Interview Dashmote EN
Dashmote is a company I started four years ago and it is an artificial intelligence company. To make it a bit more specific, on this platform what we do is we analyze on a daily base millions of pictures to get the insights out of the images. Imagine companies in the hair care industry for example. So what the company essentially wanted to do is to figure out what is the next hairstyle for example. Previously what they did is they interviewed a lot of people, did a lot of surveys and get this information. Which was quite slow and very unscalable. what we actually do is we analyzed millions of pictures, here we analyzed on a daily basis like 30 million pictures and then we catch up the kind of trends over time on seeing what is going to be the next style.
So I very often get the question why I came to China, depending who asks cause I might look Chinese but my parents didn’t even teach me one word. I like to always to reverse the question, why not come to China.
We wanted from the start to become a global company, so for us it was clear for us to come to China, the market opportunity but also willingness to learn how things are being done over here. This market, the Chinese market, is amazing. I think it is almost like a wet dream for entrepreneurs you could say. It offers so many opportunities you know, it is literally the largest market in the world.
I think, if you want to be part of the future you should be a little bit where the future is being built and for our industry that definitely is here in China. It’s super competitive, so don’t ever think you’re unique because it’s not the case you know. You’re surrounded by this entire kind of vibe where you want to move fast. Here it’s really about moving fast. It might seem like a not so nice thing, but it’s actually a nice thing, because you get more motivated and you try really to do your best. You know, it’s like a competition vibe in a good sense, and that allows you to think big and grand and aim for the stars. Let's put it like that!
If we talk about cities and which city an entrepreneur should go to, Shanghai I think is still the most open port to the rest of China, I think it’s the easiest landing pad. There’s of course a lot of multinationals here and a lot of English speaking kind of things, so if you feel like a little bit scared by not knowing the language, Shanghai is a lower entry barrier to enter.
So how do you prep for coming to China, how do you in general prep for international expansion? I think it really starts by finding and building the network. For me specifically it helped to talk to former entrepreneurs who made the step. Talk to the government, don’t neglect them, they have the already existing network; prep as much as you can and make sure you are mentally ready to make the step.
So lets talk about best learnings or key learnings that I got. The first one, definitely that sticks in your mind is, in China everything is difficult but everything is possible at the same time. So I think that’s one of the key learnings, that really if you try your hardest in China, at least it is all possible in the end so that makes it really worth it. Another learning for me is that business in China is really about building relationships. It goes for anywhere in the world, but in China it goes one level higher so definitely invest a lot into relationship. The third learning, that goes in general for entrepreneurship is: stay calm. And why you should stay calm here is because there is a very big hinge of those things can be done last minute. And by last minute I mean literary last minute. Like we are sitting in this wonderful office and I was in a similar one in China and I came there on the day of the opening and the floor was not in yet. So they finished the floor 30 minutes before the official opening. You might thing that is the outlier, no this is the standard.
If you are not up for a challenge definitely don’t go, but if you are willing to work hard and give it your two cents and be unique, you have a fairly good chance of making it.
My advice would be: really focus on your niche and try to be the monopolist within that niche. You know, that’s the faster way to spread it. I think that’s a really good lesson. So if there is a small thought in the back of your mind… there’s nothing that can hurt by just reaching out through one e-mail. I look forward meeting you all and helping you out.