At the end of September 2019, Combient Foundry flew to Shanghai with teams from our associated companies. Our common goal was to get a better understanding of what is required to establish a foothold in the local ecosystem. So, what have we learned and where do we go from here?

What would it take for Nordic multinational corporations to begin more systematic work with Chinese startups? But before going onto that, there’s an important question: why is this important right now?

Cast your mind back to 2018. Throughout last year, China spawned a unicorn (a startup with a valuation of over $1bn) every 3.8 days. That’s just under 100 startups. As of May 2019, the total value of privately owned, Chinese unicorns was over $1.1 trillion (CB Insights, 2019). What’s more, leading Chinese tech companies have passed their U.S. equivalents in the amount of AI patent submissions during the past few years and is speeding up the research and development of other major areas as well.

The Chinese Venture Capital industry is experiencing what’s called “Capital Winter” by locals. Excess valuations and extreme funding are now “harder” to come by. But even in the throws of this cooldown, Chinese startups raised about $52.6bn in the first half of 2019. For this reason, Chinese investors are focusing more on portfolio development, supporting their startups to develop market-tested products that customers are willing to pay for.

The Nordic presence is long overdue for activation China. The US and Central Europe based heavy-hitters are certainly not pulling back, and have a headstart on their Nordic counterparts when it comes to working with the Chinese tech startup space. 

 

The Venture Client Cycle in China

In Spring 2020, Foundry is working with the China-based teams of two global companies. The first one is Stora Enso, an industry-leading renewable materials company. Also joining us is a non-associated partner, Tetra Pak®, the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Together with Foundry, the companies are looking to start commercial, paid partnerships with Chinese startups based on specific business needs, listed below. 

 

Stora Enso – Replacing Single Food Plastic in On-demand Food Delivery

Stora Enso, a leader in renewable packaging, wants to replace packages made of plastic in the Chinese on-demand food delivery industry. Can you help us to make Stora Enso’s renewable packaging offering a better alternative for on-demand food delivery services, instead of plastic? 

Person eating noodles from take-out box with chop sticks

Learn more about the opportunity here.

 

Tetra Pak – Making Food Safe and Available with Traceability of Packaging

Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, wants to increase transparency and improve quality assurance in the food supply chain by leveraging traceability data of food packages. Can you help us create innovative solutions for consumer engagement, quality assurance or data exchange?  

Collage of young girl looking at AR enhanced fruit, soft drinks, and display

Learn more about the opportunity here.

 

Find something you might be interested in? If yes, please send an overview of your company and proposed solution to us by Monday, March 17th before midnight (Chinese Standard Time). If your solutions look like a good fit for the corporations’ decision-makers, we will invite you to meet them face-to-face in Shanghai on June 3rd – 4th. At this event, we will begin talks about potential partnerships. The pilot clientships in each of the above cases can lead to a larger business development opportunity.

The Combient Foundry Venture Client Cycle in Shanghai is operated in partnership with Plug and Play China.

Please send information about your team and solution via email to miikka.kataja@combient.com or on WeChat: miikka_kataja. We are happy to tell you more about the opportunity. For the Combient Foundry homepage in Chinese, click here.