Note: This article is written by Cheyenne DONG from TechNode.

Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind innovation, growth, and shaping the industry. Their role is paramount in building a startup into a unicorn from day one, as unique perspectives and entrepreneurial spirit are key factors driving the vibrant growth of new enterprises. On Friday, five leading entrepreneurs spoke at BEYOND EXPO about how they have succeeded in their careers, sharing valuable experiences and insights into entrepreneurship.

Below are highlights from the renowned entrepreneurs in conversation with Phoenix TV anchor Richard Ren at the expo’s Founder Forum session. Their comments have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Justin Gong, Co-founder & Senior Vice President of XAG

Our goal is to make agricultural production more efficient, producing more with less. It’s an ongoing project, and in the short term, we want to introduce drones and autonomous technology to farmers, so they don’t need to worry about hiring people amid labor shortage.

In the long term, we want to utilize AI technology and robotics to help farmers manage uncertainties like climate environmental changes.

China is still a growing economy, and we have already proven to the world that we can produce world-class companies and startup companies.

For young entrepreneurs, my advice is to find a really good partner. Don’t trust yourself too much because you can sometimes be too positive or too negative. Find the right partner, but don’t trust them easily at the very beginning. For me, it took 10 years of working together with my partner to build a strong partnership. Now we are both best friends and partners.

David Lee, CEO & Co-founder of NEX

To start something, you always need to quit something. It’s always about making sacrifices and tough choices. Some are big choices. Leaving Apple was a pretty big choice for me as well, but it’s also about the lifestyle that you choose, it is your own personal pursuit of something that you really want to do.

I’m a very optimistic person, sometimes overly optimistic. I believe that I can change the world, do something really great, and solve significant problems. I have immense  confidence in what my team and I can achieve. However, I am also paranoid enough to avoid making critical mistakes. That’s why we have a company. That’s why for the past seven years, we have survived the pandemic, weathered economic downturns, and we’re still going strong.

We can use the funding to crystallize our vision into simple hardware that delivers the best possible experience for the mass market. Once we release the product, it is loved by users. We send samples to all major retail stores, and they all want to carry the product. Eventually, what attracted investors was having a product that users love, which basically demonstrates market fit. With a proven market fit, every conversation [with potential investors] becomes a little bit easier.

Carl Wu, Co-Founder and CEO of New Frontier Group

I think we were at the right place at the right time because China was aging quickly, and home care was a lot cheaper. The cost of home care is perhaps about a tenth of that in senior living facilities. That’s what Chinese families wanted, and it aligned with what the government wanted, which is  more than 90% of the people should age at home.

So, we were in the right place at the right time. We went from zero to providing 100,000 visits a day to homes. Today, we run the one of largest home health companies in China, offering everything from basic care and nursing care to managing diseases at home. We took the simple idea of addressing China’s aging population and built a home health service in a relatively short period of time.

Eric Cheng, CEO & Founder of Carsome

I think we have achieved a lot of success, especially in creating transparency in the region. Southeast Asia is not just one country, right? It comprises multiple countries like Indonesia with 600 million people, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, each with very different markets. However, you will find one common issue when it comes to looking for a used car and selling it; the whole market is fragmented and inefficient, partly because most of the trading process is offline. When we first set out to solve this problem, we focused on the customers’ pain points.

For example, if you want to sell a car today, where would you go and what kind of pricing would you expect? We wanted to create a platform that could assess a car’s condition and match it to demand across the entire country. To do that, you really need to be able to develop digital tools to facilitate this matching process. We started very simple with one service – helping consumers sell their cars quickly. Everything could be done within an hour. We saw strong traction, for example, when we started operations in 2015, we sold 30 cars in the first month.

Now we are selling about 15,000 cars per month, showcasing our ability to scale and grow, year upon year, from strength to strength. I think a lot of this success is due to our ability to understand the original technology, to build digital tools in between the whole process of trading and layer on top of it, which is something that has not been done before in many parts of the world.

Chi Xu, Founder and CEO of XREAL

I don’t know what is a better fit for this industry. But to me, it feels like we’re in a brand-new industry, we need some other company. If you really want to stand out, you need to be disruptive, and that means all the technology isn’t there yet. That’s why having somebody who really knows the boundaries of different technologies is crucial, because this is a combination of optics, software algorithm, AI and hardware in general.

That’s why if you look at any AR company, you probably won’t find a single technology officer who knows all the different kinds of boundaries. Being an expert in most of these areas is definitely a plus because building hardware is really challenging, especially knowing the boundaries. And sometimes you need to push the boundary a little bit. This is the part where, I think, if you’re an expert, you really have a huge plus.

I think an entrepreneur is not trained. From my personal experience, I don’t want to be the CEO from day one, because I don’t think I’d ever be an entrepreneur. It would have been nice for me maybe to learn alongside someone but not lead from the start. An entrepreneur is always very lonely. Sometimes even if you have co-founders, you still feel lonely because you can’t tell them everything and you don’t expect them to share the same kind of workload and barrier as you do, so you have to be vision driven, you have to be very dedicated, you have to be very aggressive, and you have to have a very big heart and all of that. I don’t think one can ever be trained for it.