Most frequent questions and answers
China remains the most compelling growth opportunity in the world today, and also the most difficult to navigate. It is impossible for accelerators headquartered outside China to parachute into the country on a temporary basis and have any significant, transformative effect. It takes a team of experienced China start-up specialists to navigate the complexities of the China market. To our knowledge, we are the only operations-enabled accelerator staffed by a team of professionals who are not only based full-time in China, but who also have the distinction of building a China technology start-up into a global industry leader.
Our tech-industry operational capability in China is what distinguishes us from any accelerator we know of. In fact, we are the polar opposite of the type of accelerator that funds a multitude of start-ups, but provides them with little more than space and high level mentoring and “connections”. We maintain a standing team of professionals with backgrounds in R&D, sales & marketing, finance, law, compliance and IP at both multinationals and start-ups. This means that on Day 1, our select group of Partners can leverage our operations team to quickly and efficiently launch their China operations. Through a process of continuous execution and adaptation of strategy based on real-time market feed back, we work together with our Partners to find the business model that works best for their technology in China.
Unfortunately no. For our Partner Mode service, we prefer to be selective because we are an operations-enabled accelerator. This means that we dig in and do the real on-the-ground work of getting our client’s business started in China. Quality comes with limited band-width. So we are selective about the companies with which we partner. But if you have great technology that makes sense for the China market, we will be happy to partner with you. Please note that our Advisor Mode service is generally available to all clients.
In Advisor Mode, we consult and advise on the launch and/or operation of your China business, but we do not (with limited exceptions) participate in its operations. We charge a fee for our advisory services based on a project or hourly basis.
In Partner Mode, we (1) assign our accelerator operations team to work, under our guidance and with your approval, on the launch and initial operation of your China business, and (2) recruit and train your own local employees that will take over operations when you exit the accelerator in 1-2 years. We charge a set fee sufficient to cover our Partner Mode service, and we invest in your company in an amount sufficient to align our interest with your China success.
Does Partner Mode require our company to surrender management control to a local partner or transfer our technology?
Absolutely not. We established nTheta specifically to address the concerns of Western companies doing business in the New China. We do not seek to form a JV that jointly controls your China business, or to obtain any rights to your technology. On the contrary, we structured our accelerator program so that you maintain control of your company’s management and its technology. Our role is to serve as your China landing team, providing guidance on how to navigate the China market and protect your technology, while allowing you to leverage our accelerator functions to quickly commence operations until your own team is ready to operate independently. We are focused on corporate governance and exemplary business practices, including routine progress reports, feedback, performance reviews, and compliance training. At your option, we can report directly to your headquarters or to a manager that you appoint to work temporarily in our accelerator space.
Will nTheta operate at an international standard of ethics and excellence and be able to navigate differences in culture and corporate governance?
It is our daily goal to operate professionally and ethically at the international standard of excellence. Our core team previously lived, worked and/or studied in the US, and have intensive experience working at multinationals and managing US operations. We not only understand, but believe in, conducting business the right way through ethics and excellence. We make every effort to ensure that our business practices match your own and will work with your headquarters to make sure we live up to our common goals. We have also put in place compliance policies and will provide regular compliance training to both our operations team and to the local team we help recruit and train for you.
In Advisor Mode, we charge a service fee (hourly or project-based) which covers our costs plus a reasonable profit. In Partner Mode, we charge a set fee that covers the cost of our accelerator operations, and we invest in your company so that our interests are aligned and we share the risks and rewards of our joint effort to build your China success story.
We are a wholly private company and intend to stay that way. We are firm believers in the power of private enterprise, and all of our investors are private persons or entities. At the same time, we are not naïve about doing business in China and the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with regulators at all levels of government. We have expertise dealing with government regulators from our prior start-up work, and we assist our clients in dealing with government related issues.
The amount of our equity stake depends on your company’s valuation. However, we always take a reasonable stake and generally participate as a passive investor unless you wish us to be more actively involved. Our focus is on your China operations and creating the success story that will drive up the value of your company for our mutual benefit. Our investment in your company can take several forms, including services in exchange for equity, direct stock purchase, convertible note, a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) in your next financing round, or a combination of the above.