Rise 2019 in Hong Kong: Entering the Chinese Market Featuring 830 Million Internet Users
We barely had time to catch our breath after IRCE in Chicago and soon left for Rise in Hong Kong, the largest technology conference in Asia. Since we are planning to open an office in Singapore, Rise was a must-visit for us.
This conference helps to enter the Chinese market with 830 million Internet users in 2019 (with only 60% of connectivity).
Rise is a technological conference for startups conducted by the organizers of the Web Summit in Lisbon. This year, 553 investors, 385 speakers, 800 media representatives, and 777 startups took part in it. Even though Rise is about five times smaller than Web Summit, this is still a major event for the startups of the Pacific Rim.
The conference lasts for three days and the startups change daily. The exhibition hall is divided into three sections:
- startups in the alpha stage;
- startups in the beta stage;
- startups in the growth stage.
We were allocated to the beta section on the second day because our startup isn’t new, but we haven’t raised any investments yet.
We have been working for 11 years, had a few big clients, and our product functions well. Even though we have been earning well for a while now, it’s hard to grow without additional investments. To grow tenfold, we need money for marketing and developing our product in the new markets.
The investments in Hong Kong include governmental support and accelerator grants. The local government invests a lot of money, but the startup should be focused on the Asian market and should know the right people in order to be successful.
A part of the conference was dedicated to startup pitching assessed by a jury represented by investors. Only 60 teams were picked out of 800, including us. Although we did not get further than the qualifying round, we managed to generate some quality traffic for our stand, got invited to the Oracle marketplace, and attracted several leads from the international companies in the Pacific Rim.
Try to avoid our mistakes during your pitch
Each pitcher gets just three minutes to speak and answer the questions, while our presentation was longer. We didn't check the timing in advance and could not change the presentation because it was sent along with the pitching application. So our presentation was shorter than expected, and even though we were on time, it wasn’t enough to tell everything.
You should start getting ready for the pitch even before you get the invitation. Most importantly, find a way to make your pitch memorable (it’s easier for B2C startups since their projects can appeal to the viewers’ and the jury’s feelings).
Our project is B2B, which is why it cannot attract every member of the audience. Nevertheless, we could have personalized our pitch by starting with a problem outline: “Imagine you are a brand manager who solves different tasks daily”. This is how we are going to organize our next presentation.
We talked about the 24orm service, a solution for large manufacturers selling at online retail platforms and marketplaces. The service allows to monitor the product content, such as descriptions, images, videos, feedback, and analyze it, compare it with competitors’ content and calculate the appropriate volume.
24orm is powered by the neural network technology which recognizes (with a 98.8% accuracy) how the users view the content. It helps to optimize product cards to make the process of purchasing more convenient. Such tools significantly increase the conversion rate and sales.
Rise offers mini stands to startups for one day (€900) and to large companies for three days (€16,000). Stands help to generate a lot of leads: we got about twenty-five target leads such as an international beauty brand and large Amazon and Alibaba sellers.
Stand out from the crowd
Many visitors came to see our stand thanks to our pitch session presentation and unconventional marketing. Last year, we created an AR mask of a football player for Web Summit, and this year, we developed a “Raise Investments” AR mask using our 24ar service.
We installed an iPhone camera with video streaming that recognized people approaching our stand and bathed them in gold coins. It sparked curiosity, so many people came closer to have a look.
It’s very important to find a way to distinguish yourself from the others during an expo. Organizers provide each participant with a standard spot which includes a table and a 1x1m information sign featuring a company’s logo and description. Most people will more likely read descriptions rather than look at the stand. If they find it interesting, they come closer to get acquainted.
It’s also useful to come up with engaging activities: install monitors, play videos, attract people with interactive tools, give visitors a chance to try your product and etc. Simple flyers don’t work anymore, especially when it comes to technological events.
First of all, I’d like to mention a curious startup from Hong Kong, Parkingbnb, a mobile app for finding the best parking spot.
Parkingbnb monitors the occupancy rate of parking lots and books a place for your car using its number. At first, this startup tried to get governmental support in Russia, but it didn’t work out. A year ago, they arrived in Hong Kong and got two-year state support along with a 900,000 Hong Kong dollar development grant and $150,000 from private investors.
This year, they came looking for partners among property owners and investments for the next stage of development.
TG3D was another great product that attracted us as a potential partner. It’s a human 3D scanner by a company from Hong Kong. It is considered to be placed in fitting rooms to make shopping easier.
Sensors scan the body and silhouette according to several points. Then the data goes to the cloud where a 3D avatar is created. It will help customers find clothes of a suitable size quicker.
Such fitting rooms are already available in Zara, Uniqlo, and other shops. Such scanners can also be mobile. During the delivery of an online shop order, a customer is scanned, and his or her 3D avatar can be used to make orders in the future.
Fun with Balls
We believe Fun With Balls was the best quarterfinalist in our pitching group. This startup makes ball games more exciting. For example, the company added color effects to squash, and during the game, there are targets, cartoon characters, and score displayed on the wall. All of this makes playing much more fun. It’s easy to show such a solution on the scene and excite the whole audience.
As for the finalists, we liked Booqed, an Airbnb for offices. This startup helps to rent out meeting rooms, offices, and tables. It’s convenient for those on business trips and freelancers who can now easily find a free spot for work and meetups.
It also helps teams to spend less on renting offices as they can work remotely and rent meeting rooms when necessary. Booqed is rapidly growing, it’s at the seed stage at the moment.
Evening events are made for networking. Volunteers equipped with signs meet you in front of bars and show you where to go. This is the easiest way to make acquaintances as everyone wears a badge even in the evening. Rise has a mobile app of its own that helps to scan participants and find like-minded people. All of this makes networking more efficient.
There are also some invitation-only events. We attended a party organized by Reputation House. The company rented a bar for a couple of hours and invited all e-commerce representatives to get acquainted with each other. Events of the kind help to meet many new people.
Rise is the largest startup conference in the Pacific Rim. It is a place where you can find investors if your product is oriented on the Asian market. Most investments come from governmental structures, which is why you need to find a way to talk to the right people and participate in private meetings.
Try to find your way to the pitching and come up with several activities when exhibiting to attract attention. Also, make sure to visit networking parties.