Edith Yeung’s 2017 China internet report

Our very own 500 China partner Edith Yeung just released her China internet report. This 67-page report includes everything you need to know about China internet landscape including China vs. US internet by the numbers, China internet market size, top China startup cities, venture capital, smartphone landscape, major Chinese internet trends including messaging, mobile payment, Cryptocurrency, shopping, bike sharing, live streaming. gaming, eSport, artificial intelligence, and education.

Here are some of our takeaways:

  1. China internet future is really bright…
  2. China is the leader of messaging, mobile payment, bike-sharing, gaming, eSport, live streaming and online education industries.
  3. China’s domestic market for mobile payment, bike-sharing, gaming, eSport, live streaming and online education is big enough that many players are not looking outside of China.
  4. Government support is instrumental China wants to dominate artificial intelligence and the government is pushing hard to make this happen.
  5. To experience China, you need to spend time in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou
  6. China is the world’s largest education market with 144 Million online users.
  7. China is the world’s largest cryptocurrency market and is developing its own digital currency.
  8. WeChat is Facebook, WhatsApp, Tinder, Paypal and Slack combined.


Edith Yeung is the head of 500 Startups Greater China and partner of 500 Mobile Collective Fund. Edith invested in over 40 mobile, VR, AR, AI and machine learning startups, including Hooked,, DayDayCook, Fleksy (acquired by Pinterest), Human (acquired by Mapbox), AISense, and many more. Before 500, Edith worked with companies like Dolphin Browser, Siebel, AMS, AT&T Wireless and Autodesk. For more from Edith, you can follow her on Twitter and Linkedin and newsletter

The Virtual World is Calling: 16 Predictions for the (Near) Future of VR

A year ago, I met up my friend Eugene Chung who used to run film & media for Oculus virtual reality (VR).  Eugene was telling me about his first VR film he created. At the time, I had very little knowledge about VR but definitely wanted to learn more and very curious. I asked Eugene why anyone should care about VR. His reply? He simply insisted that I should try it for myself and experience “The Rose and I”.

That day, I went to Eugene’s studio in SOMA and put on the Oculus Rift headset for the very first time. Boom, and finally I got it — I was in space and could see the little prince standing on the little planet not too far way. I walked towards him then realized I can walk around the planet. I could see him climbing in and out of his cave and plant his rose.  All I could say was I felt magically. Wow…

According to CBInsights, VR and AR startups have raised over $1 billion in funding since 2014.  VR did not only rock my world, but also the world of many other industries. VR has a depth of engagement that most other medium cannot match because of the immersion it offers. As Chris Dixon mentioned “VR will be the ultimate input-output device. Some people called VR ‘The last medium’ because any subsequent medium can be invested inside of VR, using software alone.”

From events to healthcare to travel — VR is not simply for kids to play games, but offers new forms of experience and expression. The space is moving so fast that most people are missing a lot of the best, under-the-radar use cases that have popped up in the last couple of years. Here’s a sampling:

1. Travel

Who wouldn’t want a “real life” experience in the Safari before committing to a $10K of travel cost?  Large hotel chains like Marriott and Thomas Cook are gearing up to create their own VR experience and giving their customers first peek before they arrive. 

Not only Marriott launched its “VRoom Service”, Discovery channel also launched its Discovery VR initiative and let you swim with sharks, ski downhill (although this makes me sick), or learn to forage for food via a phone and Google Cardboard.

2. Films & Entertainment

Last week, I finally got the chance to experience the Void’s Ghostbusters experience in New York. I felt that I was the actual Ghostbuster holding the proton gun catching ghosts while running around New York. I can feel the suspension bridge shaking and the elevator moving. It was absolutely thrilling. Even better than the actual movie  

3. VR Journalism

Startups like Within and Cryworks have created numerous VR journalism experience for New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Startups like Ryot also make VR film set at a school in Ghana and were able to raised $1.9 million during an annual gala.  Imagine you are sitting on stage during the Clinton & Trump debate instead of watching it from afar.

4. Real estate

Real estate shoppers can now “walk” around the properties and peek out windows to envision how their future home would look like via tools like Matterport and Toursler. Traditional real estate companies like Coldwell Banker, Halstead and Zillow are also catching on and providing their customers virtual home experience before dropping millions to purchase a new property.

5. Education

I got the chance to play with zSpace a few months and it was absolutely amazing. Using their special glasses and monitor, I was able to manipulate the heart, turn it around and do cross-sections search. They are now selling these medical training apps to hospitals and medical schools.

Google’s Expedition Pioneer Program and Nearpod VR also provide guided tours of places where school buses cannot go or startups like Unimersiv for history lessons, Immersive VR Education science and space learning, 

6. Healthcare and paging Dr. House:

Specialists are expensive and typically patients have to go to them to get surgery. But what if Doctors could do surgeries remotely using robotic tools and VR headsets? It would revolutionize and help democratize cutting-edge surgeries. Loyola hospital is using SnowWorld VR video to help with treating burn victims during wound care and physical therapy. Startup like Psious is also helping people face their fears, from spiders to heights to public speaking by using immersion VR therapy.

7. Sport / Live Streaming

This is still a little way to go, but companies like NextVR and Cryworks are working very hard to provide real time and live streaming experience for VR. Can you imagine seeing the Warrior games live sitting at courtside but you are really in the comfort of your home? That would truly be amazing.

8. Shopping

I want to see how I look in red, green or black in different environment and the VR is the only way that can shopper the instant gratification of trying things on without actually doing it.

9. Virtual fitness

Imagine you can train and swim with Michael Phelps and golf like a pro with Tiger Woods. Startup like StriVR is providing VR training for college and professional football teams.

In additional these existing use cases, I would also love to see the following use cases to happen:

10. Virtual Reality Search

Imagine you are in a VR environment and you say “I am in New York and I am hungry for burger”, it should immediate search and take you to the best burger joint in New York. Not exactly like beam me up Scotty…but I believe the future VR search will take you to anywhere in the world anytime you want.

11. Virtual Reality Office Space and real time conference call

Why bother to even go to work if you can work remotely and virtually. You could feel like you are just in the office and be able to do real time conversations with your colleague in the next cubicle.  

12. Virtual reality storage

Home videos have been relegated to boxes in the attic, but what if you could BE in the house you grew up in, next to your grandmother. In twenty years it will be amazing to go back and relive memories.

13. Virtual reality city planning

Imagine you can walk around a city that not yet exists. VR will be lower cost tool for city governments and urban planners to create the new worlds.

14. AR contact lenses

Why even brother with a smartphone if your contact lens can directly detect and find you all the Pokemon. Companies like Samsung already applied for some of these patents. I can definitely see physically embedded lower-powered sensors and chipsets could become another exciting enablers for mixed reality.

15. Virtual Reality Dining 

There’s dining in the dark. But what about dining at the top of Mount Everest or underwater, next to a coral reef? Or watch your food being prepared as you eat it. Experience your food in a new way.

16. 4D experiences 

If you’ve read Ready Player One or any other VR sci-fi then you’ll have heard about haptic suits and VR that engages the senses beyond sight and hearing. Touch and smell are on the horizon.

I look forward to meeting founders who are as excited as I am in creating the future.  What other use cases are you hoping to see in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Together, we can make this virtual world a reality.    

For more predictions as well as a closer look at the current state of VR, check out my slide deck The Virtual World is Calling: 18 Predictions and New Realities

Disclosure: I am an investor in Penrose Studios and Cryworks. I asked the founders if they would give me the opportunity to invest in them. And fortunately they said yes 🙂   

The 7 (Pitching) Habits of Highly Effective Founders

Finding the right investors is like dating — you need to kiss many frogs before you find a prince.  

Today, I’m going to share seven ways fundraising founders can kiss fewer frogs and find more princes (subtle hint: Batch 19 applications are now open).

Habit 1 – Pitch to the Right Investors

Not all investors are created equal.

Some investors only invest in seed investments. Some investors only focus on Series A.  

Before approaching any investors, do your homework and make sure you go after the right target audience.

You can segment them with these 5 characteristics:

  1. Investment stages (seed, Series A, B, C, etc.)
  2. Check size (e.g. $50,000 – $150,000)
  3. How many deals has he or she done in past 6 months (you will find out how active this investor is)
  4. Industry focus (if any)
  5. Geography (most Silicon Valley investors would not invest outside of the Bay Area)

It is certainly quite rare to turn someone who isn’t already engaged in your industry or geography into someone who suddenly cares about what you’ve created.

Habit 2 – Pitch with Purpose

My colleague Andrea Barrica introduced me to this quote by Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What do you want your potential investors walk away with after your pitch?

Keep that in mind and you very likely will change the story you tell and the way you tell it.

Habit 3 – Curate Your Story

It’s harder to tell a short than a long story.

It’s easy to tell your investors everything that’s happened in your life since you were 3, but whittling that down to what they really need to know is much harder — and much more compelling.

Don’t be lazy, or self-indulgent. Put in the extra 20% effort and curate only relevant and story that make you uniquely over qualify for your startup.

Habit 4 – Pitch like a Professional  

During your pitch, you need to convey two things: 1) why you are the most qualified person and 2) why investors should give you money now.  

Be sure to cover the following if you are ready, but always start with traction & demo if you have it.

Here are 11 things to cover:

  1. Traction, traction, traction
    1. Revenue
    2. User download
    3. User engagement
    4. Major signed partnerships
  2. Product demo (If you have it. You should have it.)
  3. Market size & target market
  4. Pain point
  5. Product
  6. Team (team, investors, advisors)
  7. Technology
  8. Business model
  9. Monetization model  
  10. Competition
  11. Market Trends

Habit 5 – Understand the Big Picture

Most founders I met are in love with their product.  

Unfortunately, as an investor, I don’t just want a person who is in love with himself or herself or their product.

I want a founder who truly understands how to create a business. You should be the one who can tell me everything about your competitors, market, legal environment or policy changes.

Habit 6 – 24 Hour Follow Up

After your first call or in person meeting, be sure to follow up within 24 hours and make sure to cover the following in your follow up email:

  • Thank them!
  • Your deck
  • Current traction
  • Team
  • Action items
  • Your ask
  • Ask for follow up meetings or phone calls

Habit 7 – Show Passion & Honesty

Building a startup is really, really hard work.

As an investor, I want to find someone who won’t back down when things get (even) harder, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make things happen.

A huge part of working hard — and knowing where to work harder — is knowing what isn’t working (yet).

Show your true self, and be honest. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know.” You don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to have the strength of character and work ethic to figure it out.