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The rise and fall of Shenqibuy, an 18-year-old’s million-dollar startup

A teenaged girl in a waist-long blonde wig and anime costume pitches for her startup to a group of well-known investors in China. The girl would become famous, but her success would be short-lived.

Now the once hot startup has shut down its website. Zhu Bo, the CEO of Inno Valley – Shenqibuy’s angel investor – told Chinese news outlet Jiemian that he has not paid any attention to the startup in a long time.

In January, a TV programme entitled “I’m a Unicorn” featured the 18-year-old high school dropout, Wang Kaixin, and her ecommerce startup Shenqibuy targeting the “post-95s”, the consumers born after 1995.

After being aired on TV, the startup landed RMB 20 million financing (USD 3 million) led by Matrix Partners China, followed by ZhenFund and the startup’s angel investor, Inno Valley.

Founded in September 2015, the startup offers snacks, stationery, and anime-related toys to its young customers. The founder claimed on TV that her e-commerce platform was seeing more than 1,000 orders per day since it was launched.

The hype of a seemingly promising founder did not last long. GQ China in May reported the CEO was guilty of data fabrication, going back her previous statements, and spending the financing to lead an extravagant personal life. The article said that the startup only saw 1,000 orders on 11 November, a Black Friday-like shopping festival on China’s e-commerce platforms.

Wang is not alone among the so-called post-90s and even post-95s startup founders who received much media coverage but did not live up to the expectation.

Yu Jiawen, born in 1990, made a name for himself for being a young internet tycoon with his startup Super Curriculum. Later, the startup did not disclose any financing after 2014, and faded out of the public eye.

(The top photo is the Chief Executive, Wang Kaixin. Photo from the screenshot of BTV)

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