Shenzhen Adventures, Week 14: Pitching at Jay Z's 40/40 Club in New York, and Demo Day at HAX
UCHU's Shenzhen Adventures is back, with an especially exciting update! We apologize for the recent delay in posts, but as you'll read in the rest of this blog, we have been extraordinarily busy with lots of big opportunities and developments - including a bit of travelling. Since it has been several weeks since the last post, this blog will be jam packed with tons of great pictures, stories, and details of what we have been up to lately.
Most notably, we pitched at two big events over the past couple of weeks, the Pathway Oral Health Accelerator and the 2019 Asia Demo Day at HAX. Although it's now a bit late, we also celebrated Thanksgiving with friends here in Shenzhen. We've also been exploring deeper and deeper into the local food scene, tried a great Frogpot restaurant, and found a great late night fried street noodle place. Let's dive into it!
This week we presented at HAX's official Asia Demo Day event, alongside many of HAX's other portfolio startups. The event drew an extremely large crowd, filled with investors, entrepreneurs, and representatives of large corporate companies. Just a few of the attendees who registered includes: Amazon Web Services, Airbus, Decathlon, Honda Motor Company, Israel Chamber of Commerce, Kyocera, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Proctor and Gamble, Sequoia Capital, Tencent, and the U.S. Consulate General, among many others!
The event began with a 3 minute pitch from each of the 19 participating startups. Even though we work in the same office as all of the startups who presented, it was a great opportunity to learn more about all of their impressive visions and progress.
After the pitches were over, the next part of the event was a several hour networking session in the lobby of our new office at HAX. Each team had their own booth with a fancy marketing banner and display, while the event was catered with great food and drinks. It was very cool to meet with investors and companies from all over the world, and a great opportunity to make new friendships.
Overall, Demo Day at HAX was an incredibly well put together event and was a huge success for everybody involved. We are extremely grateful to be part of such an incredible program here in Shenzhen, filled with the hardest working, brightest minds you can find.
Earlier in December, Dan took a trip to New York City to pitch in the inaugural Pathway Oral Health Accelerator. This accelerator was very unique, as it was the first of its kind to be specific to the oral health industry. The mission of the Pathway Oral Health Accelerator is to help oral health startups bridge the gap between ideation and commercialization. This accelerator program does so by connecting each participating startup with a support network of industry leading mentors. The mentors assist in navigating everything from early prototyping, pitching potential funders, developing marketing strategies, negotiating partnerships, and sorting out supply chains.
The event was hosted at the 40/40 Club, which is owned by Jay Z, so the venue was much more extravagant than most pitches we are used to! Each startup presented a 2 minute video, followed by a 2 minute presentation. The style of the event was similar to Shark Tank, where the mentors "battle it out" to decide who would be the best fit for each startup, and at the end each startup gets to choose their lead mentor to move forward with.
One of our existing advisers, Dr. Jonathan Levine, helped coordinate and launch the event, and helped get support from the attending mentors. Dr. Levine did a phenomenal job, and the mentors were from some of the largest companies in the industry, including Henry Schein, Quip, Dentsply Sirona, Colgate-Palmolive, and others.
Since Dan was making a trip to the US, he went a few days early and was able to see some family and friends while he was there. The trip was all around a great experience - we met a lot of influential industry leaders, gained some great new mentors, and had a chance to showcase the progress we've made since coming to Shenzhen.
Back around Thanksgiving time, we were super lucky to have Thanksgiving dinner in Shenzhen with one of our friend's local family. This Thanksgiving was pretty different from any I've had before - we managed to find a turkey and cooked mashed potatoes, but we ate them with chopsticks! We also had a lot of traditional Chinese dishes at dinner, including noodles, dumplings, tofu, and even snails. Not everyone spoke the same language, but we still had a great night sharing food, drinks and laughs.
We've also been continuing to find even more great local spots that have fantastic food. A new surprising favorite of mine is a Frog pot restaurant. Most of you are probably familiar with regular hot pot, where you cook your own food in a giant pot of hot broth in the center of the table. Frog pot is similar, except the only meat served is frog legs, and it comes cooked in a giant pot of spicy, sizzling oil and vegetables. I had never tried frog legs before, but it was actually really really good.
Most of the normal restaurants close around 9pm or 10pm, which can make it tricky to find good food after a late night working at the office. However, we recently learned that many fried noodle stands open up exclusively late at night and are exceptionally delicious. Although we have already been here for a little more than three months, we are still learning new good spots every week!
That's everything for this episode of UCHU's Shenzhen Adventures. As the holiday season is approaching, I will be taking a trip back to Washington State to spend time with family while Dan's family comes here to China to visit. We promise we will get back to the normal weekly schedule of blog updates, so keep a look out for more exciting news next week!