On September 20, 2019, Startup Grind held The 2019 China Startup Ecosystem Summit in Shanghai. Being a city full of energy and innovation, Shanghai has been a real contender for as a global startup hub in the past few years. Startup Grind’s recent event attracted hundreds of startups to participate. What is Startup Grind and how do they impact the Chinese Startup Ecosystem? Let’s find our answers together.

Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community worldwide. Their goal is to educate, inspire, and connect over 2 million entrepreneurs around the world through events, media, and partnerships with various organizations, such as Google for Startups. By promoting the values entrepreneurs, Startup Grind aims to nurture and grow the startup ecosystem globally.

The 2019 China Startup Ecosystem Summit was an event that brought together VCs, MNCs, and many growing startups, creating a great space for everyone to learn and share. Startup Grind has been actively involved in the development of the Chinese Startup Ecosystem since 2012. They saw that along with the rapid growth of Chinese startups, creating a supportive ecosystem for the startups has become increasingly important.

Erik Walenza-Slabe, director of Startup Grind Shanghai, said in an interview that he started the Shanghai chapter after the organziation had already kicked off in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The interest at the beginning was slow moving, but as more people participate from various industries, there comes exponential growth. Instead of increasing the quantity of the participates, Startup Grind wants to focus more on the quality of the entrepreneurs. Eric adds,

There are a lot of companies that have good, innovative business models and see an opportunity here. I’d say, there is a lot of diversity in the companies we see in Shanghai.

From the research conducted by Kairos Future and Covestro, China’s startups have been growing rapidly in the past few years. There are several factors that affect the booming scene of the Chinese startups: the accumulation of resources and knowledge in the innovation ecosystem, China’s goal of becoming an innovation powerhouse, the expanding consumer demands which lead to the needs of new solutions, and the participation of technology giants and startup communities. While internet services, B2B services, and intelligent hardware have been leading sectors in attracting the most investment, areas like AI, Fintech, automotive and new retail are becoming more and more popular. To keep this momentum, a sustainable and supportive startup ecosystem is crucial for China.

The Ecosystem Summit that Startup Grind held in Shanghai sheds light on the hard work from startup communities. Looking at this event, which contained several sessions with people from different backgrounds and industries, we can see a diverse group of people who are actively engaging in the process of building the China Startup Ecosystem. Assistant GM of Canhejing Innovation Center, Howard Wang gave an opening speech about the experience of establishing the Innovation Center at Caohejing and its accomplishment for the past 30 years.

Throughout the day, the audience had access to tips of becoming a successful Unicorn from the CEO & CSO of Luckin Coffee, Reinout Schakel, China CTO of OYO Hotels, Zou Jia, and the Head of Tencent WeStart (Shanghai), Mark Li during the session called Unicorn Success Recipes. The executives from multinational cooperations and startup communities gave their insights about how to collaborate and create a more open and welcoming startup ecosystem in the new era. Oscar Ramos from Chinaccelerator shared his points of view on how to hack cooperate cooperation as a startup.

Beyond the speakers and panel discussions, one eye-catching part of this Ecosystem Summit is the Startup pitch competition – Hunting the Next Unicorn. From nearly a hundred of startups that applied for the competition, there were 3 winners selected by VCs, such as GGV, Baidu Ventures and Bertelsmann Asia Investments. The competition not only provided a channel for people to learn more about the participating startups and the problems that they are tackling but also present the thriving startup ecosystem in China. The ATIOM Team was thrilled to be selected as one of the winners of the pitching competition and we are looking forward seeing everyone again next year.

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