It is interesting that Pinduoduo, through targeting lower income consumers through group buy and social media, quickly accumulated hundreds of millions of users and IPO’ed within three years of founding.
Colin Huang, Pinduoduo’s founder, famously said “those who live within the fifth ring road of Beijing would probably never understand Pinduoduo’s business model”.
It is probably more interesting that Huang Zheng himself did not actually come from the milieu of its target audience of consumers.
A history of good luck
Here is a brief CV of Huang:
1992: Enrolled into Hangzhou Foreign Languages School, one of the elitist high schools in Zhejiang Province (home to Alibaba and many other internet companies);
1998: Enrolled into Chu Kochen Honors College, Zhejiang University, one of the best undergraduate colleges in the province, without participating in the College Entrance Examination (Gaokao);
2002: Graduated from Zhejiang University with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science; enrolled in University of Wisconsin-Madison for Master’s degree course in Computer Science;
2004: Joined Google after graduation;
2006: Joined Dr Kai-fu Lee to start Google’s China operations;
2006: Joined electronics mogul Duan Yongping for lunch with Warren Buffett, which Duan paid US$600,000 in an auction;
2007: Left Google for entrepreneurship, started a journey where he created a series of companies;
2015: Founded Pinduoduo;
2016: Pinduoduo raised US$110 million Series B in July;
2017: Pinduoduo raised US$213.7 million Series C in February;
2018: Pinduoduo raised US$1.2 billion Series D in April; IPO’ed in July
At the right side of history
Not to say that Huang always had smooth sailing, but it seemed that he was at the right side of history during a number of key events, which propelled him to grow faster than many of his peers.
Something worth reflecting for all entrepreneurs and would-be-entrepreneurs.