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
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
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.