Classes, Drink Mixing, Pyromania: This Tencent-Backed Startup Lets You Crowdfund A Livestream Of Anything

From education to gaming, talent shows to dating, China is experiencing a love affair with live-streaming.

And now there’s a Chinese crowdfunding platform that will allow you to put your hard-earned dollars toward any livestreaming project, from language classes to low-level pyromania.

Beijing-based startup crowdfunding Qschou (轻松筹) announced on Wednesday the completion of a $20 million USD round of Series B+ funding, bringing its valuation up to an estimated $350 million USD. Their latest project? Crowdfunding livestreaming projects.

Livestreaming products vying for funding on Qschou’s platform include a live session of ‘drink mixing’, where the video host will apparently mix strange concoctions and drink them if they meet their goal funding, as well as another project entitled “I’m going to livestream while setting a soda can’s pull tab on fire to see if it explodes.”

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One user on the platform teases an image of the cans he intends to set on fire if the livestreaming project reaches its funding goal.

A more rational example of how people are using Qschou’s third and latest mode of crowdfunding is teaching classes through the app. People who are interested in attending the class pay upfront by a certain date. If enough people have signed up by the time the project reaches its deadline, the teacher teaches the class.

Participating investors included IDG, DT Capital Partners, and Tencent.

“After this round of funding, Qschou will continue perfecting its product and improving its service,” Liang Yu, the CEO of Qschou, told TechNode. “In addition, we will also increase the strength of our marketing, and let more people know about how they can use the Qschou crowdfunding platform.”

According to Mr. Yu, the livestreaming feature is still undergoing internal testing. In the next version of the app, all users will be able to apply to submit livestreaming projects to Qschou’s platform.

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Crowdfunding projects from left to right: 1) hand-sewn silk wedding sheets 2) a biking trip 3) a flower arrangement class

If you’re used to U.S-based crowdfunding platforms, such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, Qschou’s livestreaming feature sounds like a far cry from the typical crowdfunding model, where donors are seen as supporters of a project, not audience members.

However, in China’s crowdfunding landscape, it’s not uncommon to see the mechanics of crowdfunding – a timeline, rewards, and donations – applied in more commercial contexts. For example, crowdfunding platforms by e-commerce giants Taobao and JD run are used for flash sales, not crowdfunding.

Qschou’s platform also includes this mode of crowdfunding, where projects are more about selling products than raising money. Most projects are homemade or homegrown products, such as Dragon Well (龙井, longjing) green tea and dried jujubes from China’s Xinjiang province. The startup’s platform also supports a type of crowdfunding similar to Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where projects are unrealized dreams that need money in order to be achieved.

Founded in 2014, Qschou claims that it has featured over 600,000 projects on its platform, with almost 100 million users contributing as project supporters. The company joins number of other crowdfunding platforms in China, including Tencent’s own crowdunding site on its Open Platform, as well as Kaistart (开始众筹) and Zhongchou.com (众筹网).