Piavita is no stranger to International Entrepreneurship having made first contact with their current biggest investor, True Ventures, during a Venture Leaders delegation to San Francisco in 2017, that was sponsored by VentureLab. Series A funding to the tune of $5.5 million secured the Equine health tech startup from Switzerland a strong start in an industry that’s crying out for innovation and digitalisation.
An exciting opportunity when you consider that China’s digital-investment ecosystem is one of the most active in the world and that their Equine industry has grown by a staggering 1500% in the last 8 years. With hundreds of newly established horse clubs and over 9 million horses, the visit to China, again with Swiss incubator Venturelab, could lead Piavita into new markets with huge investment potential.
The ten Venture Leader Swiss startups met in Zurich, where Piavita CEO, Dorina Thiess was elected captain of the delegation, and traveled from there to Hong Kong. The unique entrepreneurial opportunity allowed no time to waste and delegates delivered their first pitches to a room full of Asian investors and partners at the famed Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Of the brief networking opportunity afterwards Dorina said:
Next up two company visits: Colibri Technologies, an award winning automation company with Swiss roots, and DJI, the leading global drone startup, both offering amazing insights into their global impact strategies. The entrepreneurial adventure continues to get better with a stop off at the amazing Schenzhen Stock Exchange building, where delegates’ pitches were broadcast live in cooperation with swissnex China.
After another full house for their pitch night in SOHO with more investors eagerly listening, the pitch practice kicks in and all delegates start to grow in confidence. Promoting themselves to a totally new market and supporting each other to win the Pitch challenges brings the Swiss team together in what is only the beginning of what’s to come.
Juggling business back home and prep for what’s to come on the train ride to Changzhou the delegates stepped out of the train to another pitch and then onto the Swiss Innovation Day event. The next day they enjoyed a day of coaching at the Rouse Consultancy Building. Business, IP and fundraising in China were the favoured topics and breaks provided welcome opportunities to touch base with business in Zurich.
A free afternoon provided Dorina a sneaky opportunity for some individual connections and networking as she visited one of the most prestigious Equine Centres in the country, Heilan International Equestrian Club. Fruitful discussions and insights from onsite veterinarians. A head full of inspiration. So much to tell the team back home.
A particular highlight for the whole delegation of Swiss Entrepreneurs was their invitation to the World Economic Forum in Dalian. Packed full of TV and Radio interviews, high-calibre speakers and workshops and world-class meeting and networking opportunities. It was all topped off with a cultural soirée which brought together top-class entertainment and food as well as further networking opportunities.
Add on top of all this a Swiss Incubator at the WEF, which saw Piavita take the win! A day in Beijing to meet with potential partners, pitching to universities and presentations at the Swiss Embassy closed the Venture Leaders China Tour 2019. It’s not for the faint of heart with very little sleep, getting lost in a big city with huge language barriers and still trying to manage the business you’re promoting.
The trip brought insights and connections no one dares to even dream of and a definitive trail onto what will hopefully lead Piavita down a silk road of Asian investment.
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