Recap on Houston: Innovation Events Highlight the Needs for Collaboration

The US China Innovation Alliance (UCIA) hosted the third US China Innovation and Investment Summit (UCIS) along with the second InnoSTARS pitch competition in Houston, Texas on May 14th and 15th, 2018. Last year, UCIA launched the InnoSTARS pitch competition in order to further fulfill their mission of introducing US innovators to Chinese investment and connecting the two economies through innovation. Companies who progress from the pitch competition are given the opportunity to travel to China on an all- expense paid trip to meet with investors and build their businesses.

This year’s InnoSTARS competition had 135 companies pitch their technology through a rigorous process of prescreening and judging, 35 companies from Houston have been selected to advance to the industry finals in China. Several of last year’s winners, such as Luka Erceg of Drylet, LLC and Rosana Ellis of Phdsoft, were also brought back as panelists this year to talk about their journey in China.

Building up on the momentum and recognition from the past two years, this year’s summit reached a new level in terms of overall success and influence, which has led to an abundance of high-level attendees. Prestigious investors as well as impressive companies were amongst the attendees, as were Chinese and American government officials and professionals.

UCIA saw the market needs for Chinese collaboration with US and used it as an opportunity to bring thought-provoking panels and panelists to this year’s summit. Nicholas Consonery, director of the Rhodium group, gave the keynote speech: US-China Direct Investment Patterns and Implication for the relationship, which was followed by a panel discussing the opportunities and challenges for US-China innovation and investment under current trade tensions.

The summit also featured four breakout sessions which were well attended by investors and high-ranking entrepreneurs. The core offering of the summit was face-to-face B2B matchmaking sessions, which UCIA facilitated in the hopes of connecting even more companies to investors across borders based on their specific interests and needs.

As a testimonial to UCIA’s success in driving US-China collaborations, many MOUs were signed at the summit indicating a long-term partnership between several institutions of the two countries.

In this fall, UCIA plans to send 100 US companies to China. These companies were selected across the country, including Chicago (March 12th), Denver (April 27th), Atlanta (May 16th), San Francisco (May 18th), and two more to go in Seattle on July 11th and Boston on July 17th.