Asia Tech Podcast presents: Cross Border Kyle

About Asia Tech Podcast: Cross Border Kyle

Kyle Ellicott, Chief Labs Officer at ReadWrite Labs and Founder of ReadWrite, bridges two worlds: Silicon Valley and the fast-growing megacities of Asia. Traditionally worlds apart, the borders of these two economic powerhouses are becoming increasingly blurred, especially in the world of tech and startups. Kyle helps us make sense of these merging worlds both as an insider translating Asia for The West and an outsider experiencing Asia’s phenomenal rise.

304: Jan Smejkal aka Your China Guy (Cross Border Kyle KYL9)

  • What has Jan seen happen with the "community" in China specific to Startup Grind which grew from 3 or 4 chapters to 25? How did he develop that community?
  • Where does Jan see the Shenzhen community today? What does he see happening in that community around startups and entrepreneurship? Whats the pulse?
  • Where is China going? With the venture markets and startups taking off, where is this situation going?

274: Andrew Romans on blockchain, ICOs, and venture capital (Cross Border Kyle KYL8)

  • Can you give us a quick introduction about yourself? -- Really an entrepreneur who found a way into venture capital and investing. At heart see myself as someone who founds and builds companies. More recently have become infected with the blockchain bug.
  • ICOs and tokenization represent a new tool in the entrepreneurs toolbox for how to fund a business while at the same time creating a fan base. It will be very important to see how these things are regulated going forward; however, right now it is possible to be fully compliant with the law, while at the same time developing your business and product in new and truly innovative ways with these technologies. Venture capital has traditionally been very illiquid. When VCs invest in companies, it might be up to seven years before they see a return on investment. With an ICO in contrast, the expectation is that in a matter of weeks coins will be trading on an active market and generating returns and cash flows for investors. Its a game changer for venture capital.
  • So this is basically a whole new economy? -- Yes. In fact, if any listeners run or know someone who runs an airline, give us a call. We can help you raise billions of dollars with a token offering. Any company with a loyalty program who does not tokenize moving forward is going to sink to the bottom of the ocean. Large companies will be the big winners here. If you think about it, companies like Costco are already doing something similar in driving a discount-based loyalty program. As soon as companies add liquidity through tokenization, the skys the limit.

272: Milan Stevanovich on the Detroit Chinese Business Association (Cross Border Kyle KYL7)

  • What are you seeing on a day-to-day level happening there in Michigan in terms of startups and tech engagement? -- This is a bit of a complicated question. On the one hand there is a lot of resources going into autonomous driving technologies. Many firms in this space have R&D facilities in the state. Oakland County, where DCBA is located, is seeing lots of Chinese interest in the biotech space. This area of Michigan also boasts one of the largest Asian populations in the State. So theres a lot going on.
  • What sorts of things can the DCBA do for people trying to come in and get situated there? -- We do all of the economic seeding and gardening. We help make introductions to companies and other partners. We facilitate people meeting and talking to others with deep ties to the community. So Chinese investors who might want to come over can talk to other Chinese business leaders and find out about the community and the business environment in a very helpful way.
  • What are some tips and tricks you can provide listeners who might be preparing for or thinking about hosting a Chinese delegation? -- Clearly do some basic background research on who is coming and who youre likely to meet. There are some cultural things you want to know about formalized greetings, how Chinese delegations expect seating arrangements to work, for example. Know that when someone hands you a business card, you should actually look at it before putting it away.

262: Raj Sodhi (Cross Border Kyle KYL6)

  • How would you describe the tech ecosystem in Shenzhen? -- There is a total desire among people to collaborate, to help each other, and to share. If people believe in your vision, they will be drawn to you and you will be able to find the people you need to build your business.
  • At Guwoo we wanted to develop a sophisticated user-experience that wasnt simply click a button to turn a page or say a keyword to wake up the robot. We wanted something that would provide the necessary outcome-based experience that could take students ahead to the next level in the classroom.
  • Where do you see the opportunities in education moving forward? Where can technology really make a difference? -- In China there is plenty of technology but not enough solutions. In the US, its the opposite problem, there are lots of solutions but a lack of good technologies. How do we take these platforms and scale them massively? These are the challenges going forward.

257: Does America’s Auto Future Lie in China? (Cross Border Kyle KYL5)

  • How do Asian startups go on the "pitch" side of things? The Valley does very well on the story side. In Asia, there is an overemphasis on technology and not so much in the story but this has changed dramatically over the past year
  • Coming from "Motor City" Detroit, Michigan, Kyle touches on the innovations in the automotive industry of China - Shanghai Auto City
  • An auto industry thats starting to grow and see the pathway for innovation and the need to work with startups and to work on a global scale like the case of Oakland County in Michigan taking 300 companies over to China

211: Asia’s Amazing Airports and the Launchpad Expo Hong Kong (Cross Border Kyle KYL4)

  • When it comes to people-flow and experience, Asian airports are years ahead of their counterparts in The US and Europe.
  • How do you manage your schedule and make best use of your time when you go to a multi-day conference like Launchpad HK?
  • The challenge is on... We are roughly scheduled to podcast April 9th at Hong Kong Airport. Are we going to be in the mood? Is it logistically possible?

205: From San Francisco to Shenzhen (Cross Border Kyle KYL3)

  • Soaring rental costs of San Francisco - How does this accelerate movement of venture capital out of the valley and into other hubs, including Asia?
  • If your startup is seeking more breathing space, more ability to experiment, and more capacity for risk, maybe you should think about relocating out of an expensive ecosystem (like San Francisco) and into a more cost-effective one.
  • Beware the temptation to be sucked into Silicon Valleys black hole - Kyle Ellicotts advice for startups on looking at options in the US and Asia

197: Innovation Tours in Asia (Cross Border Kyle KYL2)

  • What are innovation road trips? Why are these great ways to discover whats really going on at the grass roots of individual Asian tech ecosystems?
  • If you were going to give a piece of tour advice to a company who’s going to go and see Asian innovation for the first time, where would you go and how would you do it?
  • We may not see in our lifetime another growth story like the "Greater Bay Area."

185: Between Two Bays – San Francisco and The Chinese Greater Bay (Cross Border Kyle KYL1)

  • Whats it like to experience Chinas Greater Bay Area for the first time? Kyle Ellicott shares his story of how entering Shenzhen and Greater Bay was like walking into a new world.
  • Comparisons between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. How are these startup ecosystems both similar and different? What can these startup ecosystems learn from each other?
  • Doing business in China. How does China and doing business with the Chinese compare with business in the US