In April 2017 Halion Displays graduated from Techstars NYC. The experience was incredibly valuable on its own, and as founders we grew a lot personally and professionally. We knew from other founders that the real value of accelerator programs is in the network, but post-program the Techstars network continues to astound us. From investor and customer intros to business and operations advice, the Techstars family is always happy to help — often in ways you’d never expect.
Our company was recently invited to join a soft landing program in Hong Kong. The focus was to learn how to enter the Chinese market and leverage resources in both Shenzhen and Hong Kong as we grow. Before the trip began we reached out to our network and scheduled business meetings with various potential customers and business partners. We also reached out to the Techstars network to see if anyone was in Hong Kong and wanted to meet. Within a few days we had multiple people reply offering connections and to meet up while we were there!
We ended up meeting Alex Solana (Tinitell, Amazon Alexa Techstars ‘17). Alex graciously offered us a meeting room in his co-working space for the morning, and then we grabbed lunch and had a great discussion about managing supply chain in Shenzhen. Alex has been in Hong Kong for over 3 years now and has become very familiar with the OEMs and ODMs in China.
We found a place to grab lunch and over some delicious dimsum Alex shared his wealth of knowledge around business culture, how to manage supply chain, reputations of OEMs and ODMs (including who we should work with and why), strategies for tapping the Chinese and Hong Kong markets and resources, etc. The short time we spent with Alex was easily one of the most valuable parts of our trip.
Alex Iskold (MD @ Techstars NYC) ingrained in us the importance of always working backwards from your goal. Our meeting with Alex Solana was able to help us refine and better understand key milestones in our business. What were once black boxes of “this is roughly what needs to be done” suddenly became clear goals, milestones and action plans. And when we asked Alex S. how he learned all of it, his answer was: Trial and error.
Companies (especially startups) who want to take advantage of resources in China and Hong Kong traditionally have to just go there and see what happens. Thanks to Alex Solana and others we met on the trip, we are now much more prepared for how and when we’ll setup work in China, and for that we are extremely grateful. It is moments like these that we are especially appreciative of being part of the Techstars family 🙂
This was originally published on Medium