You may read more and more comments on Innovation Works. I really respect the dream of Kaifu Lee. No matter what Innovation Works can achieve in the end, I think people should know it’s IW which wanted to lead the Innovation in China; I also understand why people question about it. But every new stuff has a learning curve, and everyone can give a different definition about Innovation which could be re-defined as micro-innovation, or localization or imitation-to-innovation, etc.
The fact is that Innovation Works as the flag of the Chinese innovative startup space, has managed to raise more money from a few big names including HTC, Tencent, DST and so on. It’s a good thing for Innovation Works and the startups it inclubates, of course. But as a guy who knows nothing about financial stuff, I really don’t understand why not these guys just spend the money on copying the Innovation Works, given the fact that we love to copy the western models. Since you have the money, enough resource and are able to attract great mentors, and you are interested in local startups which there are many out there to be reached, why not just set up your own Y-Combinator?
One Innovation Works is definitely not enough to build up a healthy ecosystem in China, and we need more support and awareness to those incubators such as TiSiWi, Chinaccelerator. If there is only one voice makes the judgement on which startups are innovative enough, eventually it might kill the real innovation in China.
[image via http://genychina.com/tag/innovation-works/]
It’s more about the name game right now. Get a “big time” person on board, and the money will follow.
Everyone loves a winner.
I believe there are more than one “big time” entrepreneur mentor in China, and what’s winning when competition is minimal?
There are other “big time” mentors, so have one of them as the face of the startup. Winning when competition is minimal is called either a “first-mover” or a “monopoly.” But both have similar results.
BTW, the “winner” I was referring to was the “big-time” person, as it will help attract money from investors. 🙂
But surely if someone copied Innovation Works they’d be Imitation Works?
Then again we’re all still waiting to see some innovation……
Is anyone else skeptical Innovation Works is actually competent? As a China-based founder who traveled to Chile for the Start-Up Chile program, I wrote them a polite email letting them know the program was looking to fund more teams from China. I thought they might be pleased to hear of opportunities for their portfolio companies to raise significant funding (~300,000 RMB) without giving up any equity.
Whoever handles their email replied that they weren’t interested, which is no skin off my back, but if I were an alumni of their program I’d be appalled to hear an investor turn down funding offers. I don’t think the behavior was malicious, but it is particularly baffling since one of their core promises to startups is to help them connect with the international funding community and there is a lot of investment available for early stage companies down here.
A single data point perhaps, but as someone who has bootstrapped a web business in China, I would caution someone against getting involved with these guys unless the cash investment is worth it.
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