Some of the Latest in Tech on One of the Oldest Stages in Beijing
A combination of technology entrepreneurship and oriental Chinese culture, the Chinaccelerator Demo Day held at Zheng Yi Ci Opera Theatre, was highly praised by guests whom included the Geeks on a Plane [lead by Dave McClure] and a huge pool of investors and tech-enthusiasts.
This season, Dalian-based accelerator had 9 start-ups, ranging from educational, social, motivational tools and even e-commerce.
The Companies On Show
Towards creating the ultimate teaching platform, eProf provides social learning experience through linking with like-minded people and synchronous real-time interaction unlike Youtube and Skype. Having implemented a virtual classroom feature with simple and intuitive UI design, it can host up to 30 students at any point in time and has since gathered an impressive amount of users within 12 hours of going live. What’s more, Trevor, the co-founder of eProf, expects educators to earn up to $300 per class. So, teachers, what are you waiting for?!
Asking for USD 400K in investments, eProf plans to upgrade the site to HTML5 and to scale to develop a mobile client that enable teachers to teach and students to learn, anytime and anywhere.
The social network service is carved to help single Chinese students to make new friends through common interest, linking them up using location-based services and allows social-sharing via all major social-platform. Interesting statistics presented showed that there is approximately 30 million college students in China and 21 million of them are still single despite wanting to get attached. Having used to be a college student himself, it is no wonder why the founder came up with such an interesting idea targeted at Chinese students who are still single.
LuRenJia intends to run advertisements, allow subscription to premium service and implement virtual currency in order to monetize the platform. Looking for USD 80K in investments, I guess is the birth of the ultimate stalking service in China.
A rather well organized pitch by Kwestr founder, Frank Yu, plans to bring happiness and joy to life by achieving our goals step by step through listings and them striking them off one by one. Seeing the usefulness of lists, Kwestr takes them to the next level by integrating them with social-platforms, gamifying them and linking them to the real world. Also to mention, Kwestr can be seen as a corporate tool for planning and execution of tasks, a step up from the whiteboard and markers that most companies are using.
This start-up plans to monetize this service through providing premium services, service licensing to corporate companies and taking a cut from merchants that they work with [that users can purchase items from, as part of their task]. It has already gathered USD 130K in seed funding and is aiming for USD 350K for accumulating its first 100K of users.
Online tool for creating presentations and infographs, Piktochart implemented simple drag-and-drop features to allow users to create interactive and informative charts without the need of Photoshop skills. Taking infographics to the next level, short descriptions of the individual drawings and graphs can be seen when the cursor roll-over, making it more interactive and saves the time of us, trying to digest and think exactly what the picture is saying. With the intention to make these charts a powerful analytics tool, Piktograph will be implementing analytical features like keeping track of which segment of the charts did users click the most, this is definition something that marketers are missing.
Monetizing this service, the start-up is offering subscription service as well as marketplace for crowdsourced charts that they take a cut from. For USD 100K in investments, they implementing new themes and visuals for the charts, and gathering 2000 users.
Order With Me
A C2C (nope, not Copy-2-China) platform, Order With Me plans on taking Online Trade 2.0 that do away with middlemen, linking factories in China with retailer abroad, saving on the expenses needed to bring goods for sales overseas, thus widening the profit margin. Though their specialized team, the site filters tons and tons of search results, presenting to users only quality and trusted suppliers and will even help to source for the desired items if not found. Now, that is a dream come true to many trustworthy suppliers in China and lots more retailers overseas.
Requesting for a million in this round of investment, the start-up will be bridge for China manufacturing industry and overseas market, a hurdle that has been present for the past decades.
As the name suggests, the startup is working on innovation in education by making them cheaper and more effective. Seeing the problem that educational resources are too expensive in China where some families have to spend their life-savings to buy their children a future, Super Class plans to offer courses at 1000 RMB for 3 years, something worth raising our eyebrows. An effort in making the lessons more effective, the start-up uses short clips from movies, sounds and emulators to impart knowledge at a greater depth.
More like a social enterprise, investments received will be used on optimizing their web solution and on accumulating educational materials that will benefit millions of children struggling to receive proper education in China.
The only start-up with a hardware prototype, NextGoals helps users to stay motivated and achieve goals. Integrated with an online platform that allows goal-setting, tracking of activities and even collaborating with friends to achieve as a team, this start-up helps users to pursuit a healthy lifestyle. The competitor analysis presented was somewhat convincing [many would have thought of Nike+ which was not included] and did have an edge over its competitors in terms of the features provided.
The start-up will monetize by providing premium services and taking a 35% cut from each wristband sold. Requesting for USD 250K to scale and mass produce, it aims to be the solution for “self-tracking, socially infused”.
Gambling is a both a hobby and an addiction deep down in every human. iBragu is a social betting game platform that allows you to bet on anything, anywhere and anytime! Research show that gambling is worth 5-6 billion USD in U.S. alone, no wonder iBragu sees a potential in gambling. Positioning gambling as fun and positive, the platform allows users to set the bets like a dare or a treat [money is not an option as it is illegal to bet real money in China]. They even go in-depth to see why money-free bets are useless and found out that people simply forget about them, therefore, the team implemented notifications to assure that users will be able to keep track of the bets.
Monetizing through collaborating with brands so that users can set the prize to be from a specific brand [like Budweiser instead of Beer], the start-up requested USD 1 million to expand to the Smart TV, other platforms and to achieve 1 million users.
Made to Fit Me
An “innovative new online clothes shopping experience for women”, the site serves as the solution for women in finding the dresses that fit them both on and offline. Providing detailed tutorials, the site allows users to obtain their measurements, customizing various aspects of the dress and finally producing the unique dress made especially for the user. On intimate service, Made to Fit Me even ships out free cloth sample and measuring tapes to their mailing lists, somewhat a confident booster for potential consumers.
Seeing the fact that it is almost impossible to mass produce customized dressed, investments made will be used on scaling the business and likely to rework the production line as it is almost impossible to mass produce customized dressed in China.
The Pieces Fall in Place
Having visited Chinaccelerator before the start of this season’s program, this was definitely much better than anything I expected. The start-ups were great, the pitching was good and, like seeing pieces fall into place, it formed a wonderful scene of entrepreneurship in China. It showed a promising future of entrepreneurship in this land of opportunities.
The guy who put all this together, Cyril Ebersweiler.
For now, may all the start-ups ‘live long and prosper’ while we wait impatiently for next year’s Demo Day!