Startup Weekend Beijing, organized by Red Pagoda Resources, culminated in the pitch session last night. Held at Holiday Inn Express in Dongzhimen, six teams were given the opportunity to persuade the panel of judges, why they have the most potential. Judges included Robbi Jiang from Blue Run Ventures, Jerry Liang from Gobi, Xiaojun Li from IDG and Wayne Shiong from Bertelsmann Asia Investments.
The winning team was Duanzumi, lead by Betty Tong. Duanzumi is an online platform for people to find short-term stay rooms, similar to the Airbnb model and will compete with Airizu and Mayi in China. I believe Betty won the approval of the judges for having a deep understanding of the market and how to differentiate from existing players. As her prize, Betty will be given a position to pitch her idea at our TechNode Launchpad event, where she will compete for a significant cash prize (to be confirmed) and maybe even a trip to Finland to explore the origins of Angry Birds. Congratulations to Betty!
The runner up was team KAT, lead by Matthew Gao. KAT is an online art education platform that gives kids an opportunity to learn and self-promote their creative side. It will also allow art tutors to connect with kids and share their skills. Given China’s need to support independence and creativity, this is a great grassroots platform to start with China’s young generation.
The people’s choice award went to 23Frame, lead by Coco Xu and Monica Qian. 23Frame is a crowd-funding platform for young filmmakers. Both being filmmakers themselves, they know how difficult it can be to raise money to produce a film. One idea for a revenue stream was to work with brands to do product placement. This platform is similar to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in America and DemoHour in China.
The other three teams were:
Tuan.go, lead by Thiago Gomez – an online platform for giving European hotels and travel services to manage bookings from groups of Chinese tourists. This was created to solve the problem of travel service providers only being able to take bookings from individuals through existing sites like Orbitiz.
RunB2B, lead by Jimbo Szyszko – a central hub for connecting companies for B2B transactions. When being presented, this seemed like a super ambitious goal of revolutionizing how B2B purchasing is processed. Basically Jimbo said 80% of e-commerce transactions are actually B2B not B2C. In the B2B space, a legacy system called EDI is used to connect ERP systems from supplier to buyer. This means that a connection point needs to be set up for each supplier. For example, if I am Toyota, I need to set up a connection point from my backend ordering system to each individual supplier. However, by creating a hub that can translate orders from any company to any supplier, it effectively allows all companies to be connected and transact with one another. Complicated? Yes it is. The challenge for Jimbo is how to compete against all the major companies with billions of dollars, already trying to solve the same problem, but I would love to see him try!
ND Media, lead by Haoyang Li – a mobile ARG (Alternate Reality Game) app for advertising mass online and offline games, integrated with a rewards system. This was the coolest presentation of the night and had a wow factor. Basically, players who have the app are given a set of tasks and they must complete it in the offline world. For example, take a picture of something, listen to a song, draw something etc. Once they complete the tasks, they will be rewarded with a prize, usually from a brand sponsor. In their presentation, they said one of their teammates was missing because she was playing the game. When they showed a demo of how the game would be played, the recorded video of the teammate walking around the city, completing tasks and finally she walked through the door at the end of their presentation to take a photo of Hugh Jackman to finish the game. I really want to play this kind of ARG game. One of the most famous ARG marketing campaigns was called ilovebees for the Halo 2 release.
Overall, this Startup Weekend Beijing was another success. Many were innovative and ambitious, showing there really is a real entrepreneurial energy buzzing in China.
We would like to invite everyone who attended, to come to our China Bang Conference on February 18-19th to check out which start-ups will win the prize for best start-up in China. You can register here.
Photos were taken by Chris Tow.