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EyeVerify

Asia-Pacific Heating Up for US Payment Expansion Plays

XRP Talk - China will be one of the most difficult markets for outside companies to penetrate, but one of the most lucrative. “But we are seeing it as sometimes the first place to go” especially for companies that want to partner with handset manufacturers, said David Sullivan, managing director at Alliance Development Group (ADG). For about 14 years, Sullivan with ADG has been helping mainly U.S., although some European startups, expand into China. ADG has worked with 80 companies since its launch in 2001, including Zong, a mobile carrier billing startup acquired by PayPal.

      For over 14 Years ADG has been Assisting Overseas Technology Companies Entering the China market. By TechNode        
  
 
  
    
  
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  Today, entering the China market is the holy grail for many global tech companies. It’s a huge market that any business would love to get involved in. However, it’s also challenging market where the players should map out thorough strategies to penetrate it. With China’s internet giants actively scoping overseas markets for the latest technologies, there have been a few success stories, one of which was EyeVerify, which received investment from Qihoo360 last year. With EyeVerify’s team based in Kansas City, the deal was achieved with support from Alliance Development Group (ADG), functioning as their business development team in China.  Founded in 2001, ADG executes strategic China business development, corporate development, and market expansion initiatives for global technology companies, working deeply within the Chinese tech ecosystem. ADG has been around for 14 years in Beijing, helping over 70 companies since its founding in 2002. ADG’s clients vary in size from multinationals with large teams in China to middle market companies to startup solution providers, including market leaders such as PayPal, Nuance and IBM. The first ten years for ADG were mainly focused on helping telecoms companies understand the local market and to set up partnerships with service providers like Huawei. These included clients such as TCS promoting A-GPS platforms, PCTel selling network testing solutions, or Convergys with interactive messaging and voice solutions. In 2011, ADG strategically pivoted to focus on the fast-growing mobile internet sector.  Today ADG worka with hot technology software companies like Fleksy, EyeVerify, OpenMobile, Canonical (Ubuntu Mobile OS) and Graphite Software. These companies are typically looking for strategic distribution partnerships through cooperation with device manufacturers and internet companies, or are looking for strategic investors who can assist them in China or globally. Qihoo’s investment into EyeVerify was a good example of this trend. TechNode interviewed ADG’s General Manager Chris DeAngelis about overseas companies entering China market and his advice to them.   Who are your clients and why can’t they enter the China market themselves?  ADG’s customers primarily come from the U.S., Canada and the UK. Our clients are overseas companies that understand the value we provide and who accept a fee-paying model. Over the years we experimented with success-fee models but learned that if companies are not willing to get the support which is often needed to write a monthly check then they are probably not serious about the market and won’t be prepared when things start moving forward. China is a hard market and we need partners that are willing to invest along side of us. Success in China requires much more than a network or introductions; it requires persistence and a local presence hitting the streets every day. It always shocks us that so many companies will say China is their most critical market yet will assign only a third of one guy to cover China from the other side of the world. Flying in and out rarely leads to any success. We believe our model provides a way where they don’t have to go all in until they can gain real traction.  What is the competitive edge of ADG in helping foreign tech companies enter the China market?  We provide an alternative model for entering the China market that I have never seen elsewhere. For example, you can try hiring a local sales guy to get you started, or maybe you can find an experienced “China hand”, or you can reach out to the accounting or consulting firms. But the fact is, they don’t provide much beyond some basic introductions, some general advice and they definitely can’t provide an experienced team that can hit the ground running, and support your changing needs as you grow. A new company can lose a year just trying to understand Chinese business practices and how to manage the cultural challenges.  Another major difference with ADG is that we recognize that to be successful you need to be Chinese, and that’s why we only have one foreigner on our team in China. Other companies that try to offer similar services to overseas companies are 80% foreign, which means they can communicate effectively with their clients but can’t offer real value on the ground. We have a unique model where we act as part of our clients’ teams but still represent ADG and our own brand. Our model is very hard to execute which is probably why no one else does it. It has taken us years to figure out how to quickly integrate ourselves into effective members of our clients’ teams considering they all have different products, cultures and demands.  On the other hand, what is the current status of China companies going global?  It is happening very quickly and in subtle ways beyond what everyone sees with Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. There are companies like Cheetah Mobile, whose utility apps are already showing real success outside of China. APUS is another impressive company in the launcher space – in six months they gathered 90 million users, with over 90% outside of China. And of course there are the smartphone OEMs that are starting to have success building their own brands outside of China, like ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo, TCL (which is unique in that it sells 90% of their phones outside of China) and OnePlus, which has recently gained a lot of press coverage.  There will be local competition since there are preference for local suppliers that challenges US/global tech companies, what are the strategies to manage it?  In our experience these types of preferences for local products mainly affect big companies that sell products across all market segments and therefore often compete directly with local vendors. This can be difficult. because Chinese customers often don’t need the best in the world and ok is good enough. For us, our clients are typically No.1 or 2 in the world in their product niche. If we offer a product that is the best-in-class and the customers see and need the value, they will buy it. They will still negotiate a tough price but what is lost in price can often be gained in volume.  How do you help US/global tech companies to protect their intellectual property (IP) in China?  This is a somewhat controversial topic. I would say to most smaller companies that if you are afraid your IP will get stolen in China, it means that you probably cannot do business in any part of the world either. The best way to protect yourself is to keep innovating and to choose partners that are concerned about protecting their global reputation. Finding the right partners is critical. There are many companies in China that now understand it is better for them to buy or partner than to waste years trying to do it themselves.     Read the full article at  TechNode.com       ADG Insights   |   ADG and Clients News   |   ADG Newsletters                     Back to top

ADG Profiled in TechNode

TechNodeToday, entering the China market is the holy grail for many global tech companies. It’s a huge market that any business would love to get involved in. However, it’s also challenging market where the players should map out thorough strategies to penetrate it. With China’s internet giants actively scoping overseas markets for the latest technologies, there have been a few success stories, one of which was EyeVerify, which received investment from Qihoo360 last year. With EyeVerify’s team based in Kansas City, the deal was achieved with support from Alliance Development Group (ADG), functioning as their business development team in China.

      Disruptive US tech gets an edge with China's new strategic investors. By Forbes      China tech is going global. You don’t have to look far to see the signs. As one of the bigger indicators, China’s tech titans are investing heavily in U.S. tech startups, particularly those with a disruptive edge.  Take SoFi in San Francisco, which has funding with roots from China. Joe Chen, founder of Chinese Internet company Renren is SoFi’s earliest investor and one of the largest backers of the marketplace lender for young professionals.  Chen and SoFi CEO Mike Cagney first connected at a Stanford gathering in 2011 through an acquaintance, and Chen soon had invested $4 million in SoFi, advising Cagney meanwhile that he needed to be more aggressive with an expansion plan for his innovative student loan service.  More resources! A year later, in 2012, SoFi raised a pivotal $81 million, with Chen on board and –  thanks to Chen’s connections and his enthusiasm for the disruptive lending service — David Chao of Sand Hill Road venture firm DCM. Fast forward, and SoFi drew $235 million financing early this February, bringing its total capital raised to $399 million with such big names as Peter Thiel participating.  Since its start in 2011 thanks in part to Chen’s investment, SoFi has loaned $1.75 billion and has branched out beyond student loans to personal loans and mortgage loans and refinancing. Cagney says SoFi has only had two defaults on loans, both due to the borrower’s death. See earlier post on Chen’s investments.  A second example in this China outbound investment trend is EyeVerify, a biometric technology startup in Kansas City. EyeVerify raised $6 million in a Series A equity funding in August 2014, with another Chinese tech titan – mobile security company Qihoo 360 as a strategic investor. Joining Qihoo 360 were Sprint and Wells Fargo  EyeVerify’s CEO Toby Rush says he got an introduction to Qihoo 360 through China business development pro David Sullivan and his team at Alliance Development Group. Rush credits Sullivan for helping him to get comfortable with an investor from China. “It’s a different world, with different expectations,” says Rush. Another hesitation was how the deal with Qihoo could impact “where we go in China in the future” with potential other partners.  But there was no question about having NYSE-listed Qihoo 360 as a door opener to additional contracts inside the firm and extending its reach to mobile carriers. Mike Liao, recently named director of strategic initiatives at Qihoo 360 in the Valley — another indication of China tech’s outreach – is on the board of EyeVerify.  Having secured the financing, Rush is now focused on making his patented biometric technology mainstream, used in financial services, healthcare, mobile security and government.  The founders of EyeVerify and SoFi will be on stage at Silicon Dragon SF 2015 to speak about how their startups are scaling up.  Read the full article at  forbes.com       ADG Insights   |   ADG and Clients News   |   ADG Newsletters                     Back to top

Disruptive US tech gets an edge with China's new strategic investors

Forbes - EyeVerify’s CEO Toby Rush says he got an introduction to Qihoo 360 through China business development pro David Sullivan and his team at Alliance Development Group. Rush credits Sullivan for helping him to get comfortable with an investor from China. “It’s a different world, with different expectations,” says Rush. Another hesitation was how the deal with Qihoo could impact “where we go in China in the future” with potential other partners.

      Serious Enquiries Only: US tech companies upgrade their Chinese products to compete. By Business Now      An American entrepreneur walks into a Beijing boardroom to pitch his new mobile phone security application to potential investors. He speaks no Chinese, yet his presentation – as well as his product – resonates with the all-Chinese audience. To pull this off, the entrepreneur, Chris Barnett, and his company, EyeVerify, invested sig- nificant time and money in the Chinese market – de- veloping a Chinese version of the app, testing it on native speakers, adjusting for accents and accuracy – all before they stepped foot in China. The US-based startup’s level of commitment at such an early stage impressed investors, and may become the new norm for US Internet companies hoping to move into China, where they don’t always possess a clear market advantage.  Read the full article at  BUSINESS NOW.       ADG Insights   |   ADG and Clients News   |   ADG Newsletters                     Back to top

Serious Enquiries Only: US tech companies upgrade their Chinese products to compete

AmCham China - Chris DeAngelis, general manager of Alliance Development Group, which provides Beijing-based business development services to companies such as EyeVerify, agreed that in China, building relationships and trust can be more important than in other markets. “They really have to like you and trust you to want to work with you, and the best tech doesn’t always win,” DeAngelis said. Silicon Valley can be “a little aggressive or arrogant,” he said, and Chinese companies don’t respond to that. 

ADG supports EyeVerify in closing $6 million funding round highlighted by China's Qihoo 360 investment

ADG supports EyeVerify in closing $6 million funding round highlighted by China's Qihoo 360 investment

ADG supports EyeVerify in closing $6 million funding round highlighted by China's Qihoo 360 investment

PR Newswire - ADG is pleased to announce that its client, EyeVerify, a leader in biometric solutions for smartphones, has completed a US$ 6 million Series A funding round which was highlighted by a major investment from Qihoo 360, China's leading security, search, and mobile internet company, in addition to investments from a major android device OEM, Sprint, and Wells Fargo.