March 2018

Written by Lee Lin, Co-founder & Partner at Lair East Labs

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Has it only been two weeks since the final presentations? For some of us, it feels like an eternity ago. And yet, for all of you, the most exciting part of the journey lies ahead. However, I want to put a more sobering spin on things right now. The hardest part is yet to come.

We have learned over the years, and from my own experiences, that the first month or two immediately after graduating from an accelerator can be among the most stressful and pivotal moments for early startups. …


January 2018

Written by Lee Lin, Co-founder & Partner at Lair East Labs

WHY NETWORK?

On one hand, networking can be crucial to meeting just the right person who can help with whatever challenge you have as a company. You can also gain buzz, PR, partnerships, and general mindshare in the industry. You can gain good ideas and mold your vision and action plan.

On the other hand, networking is a large drain on time and often leads to no net benefit for your company. Even worse, it’s easy to rationalize almost any meeting as useful for your own learning, or for future options in case your startup goes a different direction. …


Written by Lee Lin, Co-founder & Partner at Lair East Labs

January 2018

LAUNCHING TIPS

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Everyone makes this mistake. They pin their hopes on a big launch event, whether it means getting a burst of press, a release into the app store, a Kickstarter campaign, or even our own Demo Days.

The truth is these types of events at best only provide a small burst that lasts only a few days. They are important ways to potentially gain more partnerships, legitimacy, and team morale, but it's very rare to ride a single event into viral growth. …


January 2018

Written by Lee Lin, Co-founder & Partner at Lair East Labs

We’ve asked you to sign many documents as company representatives and also an individual working for your companies. It’s natural for you to wonder what exactly is contained in some of the scary sounding terms. These are the most commonly misunderstood terms I wanted to cover today.

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Pre-Money vs Post-Money valuations

The way we quote valuations almost seems intentionally counter-intuitive to entrepreneurs. We like to imagine the company as a fixed-pie of shares, and then we divide the pie among founders, employees, and investors. Therefore, most founders think in terms of post-money valuation. For example, “I will sell you 20% of the company for $200,000.” In orders words, the investor will give $200K to the company, and at the end of the transaction will own 20% of the equity. That’s exactly how the show Shark Tank tends to quote valuation. …


December 2017

Written by Lee Lin, Co-founder & Partner of Lair East Labs

Startups raising a seed round from angel investors and early-stage VCs must demonstrate an encouraging level of traction. At the seed stage, there often won’t be revenues or a fully complete product. Even if there are paying users, they are rarely the critical metric. Smart founders use their early customers to gain feedback for their product roadmap, not to maximize profits.

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For the Lair East Labs Summer 2017 batch, we were careful to guide each company to the correct Demo Day metric, specific to their most pressing goals. …


December 2017

Written by Jennifer Pei Lin, Program Director of Lair East Labs

Accelerators are designed for small scaled companies (and even profitable ones) to grow and to eventually raise money from other VCs. Accelerators are like colleges. It’s what you make out of them and what you can do with them post program/graduation. The money that is given to you in exchange for a small amount of equity, think of it as a form of financial aid to kickstart your company.

As the Program Director of Lair East Labs Accelerator and having previous experience running another accelerator (and also being in one myself before), here are my 5 biggest takeaways on how you can make the most out of on an accelerator. …


December 2017

Written by Yipeng Li, Co-founder & Partner at Lair East Labs

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​加速器的关键字是中美。我们刻意在美国,尤其是东岸寻求我们能帮助到的具备中国元素的创业团队。这个元素可以是:留美的华人团队、会讲中文的联合创始人、中国是主要市场、中国是主要供应方或者中国资本在该领域内有所优势。并没有一定之规,只要是自然的中国元素,我们都会予以考虑。

这样的标准看似细分和特别,然而,中美已经是当今世界最大最具活力的两个经济体,商业联系无所不包,人才流动频繁庞杂,所以我们的标准适用性也得到了无限扩大:哪怕是在美国,任何一个企业我们似乎都能找到它和中国的连接点。

很多朋友和申请者常问的两个问题是:中国市场和美国有什么不同?中国投资人的偏好和美国投资人有什么不同?

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但我们最常做的工作却是让大家重视中国和美国的共性: 好产品在哪都是好产品,好团队在哪都是受追捧的好团队。回归常识,保持初心,在做跨市场的扩展和团队融合的时候尤其重要,认知到差别,但不强调差别。以我们第一期的团队Lemon2ade为例:我们的目标是把在中国市场上风靡的迷你卡拉OK小屋部署到美国来。如果我们强调中美文化的差异,很容易得出的结论是:卡拉OK是一个如此东亚特色,中国特色的东西,在美国从来没有在主流的流行过,这会是一个一厢情愿的尝试吧。然而我们和团队的逻辑是:碎片化的娱乐消费是个共性,歌唱作为人类最基本的娱乐则更不分文化和地域,迷你卡拉OK事实上是剔除了传统卡拉OK娱乐里的东亚风格,在美国更容易获得传播。近半年的运行,来自业主方和资本方的反馈到目前还没有证伪我们的逻辑。

事实上,对创业者和投资人而言,横跨中美的视角提供的不是一个让大家去比较中美文化异同的理论研究机会,而是让大家利用大众被差异束缚住认知后去找到可以套利的实干机会。这其实正是过去二十年中国科技产业发展崛起的底层逻辑:中美的巨大差异和认知隔绝,让一批能接触到美国模式和科技的优秀中国人能够在较低竞争强度下在中国市场复制同类企业在美国市场的成功。如今,这样的机会在减少,但并没有消失,而且由原来的单向流动变为双向交流。这也确实构成了我们加速器的两类服务对象:具有国际认知的中国人才和具有中国经验的国际人才。如果你属于其中之一,请让我们看到你.

- Yipeng Li


December 2017

Written by Seamon Chan, Co-founder & Board Member of Lair East Labs

I am excited to finish recruiting startups for the second batch of Lair East Labs. We started Lair East Labs believing that innovation can happen anywhere with a global convergence of technology, so it is important to help startups build relationships in the two largest economies. Talking to Lee about this, he wanted to bring back the early days of YC where there were fewer companies and a more intimate culture of support mentorship. Adding Yipeng’s track record as an investor and operator in China and Jennifer’s previous accelerator experience and cross-border work, we kickstarted the first batch in summer of 2017 with 4 companies. We organized weekly dinners in New York with speakers who are experienced startup founders and operators sharing their experience with growth hacking, hiring, raising capital, etc. …


June 2017

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China is the world’s fastest-growing economy and offers by far the largest opportunity for today’s ambitious entrepreneurs. However, the country’s unique cultural and regulatory environment presents challenges that can intimate even experienced founders. Many industries are ripe for disruption, but what works in Silicon Valley may not apply in Beijing or Shanghai. What adjustments do startups doing business in China need to make in order to successfully launch, raise funding, recruit talent, and protect their intellectual property?

Lair East Labs provides seed stage funding and an intensive 10-week startup accelerator program to guide founders through the entire process from idea development to company formation to Series A fundraising. …


December 2017

Contrary to popular belief, China has recently created many new policies and programs that are friendly to new startups, whether the founders are Chinese nationals or foreign citizens.

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When incorporating your company, we recommend a dual corporate structure to provide maximum protection for personal liability, intellectual property, and shareholder rights. Our legal team will advise your company on how to best enable foreign and domestic investors to fund your company while providing the required assurances that are fair to all sides.

Companies that have already formed an LLC or Delaware C-corp can still properly transition to appropriate entities with minimal disruption to the founders or existing investors. Lair East Labs will guide all portfolio companies through the legal process and advise on continued best practices. …

About

Lair East Labs Accelerator

A NYC based startup accelerator empowers founder worldwide to expand in U.S. and Asia

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