OTEC (Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Competition) is a yearly competition running for the past 3 years bringing in local and overseas startup companies to compete against each other. It’s organised by Chaoyang Overseas Talent Center (COTC) in Beijing. The way it works is that the winners of local competitions around the world then compete against each other in Beijing. This year the global event will be held on July 29th.
I helped organise the local competition in Israel last year and was glad to attend the one this year, which happened about 2 weeks ago in Tel Aviv organised by Startup East. Here is a Scope I made of one of the pitches, you can get the gist of how it was.
I was on both sides of these competitions. I had a few opportunities to be one of the judges, a mentor helping the startups with their pitches, and also as just an attendee watching from the side.
I’ve been to many startup competitions of all sorts, and have figured out there are some common questions judges are likely to ask. It’s not an exact science, but if you are about to join a competition you probably want to be prepared for these.
By the way, sometimes there are other reasons for winning a startup competition and it’s not because the company who won is the best. There are other considerations, which is OK.
So, what are these questions I see coming up many times? Others might have a slightly different list (add them at the comment section if you like).
- What’s your business model? (The actual question is, how do you make money, but it’s a nicer way of asking)
- How do you protect yourself against competition? Or, what is your advantage over your competitors?
- What’s the company’s current state?
Personally, I think that if the judges are not clear on the business model after you pitch, the startup made a bad job at pitching, this should be one of the main slides.
Anyway, back to the OTEC event.
Last year’s Tel Aviv OTEC winner Coupon Roller, was very different. Coupon Roller is gaming related and develops technologies to help publishers best monetize their traffic while BAZZ is a safety utility app for safe driving. BAZZ reads your messages for you while you drive so you don’t have to reach out to your phone. The great thing about it is that it can also connect to every texting app (yes, even WeChat).
So, as you see the competition itself is very open to a wide range of startups as long as they are international. Why is that so important then?
I mentioned before that China is expanding globally and at the same time wishes to attract foreign talent. OTEC is organised by Chaoyang government which is one of the districts (practically it’s a large part of the city with about 8 million people) in Beijing. Many of the foreign community members in Beijing live in Chaoyang and this is one of its advantages over other districts in Beijing, enabling them to attract more foreigners to the district.
Anyway, let’s see who wins the finals this year.
Image credit by slgckgc