Kiwi startup businesses have a new lease on life - and funding - through a valuable link with angel investors and venture capitalists who can provide investment, manufacturing and distribution in China.
Kiwi-based company FunderTech.com is leveraging its relationship with a Chinese investor club that has offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
"New Zealand is a hot-bed for testing great ideas but often lacks access to global capital and consumer markets. China is currently awash with cash and is looking abroad for venture capital investment opportunities,” says FunderTech founder Rob Thomas.
FunderTech gives 5-8 startups per month the chance to pitch their ideas in front of the Chinese investor clubs, comprising 500-800 angel investors. They can also meet visiting venture capitalists who present at the China Globasl Investment Summit each month.
Entry into the summit is limited and exclusive. Startups must complete a pre-application process to match with partners who have a good fit.
Thomas says startups should have a working prototype, early stage sales, validated market research and a stable exit strategy to be well-primed for application success.
FunderTech does charge a nominal fee to attend the summit, which includes flights, visas, accommodation, experiences, conference registration, materials translation and the pitch opportunity.
Thomas explains that angel investors in China are interested in funding new projects in a range of tech sectors, including robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, education technology, Software-as-a-Service, agricultural technology and more.
China's interest in funding startups is not just a pipe dream, as Fortune Magazine reported that China has raised $338 billion for startup investment in 2016 alone - the biggest startup investment pool in the world.
China also has some of the wealthiest investors in the world, as research from Bain and China Merchants Bank found that the number individuals with a net worth of more than $1.6 million has doubled since 2010, and 36% of them are looking to increase investment in more innovative sectors.
“Our doors are open to anyone wanting to have a chat. China is an amazing place full of opportunities and we want to provide kiwi businesses with an easy, reliable and affordable way to access the market,” Thomas says.
While some startups may be concerned about China's handling and regulations surrounding intellectual property rights, Thomas says he has seen many long-term successes in the Chinese market that have been safe from product duplication.
Thomas believes many technologies have long development lead times, however first mover advantage and rapid growth of global market share are also important ingredients in success.
"Anyone can have a good idea but a true innovation is one that is adopted and becomes the benchmark for that industry," Thomas concludes.