TechCrunch Hangzhou: Discovering Hangzhou’s next unicorn

4 min read

Hangzhou, a city located in China’s eastern coast, has over the years transformed from a second-tier city famous for tourism to a central city home to a number of the country’s most prominent players in tech innovation. Traditionally overshadowed by metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai, Hangzhou is finding itself more and more in the forefront of every entrepreneur’s mind. While the rest of the country was experiencing a slowdown in growth, Hangzhou saw steady growth in its high-tech and service sectors, particularly in the information industry.

In recent years, Hangzhou has been committed to building a digital economy and providing comprehensive ecological advantages to create a favorable environment for breeding unicorns. There is a Dream Town in the west of Hangzhou people call “a fantasy island born with dreams,” where more than 7,000 entrepreneurs have settled and 700 projects have taken root. Alibaba, Hikvision, H3C and Mogu Street are just a few examples of Hangzhou success stories. The city has become a magnet for domestic and overseas talent, technology, and innovation, capital, and entrepreneurship. That’s why, in the upcoming TechCrunch Hangzhou, many local VCs will be gathering here in search of the next unicorn.

The cultivation of unicorns is by no means an overnight process. However, the difference between a smooth process and a messy process can be attributed, in part, to the difference between a good VC and a bad VC. Good VCs often lead with clear goals, cooperative teams, shared vision, and determination. A good investor has their finger on the pulse, and is ready to share both opportunities and risks with entrepreneurs. Our speakers, comprised of the VC leaders of Hangzhou, will share their thoughts on how to judge a good project and what it takes to become the next unicorn.

Pang Xiaowei

Founding Partner of Tisiwi

Pang Xiaowei graduated with a bachelor’s from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 1995 and continued on to earn his master’s from Zhejiang Gongshang University Hangzhou College of Commerce in 1998. In 2000, he founded the e-commerce website Lianshang. In 2004, he founded “Edushi,” a Chinese online media platform. Pang Xiaowei founded Tisiwi in 2010 and has focused on angel investment in the internet industry since. In 2012, he was awarded the title “Top 10 Angel Investors in China.”

Since its inception, Tisiwi has been focused on angel investments. As founder Pang Xiaowei put it, “It’s like a sugar cane. We focus on the bottom. It’s harder but also sweeter.” Pang Xiaowei, with prior experience in building startups, chose only to invest in the “minority” entrepreneurs who are outstanding and who have dedicated their lives solely to entrepreneurship. In the eyes of some investors, Tisiwi is a bit “wild”. It currently invests in about 20,000 startup projects a year, and the success probability is 1/500, which is far more rigid than the average 1/100. At TechCrunch Hangzhou, Pang Xiaowei will reveal Hangzhou’s rising entrepreneurs.

Jennifer Zhang

Managing Director, Huadan Venture Capital; Founder, Bay West

After graduating in the class of 2002 from Zhejiang University Chu Kochen Honors College, Jennifer Zhang led Huadan Venture Capital and founded Bay West. She was awarded the title “Outstanding Angel Investor in Zhejiang” in 2013, “Top 10 Startup mentor in Hangzhou” in 2015, and “Top 10 Angel Investor Favor by Student Entrepreneurs.”

She has been featured in the New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitungs, and various other international media. She has been an investor judge on CCTV 2’s We are the Hero and CCTV Focus Interview. She has invested in mobile e-health platform Mingyizhudao, travel destination management SAAS Dingdandao, recruitment platform Qingtuanshe, Hangzhou Enter Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., and online language-learning platform Waijiaojun.

Some look to Jennifer Zhang of Huadan Venture Capital as a “queen.” In her “territory,” more than 20 CEOs have thrown themselves at her feet, as she is the most active and one of Hangzhou’s few female investor representatives. The New York Times described her work ethic to be not unlike a “mother hen” and “stern instructor.” It’s true that startups, like newborn babies, require a lot of attention, and her timely guidance has helped many achieve rapid growth. Huadan Venture Capital has invested RMB 50 million in over 30 projects. At TechCrunch Hangzhou, Jennifer Zhang will talk about what it takes to become Hangzhou’s next unicorn.

Xiang Jianbiao

Co-founder, Incapital

Known as “Da Xiang” (Big Elephant), Xiang Jianbiao is the co-founder of Hangzhou InCapital Management, founder of popular investment media B12, as well as the founder of Liang Cang Accelerator.

He holds an MBA from the University of Quebec, has a deep understanding of the internet and rich investment experience in the internet industry, as well as unique perspectives of traditional industries, new business ethics, and humanities.

He has authored an analysis of internet thought and new business models from more than 40 case studies. He has invested in China’s largest credit card service startup 51 Credit Card and leading open source cloud platform solution provider EasyStack, among other projects.

Xiang Jianbiao, known to many as Big Elephant, came up with a company slogan as full of personality as his nickname: Only invest in the world we want. In the past two or three years, the company has invested in more than 70 projects. From Xiang Jianbiao’s perspective, when it comes to investments, timing and direction are equally important. Entrepreneurs must find sustainable solutions with accurate and precise timing, as do investors. At TechCrunch Hangzhou, Xiang Jianbiao will discuss how to anticipate new trends and plan for changing times.