Hi Lin, thanks for talking with us today. Please can you tell us a bit about yourself.
After studying an MSC in finance at ESCP Europe I’ve consistently worked in finance, working at Merrill Lynch, UBS and latterly at Summit Partners, where I was responsible for sourcing deals through the internet.
This was where I really saw the potential of the internet to reshape M&A in the mid-market, leading to the creation of DealGlobe in 2014. I love working in London and I am passionate about developing the business and cultural link between UK and China. Currently, I am also the president of the Association of Chinese Financial professionals in the UK (ACfPU) with over 1,000 members.
What is DealGlobe?
DealGlobe is a digitally-focused business delivering an end-to-end approach for M&A and capital raise for SME’s, based in London, Shanghai & Beijing.
The majority of online M&A activities to date have been quite basic, little more than online promotion. Buying or selling businesses is complex, especially cross-border, requiring significant offline activities. As a result there have been very few genuinely executional online platforms – and none with a global reach.
Addressing this was the inspiration for DealGlobe. Whilst businesses and sectors have similarities. every business sale or investment strategy is individual. To create a truly end-to-end digital business model with global reach for M&A and capital raise you need to combine both online and offline capabilities, which is exactly what DealGlobe does.
The online platform automates and deepens the more standard parts of the process. It has a proprietary algorithm to support business match making and analytics to assist with sector and individual business level decision-making, while the internet enables global reach.
Supporting this we have a centralised infrastructure that drives product development as well as providing remote support for individual business situations – from specific analytics through to accessing global or local industry experts – essentially a digitally enabled and scaled ‘virtual consultancy’ operating either through the platform or directly from local Deal Partners. Deal Partners are the core of the offline service, a global network of M&A professionals who provide the locally relevant offline executional, process & compliance support.
What are DealGlobe’s core values?
We are a very young business and since the start I and the executive team have had a clear view on the values that guide our approach to our business and the outside world. These are more rooted in a statement of behavior than just being a single word, but if you want me to explain, I can!
These are to be the most active to the needs of our clients and changes in the business envoronment (Agility), to have an expert capability across all we do (Knowledge), to be open and clear internally and externally (Transparency), to be customer and people focused, not just process and technology (Human), to be forward looking, ask ‘why’ and constantly improve (Innovative) and of course to be consistent and ethical across all our activities (Integrity)
What are some of the challenges that have to be overcome in bilateral trade between the UK & China?
Well, of course if you are a user of DealGlobe our foundations in China mean we turn challenges into opportunities….more seriously China is both very focused on external investment and very rapidly adapting to the much more established processes that have evolved over a long period in the West.
With its history of overseas trade the UK is also one of the most adaptable and easiest partners for China. The knowledge gap on both sides is closing, the pace of change is so fast, maybe just as China is adapting to the outside world we in the UK need to understand the speed of this and not risk looking at China with what can be regarded as out of date preconceptions.
Last month, DealGlobe held an all day forum during London Tech Week. How did this go?
We were a little unsure about running the China Britain Investment & Partnership forum on the last day of Tech Week, but in fact we were surprised and delighted to be over-subscribed, hosting just under 300 guests.
Our 39 panel guests were all leaders, either of multi-billion businesses or policy influencers, which led to great debate and really extensive networking. I heard personally of five new business relationships being developed through networking, one possibly very significant, so I think we delivered some real value.
The UK is the number one destination for Chinese investment in the EU, why do you think this is the case?
Really as I said earlier the UK has a rich history of trade and is one of the easiest partners for China to work with. Bodies like the China-Britain Business Council, UKTI and the 48 Group have both knowledge and connections that give concrete help. Also the UK as an advanced economy has a lot for China to learn from, and is also a safe destination for investment and partnerships in a wide range of areas from tech through to infrastructure.
How can a UK based startup attract investment from China?
There is no simple answer, it depends really on the tech or innovation and of course the potential value in development to Asian markets as well as the West. At DealGlobe we received good support from UKTI and I would strongly recommend a start up to engage with China-focused bodies, their experience will help communicate the ideas strongly and improve the chances of being noticed by more of the right people.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
Seeing a thought become a reality, working with a team that shares my passion and achieving better value for the businesses we work with.
What’s key to a successful pitch?
The clarity of the idea, the clarity of the new value / benefits it brings, the clarity of the implementation plan.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking for financial backing?
It’s tough but from every knock back there can be a learning that means the next time you are stronger and your pitch becomes more compelling. If you believe in your business, don’t give up.