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One Night in Beijing

Back in the day when I commuted between Beijing and a bunch of other places in the world, this song, One Night in Beijing, was wildly popular.

It’s a really catchy song, made more so when you recognize some characters and phrases within it. It was (and still is, in some parts) a massive karaoke favorite in one of the karaoke capitals of the world, Beijing.

I’m writing today to invite you to spend one night (more, actually, but I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to use this catchy song title) with me in Beijing. We’ll hang out, eat some frog hotpot, have a Harbin Beer, and generally chill. If you play your cards right, I’ll take you for Muslim bread, the world’s greatest street food.

It won’t just be us. We’ll be there as part of the China Angels Mentorship Program (CAMP), where I’m one of a group of very few North American mentors.

I want you to pay really close attention to this, because if you’re an Ontario tech startup looking at the China market, this could be a perfect fit.

First, here’s all the information you need to apply. And, please, do so quickly, as the deadline is this Friday, the 4th of September.

I’m going to make this easy, and set forth the top 5 reasons why you should apply, in no particular order:

  1. The China Canada Angels Alliance are good peeps. Having been to China 56 times on business, I’m very guarded, extremely wary about with whom I do business. I’ve done my due diligence on this group and am comfortable to be working with them. They’re actually actively investing in Canadian companies — by my last count, six I know of;
  2. The term sheet for the CAMP program is eminently fair and transparent. I helped build the term sheet, as did several other folks smarter than me. The lead architect on it is Chris Flood, a friend and very accomplished Canadian lawyer with a dozen years experience practicing in Beijing. Chris is so skilled in China matters, that I recruited him to be one of our Industry Advisors for LegalX at MaRS;
  3. You know less about China than you think. You need to experience it by going there with the right people. I remember coming home after my first trip to China and thinking “I’ve got this thing figured out.” Each trip since, I realize that while I might have seen and experienced more, in some ways I understand less while in other ways, those who call me a “China expert” might, to an extend, be correct. You need to get there to experience this paradox, which leads me to my next point;
  4. The North America-and-China-based mentors for CAMP are going to be amazing. I’ve met like 40 of them. They’re sharp and accomplished and very not full of crap and include folks like Randall Howard. They’ll do their best to help your business grow and scale. Their understanding of the Chinese market is massive and they really seem to get entrepreneurs;
  5. I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. Kind of an extension of point 1, but I’d honestly say that, over the past 15 years, 95% of the conversations I’ve had about and in China go nowhere. It’s immensely difficult to distinguish between substance and palaver when it comes to doing business in and with China. Let’s get real — the fact that OCEhas their very formal stamp of approval on this, has been leading the charge on spreading the world about the program and rounding up the applications, and is reserving the right to make follow-on investments in these companies, is a very good thing.

Again, the deadline for your completed CAMP application is next Friday, the 4th, which, I guess, also marks the end of an amazing and truly crazy busy summer. Over the past very few months, I launched LegalX at MaRS with Jason Moysewe made the Fastcase 50Law Made is getting a pretty huge amount of really positive attention— significant things happening all around. All this is to say that if CAMP weren’t a pretty big freaking deal, I wouldn’t be investing a second of time into it and wouldn’t be recommending that, if you have your eye on the China market, you should very strongly consider applying.

As a final note, Chris Flood and I are actually holding a workshop on doing business in China. It’s September 11th (eeeeeesh — I know) here in Toronto.You can sign up here, and it costs only $16.82, because that’s how we roll. If you reach out to me on Twitter and are the first to correctly identify Prince’s absolutely greatest song EVER, I’ll get you a free ticket.