We touched down Hong Kong with heavy rain that gave me mixed feelings. It was neither my first time in Hong Kong nor the first international exhibition I had attended. However it is different with my old time in my old companies when we have marketing people, local support team together…this time we were just on our own (Two guys from ELINKGATE – a young startup company).
The night before the event, we stayed up late to tweak the system so the demo can run without connecting to the real server. My lifetime engineer’s experience tells us, there will always be problems during the show so we should have backup plan B and C.
Our show was on the first day of Rise. We rushed to the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre early to set up our booth and got shocked when seeing a long queue of people there. According to the information from the Rise website, there are about 8.144 people from 88 countries in attendance. I heard from other forums that the number is counterfeit, but the queue really impressed me.
At 8.30 AM, the entries were opened, and we rushed to our booth, set up our own networks and demo system. We did not trust the Exhibition Network, so plan B is executed. A quick test and we breezed in as thing go smoothly. The first visitor came, and our story was presented as planned. However when the floor got crowded the problem pops up. The eLinkMe kept disconnected although it could recover but thing responded slowly. We decided to switch to plan C (just talk and play video demo). The lesson here is that if you plan to demo a wireless device then be prepared it may go crazy during the exhibition because there are thousands of smartphone around. The last lucky visitor who can see our live demo is Mr. Ziggy Cheung from Techpilotfund. We did remember this because the demo made him exciting and left us his contacts but soon after he had left we had to do the talk show only.
One interesting thing at Rise is the night summit. Networking is what Rise encouraged us to do so they organized the places for people to meet up at the bar. However, they confused us by a lot of email invitations. We did not have time to go through all the email, so we just picked the most expensive invitation with beliefs the more money, the better. The choice is not bad, but if I attend next time, I will choose differently. What I regretted is that because the careless choice we did not have a chance to drink with other Vietnamese Startup, who also attended this event. I hope that we can catch up with them at another time.
Finally, it was a great, fun and very useful event for us. We have not found our angels yet, but the positive feedbacks from people on the floor inspire us to continue our journey. Let go back to work and make our dream come true.
Below are the things I will do differently if I attend the event again:
- Do not use Logo and put something meaningful about the business. Rise asks us for a Logo and one line to tell about business. However, one line is not enough to tell anything. The visitor may skip you if they do not really understand what you are doing.
- Do the homework about Investor and contact them early by App before the event: we were so busy for the demo, so we were just starting using the App to contact on the demo day. As mentioned above, the network is terrible, and most messages could not be sent out.
- Grab the physical contact when it is possible. We meet some bloggers and journalists whom liked our product and wanted to keep contact. They use Rise App to make connections but later we found out most of their message could not be received.
- Spend more time at the networking session at night. Inspired by Uber’s story when they signed the deal 37Mil after going to the Pub 🙂