Do you have what it takes to pitch Chinese investors? It’ll take more than a general elevator pitch and fancy investors deck. But don’t let yourself get intimidated- you’re already at an advantage. We’ve previously written about how the Chinese business ecosystem is eager to join forces with the many innovations coming out of Israel across all sectors- so you have that going for you. At this point, assuming you’re at the top of your game with your product/service, it’s all about presentation.
Chinese Investors Are People Too
As a hungry startup, we understand that you might initially view investors as beings that are made of money. Sure, they might have a lot of money, but they are just as human as the rest of us. That means they are also to be viewed as a potential user you are trying to acquire… a potential user that can open the door to many more users.
That doesn’t mean you can just shoot out mass emails to get their attention. In China, WeChat is king. There are millions of business and enterprise accounts on WeChat, as well as entrepreneurs and investors. The Chinese are very responsive on WeChat- it’s nothing like how most western people proceed with caution on WhatsApp. The Chinese are just a message away- but you must do so with tact. Cultural sensitivity is one of the first things you will have to rewire yourself on.
The Right Approach
The Chinese culture generally frowns upon people who aggressively show off as they sell themselves, and put themselves front and center. But you still need to get your message across! The best way to subtly grab their attention is for your company to have a great name that clearly indicates what you’re about. Think about some of the best Israeli companies that got noticed and got investments from companies in China: VisualLead, got investment from Alibaba, Playtika, bought by an American company, and then by a Chinese company and more. They all have an indication in their names which indicate what they’re about. Through the name alone, those companies already got halfway through the door, because the name also softly served as a pitch.
You also need to be able to say, in one sentence, what it is that you do. Take Magisto (got an investment from Li Ka-shing) for example, one of their one-liners is “Magisto automatically turns your everyday videos and photos into beautifully edited movies, perfect for sharing.” Boom. What else is there to really say? That’s everything, very gently stated. If anything, it leaves room for further questioning and discussion. This later go a C stage $13M investment from Chinese VC Horizon Ventures.
To sum it up, as stated by Chinese investor Xu Xiaoping at a Sina startup event,
You need to remember, an investor doesn’t want to hear you talk about market analysis, consumer trends, or competitors. If you’ve got a good name and you’re already using all of your life force to develop your core competitive strength, then your core value is already evident… You’ve got to find the pain point, your name must sum up your uniqueness, and use a single sentence to explain your core business. After that, investors will ask you questions about other stuff, like the team, experience, financing amount, etc.
We are all trained to talk sharply in business interactions, by using a series of industry terms and glorifying ourselves. Though that may work in a lot of scenarios, it certainly won’t work if you’re targeting investors in China. Be sure to keep this in mind, so you will have what it takes to pitch Chinese investors.