Startup Watch: Chinese fintech, localization, and capitalizing on the Asian sun

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business/VC fund/incubator.

Here’s our wrap of what we’re reading on China’s fintech industry, discrimination in the sharing economy, and a little something to further depress you at the end of the working week.

China’s mobile wallets are thick. China is the leader in the global fintech industry and in its rise to the top of the championship are lessons for entrepreneurs in emerging markets, the biggest of which is addressing the gaps in the local market. In China, many startups have grown to turn the country into a one-stop-shop for online payments, borrowing, and investing - both for the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy. It also doesn’t hurt to be in a market of 1.3 billion people.

All hail the Indian - and Saudi - sun. According to this report by CB Insights, the number of the energy deals signed outside the US is growing every year. While India dominated the non-US energy deals with solar and wind projects, Saudi Arabia’s Nomadd Desert Solar Solution, a desert solar panel cleaning system, is a regional leader and raised $1.2 million last year. MENA energy startups: eyes on the skies! You’re on the right side of the world to grow your next solar startup.

(Image via CB Insights)

Five stars to cover up discrimination. Not only is the sharing economy scary - you let people potentially rummage through your drawers or ruin your possessions/homes, but it also seems that it can be a huge market for discrimination. This article, though, proposes that the leaving of reviews of hosts and guests (something Airbnb does) helps to lessen this problem.

What will they say about you… in those great sneakers? Last week Nike came out with a video of female Arab athletes showing off their skills in their respective male-dominated sports industries. By striking up controversy and playing on a point of contention in the region, the company attracted more eyeballs to the its brand. It also empowered many Arab women, who now will not think twice about where to buy their next pair of sneakers.

Wamda of the week: From street seller to 3D printed prostheses supplier. The realization that no one is coming to save you, or make your childhood dreams come true, is a powerful motivator. For Palestinian refugee Ibrahim Mohammad, once a juice seller on the streets of Beirut, the drive led him to move to the US and partner with Syrian-born American Omar Soufan. Together, they hope to serve refugees with 3D printed prostheses. Now what’s your excuse for giving up on your dream?

In Kenya, onions don’t make everyone cry. This has to be one our favorite examples of a successful social enterprise - a real social enterprise, not a nonprofit that’s rebranded to ride the startup bandwagon. Markit Opportunity, a Nairobi-based startup connects small farms to big corporate buyers and exporters. For those waiting for permission, here you go: you are not evil for making money while still helping others.

Equal does NOT mean the same. Hi. Guess what? Women make babies, and men don’t. They both build companies though. Here is another fact: The slogans and lines dished out by investors, politicians, incubators and accelerators around supporting and investing in women are worthless. Because the money isn’t where their mouth is. Investing in women begins with acknowledging that women are not the same as men, and investing in a woman, does not mean she’s open to dating you.

It is you or is it Trump? According to the Bloomberg US Startups Barometer, which tracks fundraising, initial public offerings, acquisitions, and startup deal-making has dropped 37 percent in the US since last year. It’s the lowest it’s ever been since April 2014. While some blame the volatile political climate, others think there just may be a lagging number of worthy startups to invest in. But it’s probably Trump. Just kidding, it’s probably the startups. I mean Trump. I mean the startups.

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