Today was the day that students have been waiting for on the Shanghai Global Entrepreneurship program: their final pitch presentations!
If you’ve ever watched the show Shark Tank, then you’d know exactly what students’ pitch presentations were like. Students pitched their restaurant proposals in front of 3 guest judges (Joe Wong, Sofyan Benhaddou, and Rong Xu) and their 2 professors, hoping to win the entrepreneurs’ favor and their (hypothetical) investment in their restaurant chains.
The stakes were high for these presentations because there was a monetary incentive for the top 3 groups. The third prize winners would take home a cash prize of 500 RMB. The second-place winners would get a prize of 1,000 RMB. And, finally, the first prize winners would take home a whopping 2,000 RMB!
In the presentation lineup, we had the following groups and restaurants:
LED Lounge (by Kelly, Gigi, Thuy An, Juliet, and Cathy)
A boba tea lounge and arcade by day (2 – 8 pm) turned bar by night (9 pm – 3 am). With hours of operation meeting the demands of teens and adults alike, this restaurant is truly meant for everyone. To draw customers to their business, they have created Instagrammable spaces within the restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is fully decorated with LED lights and each drink comes inside of an LED-lit cup.
Jammin' (by Emma, Crystal, Kathrin, and Katy)
A jam company striving to bring organic, natural jam to the everyday Chinese consumer. Their sales strategy is to beat out their competitors by offering lower prices, fresher ingredients, and more avenues for purchasing. Their target audience is the corporate workers and students who need a quick, healthy breakfast. They plan to operate out of a central location as well as online.
101% (by Harlie, Yuting, Evie, and Melanie)
A study café for high school and college students that rivals the noisy environment of Starbucks while providing a more fun, aesthetic experience than just your local library. With seating arrangements for large-group and individual studying, this café was meant for all kinds of students with all kinds of study needs.
Lucky Fro-Yo (福乐呀) (by Patrick, Matthew, Ngat, and Sophia)
The most high-tech restaurant pitched today, Lucky Fro-Yo is a robot-operated frozen yogurt chain. Targeting mid- to upper-class Chinese consumers with an appetite for frozen yogurt and enhancing their social media profiles, this chain’s starting location will be on West Nanjing Road, which is well-know for its trendy and high-end businesses.
U Thirsty (你渴了吗) (by Harbani, Louise, Ean, and John)
Targeting upper-middle class to upper class working professionals and students, this fresh, healthy juice bar and eatery rivals Starbucks and Coco. On the food menu is options such as avocado toast, salads, and sandwiches. Juice shots and even juice with coffee shots are available to give the busy Chinese consumer a much-needed energy boost.
Wildcard (by Isabella, Francesco, and Tracy)
Rivaling domestic brands like Coco and 1点点 and international brands like Jamba Juice, this company offers healthy boba alternatives that don’t have as much sugar for a healthier lifestyle. Their target market is health-conscious Chinese citizens who want to maintain or lose weight. Instead of using sugary boba pearls, this company even plans to use fruit-based popping pearls as a healthier replacement.
Crease (by Diego, Yanyu, Najmul, and Evan)
The name Crease represents the overlap of luxury fashion, modern art, and food. Their target consumers are people who value “hyped up” luxury brands, are influenced by key opinion leaders, and want to display their wealth through their fashion purchases. By using their soft serve ice cream station as a means to bring people in off the street, they plan to create a space for fashion enthusiasts to come together. Within the establishment, they also plan to have a temporary exhibition space to educate consumers on fashion brands and to establish an online community and store.
Früit Bar (by Lilli, Daniel, Niko, and Ludo)
To begin their presentation, the Fruit Bar entrepreneurs gave the judges a taste of their Solar Flare smoothie. Fruit Bar offers smoothies, acai bowls, and crepes by day. By night, it transforms into a bar with healthy cocktails. This fruit bar is cheaper than its competitors, with the average cost of a smoothie at around 37 yuan (versus 42 yuan at other establishments). They base their ingredients and flavor profiles on survey data from their customers about their tastes and preferences. Not only that, but this company is environmentally focused, using only paper straws and mason jars to serve their beverages and composting all their food waste. In addition, they promise to donate 5% of their profits to charity.
Triple 888 (by Daphne, Alexis, Yilan, and Samantha)
8 is considered the luckiest number in China. This company’s focus is a Chinese classic: hot pot. Their slogan is “hot pot whenever, wherever.” Their focus is allowing busy people to enjoy this classic meal not just at home, but anywhere, including in the corporate business office. They plan to start as a popup chain at local social events to build personal connections with customers. They use only fresh, healthy ingredients, unlike their competitors.
Madame M (by Easy, Gabi, Yilin, and Nathan)
In Easy’s words, this is the place to go “to get your kawaii vibe and food need fulfilled.” That’s right, this is a classic Japanese-style maid café that allows middle to upper-class teens and young adults who consider themselves Weaboos and Foodies to get their anime fix while eating Japanese food. This café will be opening operations in the Gubei community of Shanghai, which has the largest population of Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese expats in Shanghai.
After some incredible presentations, the judges went off to deliberate and choose the 3 overall winners.
In third place was LED Lounge, winning the prize of 500 RMB!
In second place was Lucky Fro-Yo, winning the prize of 1,000 RMB!
And taking home the grand prize of 2,000 RMB was Fruit Bar!
Although they did not win in the overall categories, U Thirsty and Triple 888 received honorable mentions because two of the judges said that they would actually be willing to invest in their companies. That positive validation and testament to their business model is a prize in and of itself!
To conclude the presentation day, one of the professors, Professor Ken, had this to say:
“Congratulations to everyone for the quality of your ideas and the professional, confident, and engaging way that you made your pitches today. As Mr. Rong said, there were no losers today, only winners. Over these past 3 weeks, I was continually amazed by your maturity and ability. You were a pleasure to work with. I am confident that if you continue to follow your dreams, you will have great success in the future. I might even see you on Shark Tank!”
We couldn’t agree more with Professor Ken! Cheers to a future full of great ideas and many more great pitches for our students!