If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ll have seen that we recently just wrapped up a series of events in Europe, alongside our official launch in London.
We wanted to write a little something to dive deeper into our goals and vision, and keep you in the loop with what we’ve been doing out here!
European Entrepreneurs – We’re Here for You!
In November of 2019, we opened our first office outside of Asia, in London.
Neat is headquartered in Hong Kong, but we have a global customer base that engages in cross-border trade.
Seeing as over €1 billion in trade passes between China and the EU daily, we knew that there was demand for a solution like ours in the West – a solution that could give SMEs and startups an accessible and secure way to trade with the East. The time was right for us to grow a physical presence in Europe.
So, alongside the launch of our London office, we embarked on a tour through Paris, London, and Berlin, attending industry events, and hosting our own, in order to introduce European entrepreneurs to what Neat could do for them.
Here’s what we got up to.
Paris FinTech Week & Our Parisian Community Meetup
We started in the beautiful city of Paris, knowing a generous number of entrepreneurs there have a strong interest in expansion into China. Our CEO kicked off a successful two days for us at the Paris Fintech Forum, taking part in a pitching contest judged by VSc including Earlybird, ING and and Accel, which set the scene nicely for our meet-up that evening at La Place FinTech.
Fuelled by champagne (naturally) and nibbles our audience enjoyed talks from Annie Guo, CEO of SilkPay and Mathieu Ngo-Di, Founder of Oatter. Drawing on their respective expertise in FinTech and international expansion, as well as their experience within institutions such as HSBC, Alibaba and Carrefour, we were able to gain coherent insight into what it means to be a successful entrepreneur in China, in particular understanding the nuances relating to consumers.
Starting out in business isn’t an easy task, and we’d love to shine the spotlight on the many budding entrepreneurs we met that night, for example Elodie Iparraguire, who is in the early stages of building a platform for musicians to connect. Bonne Chance Elodie!
Launching in London: Celebrating our Expansion into Europe
Next on the list were the bright lights of London - in the WeWork we are proud to call our new home here in Europe. With beer taps flowing, pizza at the ready and over one hundred people in attendance, we were ready to introduce our ambitions for Neat in Europe and celebrate the launch of our London operations !
We were lucky to be joined by three wonderful speakers: Donal Taylor of Taksu Digital, Jack Porteous of the China-Britain Business Council and Keith Moses of InvestHK. These experts on business in Asia helped shed some light on UK-China relations, common misconceptions of China focussed marketing and the basics of setting up in Hong Kong.
The networking that followed was particularly fun – given the high stakes as one lucky attendee was to win lunch for two at Hutong, in return for our favourite photo of the night . Congratulations and thanks for capturing our good angles Ellie Zhang!
Ecommerce Berlin Expo & Our Berlin Community Meetup
The final leg of our tour brought us to the historical city of Berlin, where the infamous eCommerce Expo allowed us to connect with the largest proportion of entrepreneurs we serve in terms of sector.
This got us in the mood for hosting our own talks at Spaces that evening, working hard to ensure they were as colourful and varied as the popular German beverages we served! A full house came to hear AEBP’s Eberhard Brodhage, Frieghthub’s Yvan Byishimo, the Department of Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises’ Rainer Seider and InvestHK’s Wing-Hin Chung share their thoughts on doing business in the Asian market. They didn’t shy away from speaking about the challenges facing Hong Kong and China, focusing on how best to navigate the current climate.
This is just the beginning
Overall, the roadshow was fantastic confirmation for us of the opportunity that lies ahead in Europe, and we’re excited to continue scoping out potential partners and customers in this new region, now with feet on the ground here.
Special thank-you to our wonderful supporting partners CFTE, StartUp Guide, Cocoon, StartUp AsiaBerlin, Osome, Berlin StartUp School, Enpact and SIBB! Join us on March 5th for our next event in London, focussed on strategies for targeting the Chinese consumer.