From a crypto-currency exchange company from Mexico to digital remittance company from South Africa, a diverse group of 23 Endeavor Entrepreneurs representing 11 countries convened this September in China for a five-day tour of the fintech entrepreneurship ecosystem across three cities.
Throughout the week, entrepreneurs attended meetings with 13 companies and three venture capital funds, and had the opportunity to hear from more than 20 local business leaders in intimate settings, designed to broaden Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ knowledge of China’s market and its unique advantages and challenges, spur meaningful discussions, and facilitate new connections within the ecosystem and with one another.
Highlights included a visit to Alibaba, where founders heard from Alibaba Vice President of Global Initiatives Brian Wong and Ant Finance Associate Director of International Investments Andrew Zheng, and a session with Kelly Zheng, Vice President of Strategy at CreditEase, one of the top three fintech companies in China, which specializes in small business and consumer lending, as well as wealth management for China’s rapidly growing population of high net-worth investors. Entrepreneurs also met with Greg Gibb, Co-Chairman and CEO of Lufax, China’s largest internet finance company.
“I was most was most impressed by the level of ambition these guys have. We’ve lost that in Europe,” reflected Giovanni Dapra, of Moneyfarm, an European leader in Digital Wealth management. “They inspired me to think bigger.”
During these meetings, entrepreneurs had the chance to dive deep into the market, gaining new perspectives into topics such as how China’s market size has influenced local-grown companies’ scale, the power of data, the culture around speed of innovation, and what role the government has played in shaping the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Attendees left the week with fresh ideas to apply to their companies in their home markets, a greater understanding of how to conduct business in China, and strategic local connections — and ultimately strengthened their own connections with one another.
“I was impressed by how much knowledge the group had. It was a reminder of the knowledge and power of Endeavor’s network,” said Bitso Co-founder Daniel Vogel, who traveled from Mexico to attend the tour. “Spending time with other EEs didn’t factor into my decision to come to China, but in hindsight it was one of the most valuable parts of the trip.”