Startup ac­cel­er­a­tors smooth An­glo-Chi­nese trade

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By CECILY LIU in Lon­don ce­ci­lyliu@ mail.chi­nadai­

A new startup ac­cel­er­a­tor in Lon­don is the lat­est busi­ness ven­ture set up to help new Bri­tish com­pa­nies ex­port tech­nol­ogy to China.

Chi­nese big data com­pany BBD opened such an ac­cel­er­a­tor in Lon­don in June, with the aim of help­ing Bri­tish and Chi­nese fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies ac­cess each other’s mar­kets.

Within two months of open­ing, 10 com­pa­nies have joined the BBD Ac­cel­er­a­tor and some have achieved im­me­di­ate re­sults.

For in­stance, Zhe­jiang Univer­sity’s Academy of In­ter­net Fi­nance has used its base at BBD to es­tab­lish a part­ner­ship with the Cam­bridge­based in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy firm TAB and launch a crowd fund­ing in­dex in the United King­dom.

He­len Wang, CEO of BBD UK, said her team helps mem­ber com­pa­nies “grow and scale up, es­pe­cially as­sist­ing them to ac­cess the vast China mar­ket”. BBD takes a per­cent­age of prof­its rather than an up­front fee.

BBD is the fourth China-fo­cused ac­cel­er­a­tor to be es­tab­lished in Bri­tain. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished in April by the in­no­va­tion group Nesta and the UK gov­ern­ment, there are 163 ac­tive ac­cel­er­a­tors in the UK sup­port­ing an es­ti­mated 3,660 new busi­nesses per year.

Un­like tra­di­tional ac­cel­er­a­tors that pro­vide shared of­fice space, the re­port re­vealed that only 54 per­cent of them now of­fer of­fice space, fo­cus­ing in­stead on men­tor­ing and fi­nanc­ing.

The BBD Ac­cel­er­a­tor fo­cuses on ad­vi­sory ser­vices in­stead of phys­i­cal space, which also re­duces costs.

Alan Bar­rell, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge’s Judge Busi­ness School, high­lighted the im­por­tance of ex­pe­ri­enced ex­ec­u­tive staff and ad­vi­sors and con­nec­tions to in­cu­ba­tors and ac­cel­er­a­tors in China.

“Suc­cess­ful ac­cel­er­a­tors are much more than build­ings,” he said.

In May, China Med­i­cal City set up a life sci­ences ac­cel­er­a­tor in Lon­don, aim­ing to at­tract Bri­tish life science com­pa­nies to its much big­ger Taizhou, Jiangsu province­based life science ac­cel­er­a­tor with the same name.

Es­tab­lished in 2010, the Taizhou-based China Med­i­cal City al­ready hosts more than 700 life science com­pa­nies, but its UK ac­cel­er­a­tor will mostly be used to host meet­ings and pub­lic­ity events with

Bri­tish life science com­pa­nies.

Other ear­lier China-fo­cused ac­cel­er­a­tors have al­ready achieved suc­cess. Ca­nary Wharf-based Silk Ven­tures, es­tab­lished in 2015, reached breakeven in its first year of op­er­a­tion, and has 20 mem­ber com­pa­nies.

An­gel­ica An­ton, found­ing part­ner of Silk Ven­tures, said her team’s China con­nec­tions are among the main at­trac­tions for mem­ber com­pa­nies. An­ton worked with the for­eign direct in­vest­ment team at the Hangzhou lo­cal gov­ern­ment be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to the UK.

num­ber of ac­tive ac­cel­er­a­tors in the UK

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