Help­ing star­tups gain their wings

Founded by a group of sea­soned en­trepreneurs and in­vestors, Feimalv is one of the lead­ing com­pa­nies in China help­ing young peo­ple bring their in­no­va­tive ideas to life

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai

yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

He may be bet­ter known as the pres­i­dent of Hori­zon Re­search Con­sul­tancy Group, but Yuan Yue ac­tu­ally spends most of his time th­ese days man­ag­ing Feimalv, an or­ga­ni­za­tion he founded in 2011 that spe­cial­izes in pro­vid­ing guid­ance to bud­ding en­trepreneurs and their star­tups.

Yuan views his role at Feimalv, known as Pe­ga­sus in English, as an ex­ten­sion of his pre­vi­ous role at Hori­zon Re­search, say­ing that he is merely us­ing the re­search-based meth­ods at the con­sul­tancy to help in his in­vest­ments in young en­ter­prises.

Through­out the past four years, Feimalv, which is con­sid­ered a startup ac­cel­er­a­tor, has pro­vided sup­port to more than 150 en­trepreneurs from dozens of star­tups all over the coun­try, dis­pens­ing pro­fes­sional ad­vice and help­ing them with fund­ing.

The main dif­fer­ence be­tween an ac­cel­er­a­tor and an in­cu­ba­tor is that the for­mer pro­vides sup­port for a shorter pe­riod, of­fers a spe­cific amount of fund­ing and usu­ally owns a stake in the star­tups. In this case, Feimalv owns be­tween 2 to 4 per­cent of the shares in the star­tups un­der it.

Star­tups are in­vited to present their prod­ucts dur­ing what the com­pany has re­ferred to as “horse rac­ing”, in ref­er­ence to the term Pe­ga­sus, which takes place twice a year. Those that make the cut are la­beled as “star foals” and they will then be able to tap onto the re­sources of Yuan’s or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Com­pa­nies like Feimalv are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant th­ese days as the num­ber of young peo­ple start­ing their own busi­nesses upon grad­u­a­tion has been on the rise in re­cent years. Sta­tis­tics pro­vided by con­sul­tancy MyCos Data show that 2.3 per­cent of new univer­sity grad­u­ates in 2013 chose to set up their own busi­nesses, as com­pared to 2 per­cent in 2012 and 1.6 per­cent in 2011.

To sup­port the am­bi­tions of th­ese young busi­ness­men, China’s Min­istry of Education had in De­cem­ber 2014 en­cour­aged univer­si­ties in the coun­try to set up flex­i­ble ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems so that stu­dents can be al­lowed to sus­pend their stud­ies in or­der to set up their own busi­nesses.

This trend has gained much sup­port from the cen­tral govern­ment as well. Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang has con­stantly en­cour­aged young peo­ple to em­brace the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit ever since he took of­fice in 2012. He had also re­leased an of­fi­cial state­ment dur­ing an ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing of the State Coun­cil in 2015 to re­it­er­ate this point.

Feimalv has startup sup­port zones lo­cated in about 10 cities, and they ac­tively seek to gather

Yuan Yue, tal­ented en­trepreneurs for five ma­jor in­dus­tries in­clud­ing on­line prod­ucts, dig­i­tal busi­ness ser­vice and ver­ti­cal on­line fi­nanc­ing ser­vice. Th­ese zones cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties for newly emerg­ing en­ter­prises, re­gard­less of whether Feimalv owns a stake in them, so that they can help one an­other de­velop through an ex­change of in­no­va­tive ideas.

“We are not just a hack­erspace or an in­cu­ba­tor, but a com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem which of­fers in­dus­trial chain re­sources for star­tups to bring their ideas to life,” said Yuan.

“We don’t ex­pect univer­sity grad­u­ates to pro­duce ex­tra­or­di­nary out­comes, but we need them to have the de­sire to cre­ate things. Hav­ing such an at­ti­tude will have a great im­pact on the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion.”

In ad­di­tion to the en­ter­prise ser­vices pro­vided by Feimalv, Yuan, who is in his early 50s also op­er­ates a char­ity pro­gram called “Black Ap­ple”, which was founded in 2010. It of­fers as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs be­tween 4,000 and 14,000 yuan ($608 and 2,130) for each pro­ject to run their busi­nesses from scratch.

The lat­est move Feimalv has taken to help en­trepreneurs in­volves en­ter­ing the Hongqiao busi­ness re­gion in De­cem­ber 2015 to gather and de­velop cul­tural and leisure busi­nesses within a 100,000-square-me­ter space. Feimalv has also co­op­er­ated with over­seas en­tre­pre­neur clubs from 100 univer­si­ties to es­tab­lish a global net­work. The tar­get is to have such spa­ces opened in 12 cities in 2016 and 30 cities in 2017, con­nect­ing all th­ese busi­nesses with shared re­sources, tech­nolo­gies and knowl­edge.

“We are keen to unite the in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies from over­seas with star­tups here so that our univer­sity grad­u­ates have bet­ter re­sources to kick start their busi­nesses,” he said.

“Start­ing up a busi­ness is a chal­lenge to young grad­u­ates to find a so­lu­tion to the in­tense com­pe­ti­tion in the job mar­ket here in China. If they can get ex­cited by run­ning their own com­pany, they will surely go forth and fight to make it suc­cess­ful. On the other hand, if they lose in­ter­est in man­ag­ing their own busi­nesses, then at least they know they won’t have any re­grets about find­ing a job and work­ing for some­one,” added Yuan.

We are keen to unite the in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies from over­seas with star­tups here so that our univer­sity grad­u­ates have bet­ter re­sources to kick start their busi­nesses.”

pres­i­dent of Hori­zon Re­search Con­sul­tancy Group and founder of Feimalv

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Feimalv founder Yuan Yue be­lieves that the spirit of in­no­va­tion needs to be in­cul­cated in the young peo­ple of China to­day as this will ben­e­fit the progress of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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