Gateway to the East: Video pitching innovator connects Asian and European markets
04 Mar 2019 --- Asian markets present a growing opportunity for western investors looking to expand their reach. However, there are fundamental differences between Asian and European or US markets which can present certain challenges, such as proximity, language barriers and the need to have a deep understanding of the market. In this space, Dublin-based Irish start-up VidPitch is seeking to establish itself as a gateway company to the Asian trade and investments market by creating video pitches tailored to Asian food and beverage partners.
“VidPitch creates video pitches in English, with translations, and broadcasts them to Asian food and beverage trade partners on local social media accounts, as well as industry-specific conferences that business owners are unable to attend,” the company’s Director, Sandy Sheerin, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
The company has been in operation since January 2018 and is mostly – for the time being – focusing on China, where rapid urbanization is opening up new business opportunities. According to Sheerin, there are going to be 221 cities with over one million inhabitants by 2025. This growth means that each of these cities and their local government-owned companies has the financial capacity to potentially invest in European projects that can tackle issues such as sustainable farming, food production and innovative agritech.
Click to EnlargeThese new, rapidly evolving cities and their growing middle-class have brought to the fore the need for better nutritional options. Processed foods may be convenient, low cost and easy to produce, but have brought with them an array of health issues such as cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The Chinese are, therefore, now exploring more sustainable and organic options.
The market does, however, present some hurdles, such as the language barrier and the geographical distance between Europe and Asia, which makes partnerships, not impossible, but challenging. The most significant challenge VidPitch faced was finding the right partners who had access to the most suitable buyers across Asia, Sheerin notes. “Once we secured our partnerships, it became easier to create two-way contracts with suppliers and buyers.”
“There is a high number of businesses who would like to export to Asia, but they are unable to find the right avenue that works best for them to showcase their goods or services. Issues such as logistics, targeting the wrong buyers to being unable to identify the right markets for their products, means business owners have come to us to ask us to give them a platform for their products to be picked up by trade partners,” she says.
Sheerin further explains that VidPitch creates visual insights – one to two-minute presentations – into the businesses’ product pitch to allow potential buyers or trade partners see:
- What the products actually are (such as ingredients/methods of production/manufacturing techniques, etc.);
- Who the creators, founders or teams are behind the products or business;
- The region or area that they come from (if it is important such as cheeses/meats from certain regions);
- Any important extra information such as transport, storage, etc.
Click to EnlargeSheerin didn’t divulge much information about the sort of investments the company has potentially received or any details about its current partners. “Exact company details are commercially sensitive; however, I can say that all European companies are EU portal registered or from Asia and are operating under a regulated body such as the Belt & Road Initiative.”
“Most food and beverage investment deals are between agtech, ingredient, organic farming, manufacturers and private investors and VC firms. They range anywhere between €1 million to €20 million (US$1.4 million to US$23 million),” she adds.
The company is also looking to expand its business and include more investors and companies to its partner portfolios, as well as exploring the potential of more Asian countries. “The 2020 expansion plans include working with more partners to access further emerging markets across Asia,” Sheerin explains.
According to the VidPitch, China’s economic model is changing with Beijing making environmental protection a priority and launching its “zero growth” plan in pesticide usage across the country by 2020. This plan includes banning the most toxic pesticides used in farming, resulting in China requiring the most advanced sustainable solutions in organic farming. Although the organic farming market in China is still at an early stage, the country will soon be the fourth-largest market for organic food and seek partnerships from similar EU projects to help them meet this high demand.
The company supports that all the above may present the space of European investments that will benefit both ends. The Chinese consider Europe a “green region,” Sheerin says, and are willing to take advantage of the knowledge Europe has built in sustainable and organic agritech.
By Kristiana Lalou
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