G.O.A.T!! (Part III)

BitNexo
4 min readApr 13, 2015

This is the final part of the GOAT adventure. Here are Part I and Part II

Richard Robinson’s home, Baidu HQ

In Richard Robinson´s living room

The next morning we bussed to the outskirts of Beijing, to Richard Robinson’s home. A legend in the China Startup Scene, Richard shared his story from running across the globe for most of his 20s, to landing in China by chance and his entry into the internet business. Perhaps the most impactful of many stories was about a startup where he kept persevering for two years after it became clear the model was doomed. He had a difficult heart to heart with a mentor and investor (who ended up backing him again). The investor was understanding and fully supportive, but told him “you should have given up on this business two years ago.” This was a great validation of Wu Hai’s statement “Your money, My Business.” As entrepreneurs, we are faced with difficult decisions daily. You will receive advice from all along the spectrum of ideas. However, at the end of the day you have the ultimate responsibility to make a decision… and live with the consequences.

After a pizza/pasta/wings lunch with Richard we bussed to Baidu HQ, where Kaiser Kuo gave us the rundown of what’s known as the “Google of China”. Except that Google can’t get past the Great Wall, and Baidu is pioneering a lot of proprietary technology. This again begs the question: “Do you want a global model, or how about just all of China?”

Chinaccelerator Batch VII @Baidu

Alibaba

We left Beijing on another overnight train and woke up in Hangzhou. An hour in bullet train, or two hours driving from Shanghai, Hangzhou offers a large metropolis with noticeably more green public areas, beautiful West Lake, and a burgeoning tech scene anchored by commerce juggernaut Alibaba.

It was impressive. We started the day pitching to employees who are part of Alibaba’s 阿里巴巴加速器 Tech Incubator. I ended up speaking with two Latin American employees who faced the exact pains we’re trying to alleviate - getting funds from LatAm to China without paying an exorbitant fee. Afterwards we went upstairs to get a look behind the curtain.

Darren in front of the Zhifubao payments viz
Chinaccelerator behind the scenes

Finally: Zhejiang University, World Entrepreneurship Program

To close out our trip we stopped by the prestigious Zhejiang University campus in Hangzhou, which makes some lists as the #2 university in the country, and checked out the WEP. We met with aspiring entrepreneurs from around the globe such as Sri Lanka, Nigeria, France, and Panama. Sandwiched between Chinaccelerator pitches, the WEP students impressed with their desire to build businesses and their ability to articulate.

After the pitching we went on to do the marshmallow challenge, reminding both seasoned entrepreneurs and aspiring MBA students alike that experimentation is the key to success. In our same teams we were given a challenge to pitch a business based on a set of criteria. The pitches ranged from the bizarre to the absurd, from inspiration to pure satire. After a great day with the students we boarded the bus to head back

Darren and the WEP students
Hangzhou train station

Bullet train to Shanghai reaching speeds over 250 km/hr we rested, chatted strategy, and finally staggered home exhausted from a fulfilling yet draining journey. Next a full weekend hackathon, then back to changing the world one solution at a time.

Darren and Constance on the bullet train back to Shanghai. Happy to be headed home.

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BitNexo

BitNexo is a financial consultancy which provides software services related to digital payments and transfers. We operate in Asia and Latin America