The best success stories often begin with failures. What we see are the hefty funding rounds, skyrocketing valuations; what we overlook are the embarrassing first efforts, setbacks and radical change of directions. Ofo, the first company bike rental company to gain unicorn status in the emerging sector, meets nearly every definition we have for a successful startup now. However, they too had their own growing pains.

Dai Wei, the 26-year-old CEO and co-founder of ofo, shared at the MTA Festival a few of their first clumsy steps on its road to success as well as the lessons he learned from those first failures.

Ofo started as a student project by alumnus of China’s prestigious Peking University. Sharing a common passion for cycling, Dai Wei and fellow students decided to found their own project in 2014. But how to achieve this goal was not clear

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.