An interview with Kai-Fu Lee: Top advice for students and startups on pitching


It was very lucky to have an opportunity to interview Kai-Fu Lee, who is a super famous ‘incubator’ for Chinese tech startups and also on the list of “The 2013 TIME 100”. At the meantime, he is an influencing micro-blogger in China as well with fifty million and seven hundred thousand followers.

In 2009, Kai-Fu Lee left his job as the VP of Google, and founded ‘Innovation Works’ which is an angel investment firm that aims at helping young people succeed as startups. After a very serious disease, he is now still trying to help Chinese students overseas with smile from heart.

Fortunately our group at Perfect Pitch had the privilege to interview Kai-Fu Lee in London. Here is what he had to say to us on the subject of pitching, giving top advice for students and startups. Check out the short but sweet talk we had.

P=Perfect Pitch     K=Kaifu Lee

P: Whether it is risky to have startups just after graduated?

K: It depends, like if you don’t have confidence or you only have confidence but nothing else, I wouldn’t recommend you try that. Instead, if you have a great idea, a great opportunity and a great team it would be a strength gift for starting a business. Due to the rapidly growing economy, especially in China, there are giant opportunities to success. What’s more, there is a 10-year golden time since you graduated, don’t waste it, don’t miss the opportunity to learn and to grow in your best age.

P: What kind of project are you interested in?

K: I’m always interested in Internet and technology industry. And now what attracts me most is new stuff about the generation after 90s. They are different from 80s, they were born under the Internet environment and there is in the internet blood of the 90s, their business projects tend to be more creative and easier to arouse young generation’s sympathy.

P: What kind of project is most likely to get invest from your company?

K: I value the person who established business most. Most young people I have invested are talented or have successful projects before.

P: What unique potentials do they have?

K: Most people don’t belong to talented group, maybe one of ten have that inborn ability. In my mind, a successful entrepreneur may have these qualities: learning ability, resistant capability, execution and the capacity to make decisions. Making a wrong decision is better than making no decision.

P: How to convince investors?

K: Firstly you have to prepare well, a detailed proposal is very important.

Meanwhile you must look at yourself as a salesman, your product is your business plan, and you should do your best to sell it.

Good expression and presentation is necessary, cause maybe it is often the only chance you have to promote your product to investor, make sure that you have shown the best of yourself.

P: Are there any advices for young start-ups?

K: Great ideas are the most irreplaceable wealth. As time goes on, many staff in specific industry will replaced by robots and high technology. But talents of art and other creative business are always needed, and it is the same to the relevant projects.

Another suggestion is joining in an excellent startups team may better than looking for a mature large company, your growth and knowledge will be totally different, you will have more freedom and flexibility to express your ideas, not just being a lag spike of a huge machine.

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