information released about the products, no price tags, and no launch day set. After ten days of “blind” pre-ordering, 700Bike claimed pre-orders had reached 20,000 bikes.

“It wasn’t a risk, we just treated it as a small game,” Zhang said. “We didn’t expect to have so many users support us.”

Science China – a part of website China.com.cn – pins the high volume of orders received in a short period down to the cycling community trusting Zhang’s reputation and recognizing 700Bike as a brand. A style of marketing critics often refers to as a “trusted economy.”

It is perhaps quite helpful that Zhang has a massive followers on China’s largest social media website Sina Weibo. He shares news and updates about his company with his more than two million fans on the platform. To put this in perspective, 700Bike itself only has just above 62,000 followers on Weibo.

Zhang states that his reputation can only be attributed to a small portion of the pre-order success. Instead it’s the result of different elements.

“More and more people like cycling and they are looking for a better user experience,” Zhang said. “It’s an opportunity for more aesthetically pleasing bikes.”

Zhang admits that he is not concerned about the smart bicycle market. As a new generation of smart bicycles, he hopes to expand the overall bicycle market in China, which is now dominated by mountain bikes, from 100 billion to 300 billion.

700Bike plans to launch a new series of portable folding bikes next spring.

This story is published on AllChinaTech.


Hong Kong Airlines to add fourth daily Beijing flight

Hong Kong Airlines is set to increase its daily service from three to four flights on the Hong Kong-Beijing route.

The additional flight will depart Hong Kong at 2045 and arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport at 0040. The return leg will depart the Chinese capital at 0125 and land back at Hong Kong International Airport at 0455. Continue reading