After three months of intense hacking, coding, biz refinement, and some pivoting, China’s funkiest incubator, Chinaccelerator, yesterday graduated all eight of its 2012 batch. Rather than heading up to the incubator’s home-base in Dalian, the Demo Day event took place in downtown Beijing.
Chinaccelerator has a pretty good track record. One of last year’s graduates, OrderWithMe, went on to win TechChrunch Disrupt in Beijing a short while later, and the super-funky PiktoChart has graced the stage at our own Startup Arena contest in Singapore earlier this year. The incubator was founded by Cyril Ebersweiler, who’s also in demand as a mentor at 500startups, OnLab, and lots of other places.
The 2012 batch is all killer and no filler (and includes some startups we’ve profiled already), so these are some startup teams to watch:
This startup has already launched its free app cross promotion network, AppSpree.me, which is aimed at early-stage startups that have apps. We talked to co-founder Andrew Boos earlier this month, who describes AppSpree as “a zero-cost way to help apps grow” via its customizable cross-promotions.
Unlike the rest of the 2012 batch, HopCab is focused on a different country – Malaysia. Launched earlier this summer, and centered around its iPhone app (the Android version is coming soon), it’s a location-based service for booking cabs or executive cars-for-hire. Before you even book your ride, the app can help you get an estimated cost for your journey. It’s currently operational in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
QuWanBa (or “LetsGoOut” in English) takes a different philosophical approach to the other 2012 batch startups, encouraging people, in the words of founder Yung-Chung Lin, to “reconnect in real life and rediscover the love shared among us.” This “offline socializing” startup will monetize from offline travel transactions, sort of like Airbnb, on its “peer-to-peer activities and happenings” service. The site is at QuWan.ba, which will launch on November
3rd30th [The startup's website had the wrong date before].
7Colors has already rolled out as a cross-platform online learning platform for children. From its homepage at 7colors.cc, it already has a lot of education-oriented Windows, Android, and iOS apps.
Another one to have already launched into action is WeiboAgent, a service that aims to help brands do much better social media marketing on Sina Weibo, the nation’s hottest Twitter clone. Essentially, as the co-founder recently told us, it’s a SaaS advisory tool built on top of social media analytics – but it has actual human advisors onboard to help out its users in their marketing to Chinese consumers. [UPDATED: Co-founder Michael Michelini reaches out to explain that the business model was tweaked since our first interview. He adds: "We pivoted from advice/analytics to lead generation and B2B. We learned (using the lean startup methodology) that people didn't want "advice" but instead [wanted help to] find customers/business contacts in Chinese social media”].
ToyCloud is doing something that sounds both insane and very neat – encouraging people to create apps that can control toys. The website is up, but the SDK for all this hackery – which would let things like radio-controlled cars be maneuvered by smartphone swipes or voice commands – is still in the works. There will also be hardware, in the form of RC cars, sold via the ToCloud website.
Lastly, there’s QiuQiu, which is a social dating platform that’s currently in open-but-quiet beta. Co-founder and CEO Michael Lewis tells us that the idea behind QiuQiu is that “the two most common ways that people meet each other are through their friends/family, and online – we are combining it and putting it on an app.” The app is close to ready for a full launch, but for now is being kept under wraps. With stats indicating there could be more than 30 million adult males in surfeit to the female adult population in a few years’ time, China is sitting on a bachelor timebomb. And clued-up dating apps could be the answer. Or more homosexuality. Either way, it’s all cool.
Many investors will have been in the Demo Day audience – place your bets in the comments as to which of the startups have the promise to attract VC backing.