Beijing in the summer time! The TechCrunch Beijing Startup Competition culminates in a series of company pitches that vie for top honors. At stake are sponsored by Upyun Ucloud, Kiicloud, Qiniu, Amazon AWS, and a win earns the company instant credibility among the upper echelon of tech investors, entrepreneurs, and start-up influencers.
Hundreds of startups have been eliminated and only fifteen remained to pitch and answer questions from judges, including President & CEO of Global Brain Yasuhiko Yurimoto, Google’s director/head of product management for Greater China Elliott Ng, Partner and Managing Director at Sequoia Capital China Yue (Steve) Ji, LightInTheBox Co-founder Keven Wen, and Senior Editor at TechCrunch Jonathan Shieber.
Here’s a look at the fifteen finalists in alphabetic order:
AdPlay (VMFIVE) – top 5 finalist
AdPlay wants to transform the way we experience mobile ads and apps. Powered by mobile virtualization and real-time 2D and 3D rendering, AdPlay lets people try out an app without having to install it. AdPlay’s technology will mean higher conversion rate and retention for companies, and greater satisfaction for users.
See our report here
Myhome3D (or Aifuwo in Chinese) a 3D visualization software plus platform that makes home design a breeze. Drag the furniture and place it where you want, the software will color the model in as quickly as 10 seconds to show users in virtual 3D what their future home looks like. What makes Myhome 3D special is its platform that connects furniture brands, architects, real estates and home owners.
Bequ may ring a bell for travel sites users: social networks, travel tools (diaries, albums etc), and destination information. But its social feature makes it stand out from the crowd. The social platform runs kind of like Taobao – travel-related merchants market their businesses like Taobao store owners promote their stores. Its chat group resembles IM that is different from traditional Q&A.
Coding – top 5 finalist
The Shenzhen-based startup Coding wants to make coding simpler for developers. A cloud development platform, the site makes coding happen anywhere anytime on a browser. It covers not just what Github does to store codes but every stage of the entire life cycle of coding.
Diitu – top 5 finalist
It’s a drag to ask your friends to send you the photos they took at an event you went together. Taiwan-based Diitu is an app that automatically collects scattered but related photos based on an algorithm of location, time and people. That is, it does the work to gather photos from people (strangers and friends) taken at the same place and time. It’s a good way to create collective memories with friends as well as discovering who else is experiencing the same moment as you do.
Fineck, as its name implies, deals with neck care. Sore neck is prominent among Chinese at the age of 30-40 but these people are too busy to commit to exercises. Noticing that, Fineck sets out to design a smart necklace plus app that help people exercise their necks through games that are fun and short enough to fit in busy urbanites’ fragmented time.
Ghost (EHang) – top 5 finalist
Ghost claims to be the world’s smartest and easiest-to-control quadcopter at an affordable price. EHang posted Ghost on Demohour, retailing at 4700RMB, and raised 380k making it one of the ten most funded projects on the crowdfunding platform. The amount it raised on Taobao made its total fund to 600k RMB. It has closed its angel round and is setting up its San Francisco office.
Mailability wants to improve everyone’s email experience by making it as simple as sending an IM. Powered by artificial intelligence and semantic analysis, Mailability compresses your emails by eliminating redundant words without compromising key information. Emails are automatically categorized in a convenient way. For example, all emails that talk about tonight’s party will go under the group “Aug 12 party.”
“Control your computers with finger tips.” Nimble, based in India, is a trio of nimble rings, a USB sensor and a software. It transforms the 15 feet in front of your computer into an interactive space. Though not able to physically show up at the pitch, Nimble’s video demo wowed the the audience.
Not everyone can afford a secretary who takes note of all the people they meet. Pocknect is an app that wants to take that role. Whenever you talk to someone, it automatically detects and saves that person (if he/she has Pocknect on as well). You can then add and connect with those people afterwards. It also has a scanning function in case the person you meet still use a name card.
Roam & Wander
Roam & Wander wants to transform the way kids interact with toys in the increasingly digitalized age today. Its flagship product Tutu is a plush bunny whose face can either be a smart touch screen to help kids become technology literate, or a smiley face so that kids treat it as a plush bunny and learn from the physical world. The startup made it to the top five.
Smartinspection’s software aims to boost efficiency in the life cycle of construction, so that architects, inspectors, real estate agents – whoever involved in a construction project – is no longer using pen and paper at the construction site. It comes in SaaS for individuals and customized enterprise software.
Imagine you see a watch you really like at a store. It’s a bit expensive so you want to check if you can get a better deal somewhere else. Snapdeal is an app that facilitates that process. Simply scan the watch with your phone, Snapdeal will quickly identify the places/websites selling that watch and let you buy it on its platform (if it’s available).
Tripalocal is a platform connecting travelers to locals. You’ve probably heard of apps that do similar things – Vayable, Withlocals, Couchsurfing. But Tripalocal wants to bring this kind of experience to another level by offering “locals with expertise” and “customized service” to travelers. The Australia-based startup is led by a team of Chinese expats who love to travel.
Wearing headphones doesn’t have to be anti-social. Enabled by wifi, 3G and Bluetooth, Vow claims to be “the world’s first connected headphones” that let you listen to music without an external device, and share via social apps on its detachable touch screen. Shortly after its launch at Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing this May, Vow was named one of the winning startups at San Francisco Music Tech Summit.
Congratulations VMFIVE! And congratulations to all the finalists who amazed us with their incredible pitches. Until next year [: