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Livestreaming firm M17 appoints Infinity Venture Partners’ Hirofumi Ono as Global CEO

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See the original story in Japanese. 17 Media Japan, the local operating company of mobile livestreaming app 17 Live or ‘Ichinana’ also known as Livit in the English-speaking countries, announced today that Hirofumi Ono was appointed as Global CEO of its parent company M17 Entertainment Limited (M17). Focused on the Japanese market, M17 will be continually responsible for service operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and other Asian countries. Former M17 CEO Joesph Phua will step down as CEO to become a non-executive chairman. Ono will also continue to serve 17 Media japan as its president. The Japanese operations of the livestreaming app was launched back in 2017 by Ono who has been backing M17 as one of investors – Co-founder & Managing Partner of Infinity Venture Partners. The app now has become an outstanding platform where singers and entertainers perform their live shows. It has acquired 45 million registrants as of November of 2019. Along with this, Ono announced that he will be stepping down from his role as managing director at Infinity Ventures in September. He was involved in launching the VC firm back in 2008 together with Akio Tanaka and Masashi Kobayashi. See also: Infinity Venture…

M17 Entertainment’s new Global CEO Hirofumi Ono
Image credit: M17 Entertainment

See the original story in Japanese.

17 Media Japan, the local operating company of mobile livestreaming app 17 Live or ‘Ichinana’ also known as Livit in the English-speaking countries, announced today that Hirofumi Ono was appointed as Global CEO of its parent company M17 Entertainment Limited (M17). Focused on the Japanese market, M17 will be continually responsible for service operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and other Asian countries. Former M17 CEO Joesph Phua will step down as CEO to become a non-executive chairman. Ono will also continue to serve 17 Media japan as its president.

The Japanese operations of the livestreaming app was launched back in 2017 by Ono who has been backing M17 as one of investors – Co-founder & Managing Partner of Infinity Venture Partners. The app now has become an outstanding platform where singers and entertainers perform their live shows. It has acquired 45 million registrants as of November of 2019.

Along with this, Ono announced that he will be stepping down from his role as managing director at Infinity Ventures in September. He was involved in launching the VC firm back in 2008 together with Akio Tanaka and Masashi Kobayashi.

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In addition to investing in ventures in Japan and the Greater China region, Ono has contributed to the growth of startups with his unique style of entrepreneurial involvement as a founding member of them. The startups he was involved in managing include Rekoo Japan (the company behind Sunshine Ranch), Jmty.jp (Japanese classifieds site), Groupon Japan, Farfetch Japan, and of course 17 Media Japan. He has also made a significant impact on the startup ecosystem as an investor, hosting Infinity Ventures Summit (IVS), one of the largest venture conferences in Japan, for 12 years.

Below is his open letter on his Facebook timeline. (sic)

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be graduating from Infinity Ventures(IV), which I have led with Akio since 2008, this September.

And I will be taking on the role of Global CEO at M17 Entertainment, Ltd(M17). that is portfolio company of IV and is the parent company of
17 Media Japan where I have been acting as CEO over 3 years.

After launching 17 Media Japan from zero and leading its growth to No. 1 in Japan, there was a strong request from Joseph Phua, Co-Founder of M17 Global and Chairman, for me to take over the global CEO position, and after discussions with Akio and Joseph Huang internally in IV. I decided that the best way for me is to graduate from IV and commit to M17 as CEO so that I can contribute to those who helped me a lot during my time in IV by leading M17 to further growth stage.

In the 12 years since launching IV from scratch, I have had the great opportunity to not only invest but also run many companies on my own like Rekoo Japan (Sunshine Farm), Groupon Japan, Jimoty, Farfetch Japan, and 17 Media Japan. And fortunately most of them made great success to be leading companies in that industries and brought successful exit.

I am particularly pleased that Jimoty that I had built literally from scratch completely on my own went public this year.

I have also been able to get involved in some of the big exits for IVP’s fund, such as Soracom, freee and some of great investment like Wealth Navi and YeahKa (listed in HK and worth over 3billion USD now).

M17 is now expanding widely in Japan, Taiwan, India, HK, the US and the Middle East, and I will continue to grow the company so that we can expand our live streaming business even further around the world.

I am looking forward to a longer relationship with you as a serial entrepreneur.

As for IV, IVS President Toshiaki Shimakawa has successfully hosted more than 1,000 guests in the first online IVS, and the IV Japan team will continue to strengthen its operations with keeping investing in Japan and leading IVS.

Also, I will continue to contribute to IVS LaunchPad as an advisor to the development of our startups.

Sorry for that long message.

I would like to have opportunity to say hello to you individually if I could.

Thanks
Hiro

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Taiwan’s GliaCloud, AI video creation startup, gets $500K seed funding for Asia expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Taiwan-based AI startup GliaCloud told The Bridge today that it has secured $500,000 in a seed round. This round was led by Infinity Venture Partners (IVP) with participation from unnamed several angel investors. GliaCloud has been developing a AI-powered video creation and editing platform called GliaStudio. By understanding a topic that a user presents in form of sentences, the platform can automatically curate and edit images, video clips and infographics, also adding auto-generated subtitles or synthesized narration to them. The company’s signature technologies enabling these functions include content management, natural language processing, computer vision and video search. The company has partnered with 10 media companies in the Greater China region, keeps generating more than 1,000 video clips each day. Partnering companies include Toutiao, the Chinese news curating app which recently fundraised $2 billion, in addition to Taiwanese leading tech news media BusinessNext. GliaStudio supports English, Chinese and Japanese languages, aiming to primarily target e-commerce platforms and merchants as well as media companies in Greater China and Japan. With this funding having Japan-based IVP participate in as an investor, further massive expansion into the Japanese market can be probably expected. Especially for distributed media leveraging…

See the original story in Japanese.

Taiwan-based AI startup GliaCloud told The Bridge today that it has secured $500,000 in a seed round. This round was led by Infinity Venture Partners (IVP) with participation from unnamed several angel investors.

GliaCloud has been developing a AI-powered video creation and editing platform called GliaStudio. By understanding a topic that a user presents in form of sentences, the platform can automatically curate and edit images, video clips and infographics, also adding auto-generated subtitles or synthesized narration to them. The company’s signature technologies enabling these functions include content management, natural language processing, computer vision and video search.

The company has partnered with 10 media companies in the Greater China region, keeps generating more than 1,000 video clips each day. Partnering companies include Toutiao, the Chinese news curating app which recently fundraised $2 billion, in addition to Taiwanese leading tech news media BusinessNext.

GliaStudio supports English, Chinese and Japanese languages, aiming to primarily target e-commerce platforms and merchants as well as media companies in Greater China and Japan. With this funding having Japan-based IVP participate in as an investor, further massive expansion into the Japanese market can be probably expected. Especially for distributed media leveraging a bunch of video clips to attract viewers, the platform allows media companies to create and upload their clips to social media platforms autonomously.

GliaCloud was founded in July of 2015 by Taiwanese Canadian entrepreneur David Chen, who is strong in engineering cloud technologies and previously founded Taipei-based AdTech startup Tagtoo. The company won the Aliyun Award at the Tech in Asia Singapore startup competition back in 2016.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s Infinity Venture Partners raises $20M from Taiwan government for its third fund

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See the original story in Japanese. Infinity Venture Partners (aka IVP), an investment fund focused on early-stage startups in Japan, China and Taiwan as well as elsewhere, announced today that it has secured an additional $25 million in funding for Infinity e.ventures Asia III, L.P. (“IVP third fund” for short), meaning that the funding raised has reached $75 million in total to date. Starting with $32 million back in November of 2014, the fund has now more than doubled from the original size; the aim now is to fundraise $100 million in total by the second half of 2016. Coinciding with this announcement, the firm unveiled that the total valuation of all three of its funds including the third fund is now valued at three times the initial funding amount. Limited partners, or simply investors, for the third fund include Recruit Holdings, Daiwa Securities, Sammy Networks, Orso, Mixi and United, in addition to other individual business owners of internet and mobile services in Japan and the rest of the world. Of the $25 million additional funding raised at this time, IVP told The Bridge that it has fundraised $20 million from Taiwan’s state-run National Development Fund, Executive Yuan (NDF). Aiming…

infinity-venture-partners-ndf_logos

See the original story in Japanese.

Infinity Venture Partners (aka IVP), an investment fund focused on early-stage startups in Japan, China and Taiwan as well as elsewhere, announced today that it has secured an additional $25 million in funding for Infinity e.ventures Asia III, L.P. (“IVP third fund” for short), meaning that the funding raised has reached $75 million in total to date. Starting with $32 million back in November of 2014, the fund has now more than doubled from the original size; the aim now is to fundraise $100 million in total by the second half of 2016. Coinciding with this announcement, the firm unveiled that the total valuation of all three of its funds including the third fund is now valued at three times the initial funding amount.

Limited partners, or simply investors, for the third fund include Recruit Holdings, Daiwa Securities, Sammy Networks, Orso, Mixi and United, in addition to other individual business owners of internet and mobile services in Japan and the rest of the world. Of the $25 million additional funding raised at this time, IVP told The Bridge that it has fundraised $20 million from Taiwan’s state-run National Development Fund, Executive Yuan (NDF).

Aiming to help Taiwanese startups grow internationally, NDF has invested in incubation and investment initiatives including 500 Startups, Taiwanese accelerator AppWorks, 360ip, Industry Technology Investment Corporation, among others.

IVP has been proactively supporting global expansion efforts of Taiwanese endeavors such as Pinkoi and KKBox, both of which are outstanding in terms of successful market entry into the Japanese market. The firm has an incubation space called TechTemple in three locations in China – Beixinqiao (Beijing), Sanlitun (Beijing) and Shenzhen – which may have encouraged the Taiwanese government to consider it as being relevant to helping Taiwanese startups expand into the Chinese market that many of them are likely to target.

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Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s outsourced logistics platform OpenLogi secures $500,000 funding round

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This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese. Tokyo-based OpenLogi, a startup that provides an outsourced logistics platform focused on SMEs and freelancers, announced today that it has fundraised about 60 million yen ($500,000) from Japanese investment fund Infinity Venture Partners (IVP) and Kotaro Chiba, executive vice-president of Japanese mobile game company Colopl (TSE:3668). Upon this funding round, Masashi Kobayashi, managing partner at IVP, and Kimiyuki Suda aka Sudax, who has been serving as an auditor for recently-IPOed Japanese companies such as Bengo4.com (legal consulting platform) and Crowdworks (crowdsourcing platform), joined the board of management. The company also invited Star Mica (TSE:3230) Chairman Masashi Mizunaga as an advisor. OpenLogi is an outsourced logistics service offering affordable rates that leverages unused warehouse assets and downtime of logistic facilities. The company plans to use the funds to enlarge their four-person management team and to strengthen system development. In accordance with the company’s business expansion, IVP intends to make an additional investment of several million dollars. OpenLogi was founded in December 2013 by Hidetsugu Ito, who was previously involved in launching Japanese magazine subscription service Fujisan.co.jp. Based on his experience in discussing and negotiating with logistics companies, he founded OpenLogi…

openlogi_featuredimage

This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese.

Tokyo-based OpenLogi, a startup that provides an outsourced logistics platform focused on SMEs and freelancers, announced today that it has fundraised about 60 million yen ($500,000) from Japanese investment fund Infinity Venture Partners (IVP) and Kotaro Chiba, executive vice-president of Japanese mobile game company Colopl (TSE:3668).

Upon this funding round, Masashi Kobayashi, managing partner at IVP, and Kimiyuki Suda aka Sudax, who has been serving as an auditor for recently-IPOed Japanese companies such as Bengo4.com (legal consulting platform) and Crowdworks (crowdsourcing platform), joined the board of management. The company also invited Star Mica (TSE:3230) Chairman Masashi Mizunaga as an advisor.

OpenLogi is an outsourced logistics service offering affordable rates that leverages unused warehouse assets and downtime of logistic facilities. The company plans to use the funds to enlarge their four-person management team and to strengthen system development. In accordance with the company’s business expansion, IVP intends to make an additional investment of several million dollars.

OpenLogi was founded in December 2013 by Hidetsugu Ito, who was previously involved in launching Japanese magazine subscription service Fujisan.co.jp. Based on his experience in discussing and negotiating with logistics companies, he founded OpenLogi to address logistics solutions for small e-commerce players.

Looking at the recent upward trend in the C2C business in Japan thanks to instant e-commerce platforms like Base or Stores.jp, as well as resale shopping app Mercari, C2C-based commerce businesses have become more common, so logistics services for professional use lags behind those for small commerce business players in terms of service flexibility.

In view of the fabless business concept, OpenLogi is very similar to online printing startup Raksul or online laundry startup Lenet, where they have no assets to provide services. Upon signing up with OpenLogi platform, it provides management features on a dashboard, such as warehouse inspection, warehouse storage, shipping, and management of returned merchandise at affordable rates.

Since its launch in beta in June 2014, OpenLogi has successfully attracted many SMEs and freelancers because of its price transparency and affordable rates, and is seeing a 400% growth on a month-to-month revenue basis. While planning to expand the service to warehousing of frozen foods and hazardous materials, they are working on the launch of a cross-border shipping service to serve international e-commerce businesses, and is expected to launch in April.

openlogi-hidetsugu-ito-kimiyuki-suda
L to R: OpenLogi CEO Hidetsugu Ito and newly-appointed auditor Kimiyuki Suda aka Sudax

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson

Infinity Venture Partners, global fashion e-commerce company invest in joint venture

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See the original story in Japanese. Japan’s Infinity Ventures Partners LLP (IVP) and Infinity e.ventures Asia Fund III L.P. (e.ventures) announced last week that it has invested in Farfetch Japan, the Tokyo-based joint venture by UK-founded global fashion e-commerce company Farfetch and IVP. Farfetch Japan has fundraised 720 million yen ($6 million) from IVP, e.ventures, Farfetch headquarters and other VC firms. Coinciding with the funding, the company appointed IVP’s Hirofumi Ono as an interim CEO as well as Akio Tanaka as a managing director. Ono and Tanaka are co-founders and managing directors of IVP. Infinity e.ventures Asia Fund was formed in November, and this is the first investment from the fund. See also: Infinity Venture Partners launches $100M third fund focusing on Japanese and Chinese startups Farfetch is a global community of over 300 fashion boutiques and provides them with an access to a marketplace where they can buy fashion items handpicked by Farfetch’s buyers from around the world. Farfetch has 120,000 listed items from 2,500 brands, which can be shipped to 170 cities in 29 countries 180 countries. While many of the items are shipped from European countries (especially Italy) to the US, demand from Asia has been increasing…

farfetch_featuredimage

See the original story in Japanese.

Japan’s Infinity Ventures Partners LLP (IVP) and Infinity e.ventures Asia Fund III L.P. (e.ventures) announced last week that it has invested in Farfetch Japan, the Tokyo-based joint venture by UK-founded global fashion e-commerce company Farfetch and IVP. Farfetch Japan has fundraised 720 million yen ($6 million) from IVP, e.ventures, Farfetch headquarters and other VC firms.

Coinciding with the funding, the company appointed IVP’s Hirofumi Ono as an interim CEO as well as Akio Tanaka as a managing director. Ono and Tanaka are co-founders and managing directors of IVP. Infinity e.ventures Asia Fund was formed in November, and this is the first investment from the fund.

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Farfetch is a global community of over 300 fashion boutiques and provides them with an access to a marketplace where they can buy fashion items handpicked by Farfetch’s buyers from around the world. Farfetch has 120,000 listed items from 2,500 brands, which can be shipped to 170 cities in 29 countries 180 countries. While many of the items are shipped from European countries (especially Italy) to the US, demand from Asia has been increasing since 2013.

farfetch3
Image by ideasbynet.com

Their shipping method is unique in that boutiques will pack items in a box of their own design then ship it to users instead of shipping from Farfetch’s warehouse, aiming to give users an experience as if they had visited and bought items at the boutique’s storefront. Some users buy items totaling at over $400,000 a year using the e-commerce platform.

With offices in London, New York, and Los Angeles, Farfetch has fundraised $66 million since its launch in 2008. Their Japanese version was launched in August 2014, and revenue has reached several million US dollars. Tokyo-based Restir joined the Japanese edition as the first boutique from the Japanese market, and the company aims to acquire 10 to 15 boutiques by the end of 2015.

Infinity Venture Partners launches $100M third fund focusing on Japanese and Chinese startups

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Tokyo-based Infinity Venture Partners (IVP), the seed round investor focused on tech startups in Japan and China, and known as the host of Japanese semi-annual startup showcase event Infinity Venture Summit, announced today that it has formed its third fund called Infinity e.ventures Asia III, L.P. See also: Infinity Venture Summit 2013 Spring in Sapporo Infinity Venture Summit 2013 Fall in Kyoto Infinity Venture Summit 2014 Spring in Sapporo The new fund has raised $32 million from corporate and individual investors in Japan alone, but the amount is expected to reach $100 million next year with additional funding from foreign investors who have participated in their past funds. According to IVP, investors in the third fund include Recruit Holdings, Daiwa Securities, Sammy Networks (game developer), Orso (mobile developer), Mixi, and United. Since its launch in January 2009, IVP has invested $128 million in over 40 tech startups in Japan and China, including Groupon Japan, Smart Education, Freee (cloud-based accounting platform in Japan), Yeahka (the Chinese equivalent to the Square payments platform), and 36kr (startup database platformer in China). In addition, the group has also invested in international tech companies like AppAnnie (app store analytics) and The RealReal Japan (luxury consignment)…

tanaka-ono-kobayashi
Infinity Venture Partners’ co-founders and managing partners
L to R: Akio Tanaka, Hirofumi Ono, Masashi Kobayashi

Tokyo-based Infinity Venture Partners (IVP), the seed round investor focused on tech startups in Japan and China, and known as the host of Japanese semi-annual startup showcase event Infinity Venture Summit, announced today that it has formed its third fund called Infinity e.ventures Asia III, L.P.

See also:

The new fund has raised $32 million from corporate and individual investors in Japan alone, but the amount is expected to reach $100 million next year with additional funding from foreign investors who have participated in their past funds. According to IVP, investors in the third fund include Recruit Holdings, Daiwa Securities, Sammy Networks (game developer), Orso (mobile developer), Mixi, and United.

Since its launch in January 2009, IVP has invested $128 million in over 40 tech startups in Japan and China, including Groupon Japan, Smart Education, Freee (cloud-based accounting platform in Japan), Yeahka (the Chinese equivalent to the Square payments platform), and 36kr (startup database platformer in China). In addition, the group has also invested in international tech companies like AppAnnie (app store analytics) and The RealReal Japan (luxury consignment) in partnership with e.ventures, a San Francisco-based early-stage VC firm.

IVP launched a co-working and incubation space called TechTemple in Beijing last year to nurture Chinese startups and their ecosystem in the world’s second largest startup community.

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Inside HAXLR8R, Shenzhen’s hardware startup incubator

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See the original article in Japanese Located just adjacent to Hong Kong, Shenzhen China is known as global manufacturing center, with an abundance of electronics manufacturers in particular. Even in the startups scene, Shenzhen is recognized as one of the best places to do be in the hardware business. I recently had the opportunity to attend Infinity Venture Partners’ LP Summit. I’ll report on the interesting startups introduced during this event, but today I’d like to focus on HAXLR8R, the Shenzhen accelerator specializing in hardware startups. IVP has had a partnership with HAXLR8R and Dalian-based incubator Chinaccelerator for the last few years. It was nearly 20 years ago when I first visited Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Shenzhen has since grown to become the fourth biggest economic center in China, behind Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. HAXLR8R has its office conveniently located in the center of Shenzhen, high above street level on the 10th floor. We were welcomed by founder and the managing director Cyril Ebersweiler and general partner Benjamin Joffe. Cyril is also a venture partner at Ireland-based SOS Ventures, and many readers may remember Benjamin from his involvement with the futuristic space memorial service Elysium Space. After entrepreneurs pass screening…

shenzhen-town2

See the original article in Japanese

Located just adjacent to Hong Kong, Shenzhen China is known as global manufacturing center, with an abundance of electronics manufacturers in particular. Even in the startups scene, Shenzhen is recognized as one of the best places to do be in the hardware business.

I recently had the opportunity to attend Infinity Venture Partners’ LP Summit. I’ll report on the interesting startups introduced during this event, but today I’d like to focus on HAXLR8R, the Shenzhen accelerator specializing in hardware startups. IVP has had a partnership with HAXLR8R and Dalian-based incubator Chinaccelerator for the last few years.

shenzhen-town1

It was nearly 20 years ago when I first visited Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Shenzhen has since grown to become the fourth biggest economic center in China, behind Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. HAXLR8R has its office conveniently located in the center of Shenzhen, high above street level on the 10th floor.

haxlr8r-entrance

We were welcomed by founder and the managing director Cyril Ebersweiler and general partner Benjamin Joffe. Cyril is also a venture partner at Ireland-based SOS Ventures, and many readers may remember Benjamin from his involvement with the futuristic space memorial service Elysium Space.

After entrepreneurs pass screening to join HAXLR8R, they have an opportunity to create a simple prototype in their first week. The aim of this process is to enhance communication with other members and with mentors as well. Participating entrepreneurs must create a prototype based on a given theme, and this creates an opportunity to meet other entrepreneur who they might collaborate with in the future.

The accelerator holds a demo day on the 30th, 60th, and 90th day for startups. Participants enhance their product and business based on feedback from other entrepreneurs and investors in attendance.

In order to prevent others from building copycats, the details of the products currently being built are not disclosed. So regrettably, I can’t go into details about the startups and products that I saw there on this trip. But on the plus side, I could speak with a startup from the accelerator’s previous batch. The American startup Helios develops a sort of bike navigation system and corresponding iOS app. You just input a destination, and then the flashing lights on the handlebars will the rider to the destination.

Helios
Helios

HAXLR8R オフィスから見える深圳市街。大気汚染が心配なところが、Benjamin によれば、サンフランシスコよりも空気はキレイらしい。
City view from HAXLR8R. We tend to worry about the air pollution in China, but according to Benjamin, the air in Shenzhen is cleaner than in San Francisco.

HAXLR8R also coordinates with local manufacturing services for participants. So some startups stay in Shenzhen (including Helios) even after the incubation program. The accelerator occupies the 10th and 11th floor of the building, with startups and administrative staff on the 11th, and the 10th reserved for events and startups alumni.

haxlr8r-inside2

Almost half of the participating startups are from the US, with the remainder from Europe and Asia. From the two past batches of startups, the only Japanese startup has been Sassor, a company developing its so-called Energy Literacy Platform [1].

Cyril and Benjamin have both lived in Japan before, and both are fluent in Japanese and strongly hope that more Japanese hardware startups can come join their incubation program. The next batch will start on July 16th, and the application deadline is on May 25th. If you have strong interest in hardware, this would be great opportunity. The application form can be found here.


  1. We will follow up with a report on Sassor’s HAXLR8R experience in the near future. ↩

Chinese tech news site 36kr focuses on the little guys

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Here’s some fun trivia: 36 is the atomic number of Krypton, the home planet of Superman. And making a reference to that factoid in its name, is the Chinese-language tech site 36kr. It was initially launched by ChengCheng Liu (pictured below) and his friends at Peking University in 2012. Currently its editorial department has around fifty staff, and about 30 articles are released everyday. Five or six of those are typically startup-related articles. The site has approximately 20 million page views a month, with readers residing mostly in China or Chinese-speaking regions. And while other Chinese’s tech blogs cover overseas topics or news from big Chinese corporations like Tencent and Sina, 36Kr focuses on Chinese startups. The company has been organizing startup events every two months in many cities in China, the US and Hong Kong. On November 10th, an event in Hangzhou attracted 1400 participants, with about one in three of them being entrepreneurs. This past year the tech blog has covered more than 800 startups in total. In addition to publishing news articles, it has also been developing a startup database. The number of the registered startup projects is 15,000 to date, and it keeps adding about 50…

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36kr’s database

Here’s some fun trivia: 36 is the atomic number of Krypton, the home planet of Superman. And making a reference to that factoid in its name, is the Chinese-language tech site 36kr.

It was initially launched by ChengCheng Liu (pictured below) and his friends at Peking University in 2012. Currently its editorial department has around fifty staff, and about 30 articles are released everyday. Five or six of those are typically startup-related articles. The site has approximately 20 million page views a month, with readers residing mostly in China or Chinese-speaking regions. And while other Chinese’s tech blogs cover overseas topics or news from big Chinese corporations like Tencent and Sina, 36Kr focuses on Chinese startups.

ccliu_snapshot

The company has been organizing startup events every two months in many cities in China, the US and Hong Kong. On November 10th, an event in Hangzhou attracted 1400 participants, with about one in three of them being entrepreneurs.

This past year the tech blog has covered more than 800 startups in total. In addition to publishing news articles, it has also been developing a startup database. The number of the registered startup projects is 15,000 to date, and it keeps adding about 50 projects everyday.

He was a student at Peking University when he launched the site. Even without developing the database, the company has broke even thanks to its news site and events.

But he is taking a bit of a risk by putting resources into database development, with 20 of their 50 staffers tied up in that project. Liu explained:

What we aim to do with this database is not just to provide information on which startup fundraises from which VC. We aim to collect information about which investors are behind the VC, and eventually I hope it develops into a sort of LinkedIn for the startup community. […] By doing this, we will be able to predict the action of investors and entrepreneurs before fundraising occurs.

36kr tracks not only investment, but also which startups investors are interested in. Liu’s aim in developing the database is to build startup culture, rather than to profit from it. He plans to create a one-stop service that offers entrepreneurs access to important information, products, and a network – all the necessary things to launch a startup.

In a way, the concept is similar to Creww Marketplace or e27’s Bundles.

36kr has an entrepreneur knowledge exchange event coming up this week in Shenzhen, and you can learn more about that here.

Goyoo: Building a business on the popularity of internet cafes in China

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In China, you can find lots of internet cafes in just about any city. Even after broadband or mobile devices have been widely adopted, internet cafes still attract many people. One of the reasons behind this popularity is that students can enjoy games a little more freely without parents around to nag them. Well over 100,000 internet cafes exist in the country, and out of those, around 30,000 are i8 cafes, using a system developed by Goyoo. That means, there’s an i8 for every 10,000 people in China. Just as a comparison, Korea is famous for having many internet cafes, and there’s an internet cafe for every 2500 people. According to the CEO, Jerry Wang, Goyoo’s system consists of launcher software on the PCs, games, and routers and servers to to support their distribution system. The company operates an advertising network, AdPro, which serves advertisements to the monitors of the PCs in these cafes. That’s the main source of revenue for the company. The maximum impressions achieved in a single day is 150 million, and that came just after four months after the launch of AdPro. The difference between AdPro and the other existing ad networks is that it can…

jerrywang_snapshot
CEO Jerry Wang

In China, you can find lots of internet cafes in just about any city. Even after broadband or mobile devices have been widely adopted, internet cafes still attract many people. One of the reasons behind this popularity is that students can enjoy games a little more freely without parents around to nag them. Well over 100,000 internet cafes exist in the country, and out of those, around 30,000 are i8 cafes, using a system developed by Goyoo. That means, there’s an i8 for every 10,000 people in China. Just as a comparison, Korea is famous for having many internet cafes, and there’s an internet cafe for every 2500 people.

According to the CEO, Jerry Wang, Goyoo’s system consists of launcher software on the PCs, games, and routers and servers to to support their distribution system. The company operates an advertising network, AdPro, which serves advertisements to the monitors of the PCs in these cafes. That’s the main source of revenue for the company. The maximum impressions achieved in a single day is 150 million, and that came just after four months after the launch of AdPro.

The difference between AdPro and the other existing ad networks is that it can pick up very detailed user attributes. It can identify which site each user views because of the identification card required by law in China for people to internet cafes. So advertisers can control the advertisements they serve to each user. It is also possible to track users’ movement across different websites.

Goyoo is also the world-biggest partner DSP (demand-side platform) for Baidu, covering about 25 million users.

The company plans to launch a new service, LeWifi, which will be distributed to other internet cafes (besides i8) and fast-food restaurants for free. The router of LeWifi can be controlled completely in the cloud, just like Cisco’s Meraki. The company plans to share revenue with outlets based on the amount of traffic to the router. They expect to reach $30 million in annual sales and 100 million daily users in 2014. LeWifi routers will be set up in as many as 200,000 outlets all over in China.

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ClassBox is a must-have mobile app for Chinese university students

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For university students who want to manage their class schedule, the default iOS calendar doesn’t quite have enough features. To address this shortcoming issue, Tianfang Li spent 10 days to prototype an app, which soon after attracted 3000 students. That’s how ClassBox got started. He released a second version of his app in September, 2012. This version could automatically extract the lecture data from most university websites in China. Even though similar apps existed, ClassBox excelled in ease of use, requiring only one minute to set up. A month after its launch, the app attracted a million students from over 500 universities across China. Going beyond just management of class schedules, the app became essential for students who wanted to coordinate their campus life. Coinciding with the beginning of classes in September of 2013, a third version of the app was released this year, this time helping students build plans for their future. ClassBox has come to be recognized as means of efficiently reaching university students in China. This led the company to get the sponsorship from popular fashion commerce site, Vancl, and some promotion on posters by Evernote (see below). Li says that the next step for the app…

classbox

For university students who want to manage their class schedule, the default iOS calendar doesn’t quite have enough features. To address this shortcoming issue, Tianfang Li spent 10 days to prototype an app, which soon after attracted 3000 students. That’s how ClassBox got started.

He released a second version of his app in September, 2012. This version could automatically extract the lecture data from most university websites in China. Even though similar apps existed, ClassBox excelled in ease of use, requiring only one minute to set up.

A month after its launch, the app attracted a million students from over 500 universities across China. Going beyond just management of class schedules, the app became essential for students who wanted to coordinate their campus life. Coinciding with the beginning of classes in September of 2013, a third version of the app was released this year, this time helping students build plans for their future.

ClassBox has come to be recognized as means of efficiently reaching university students in China. This led the company to get the sponsorship from popular fashion commerce site, Vancl, and some promotion on posters by Evernote (see below).

Li says that the next step for the app is a communication element where students can ask classmates when they have free time, for example.

classbox_poster
This ClassBox poster above was put up in many Chinese universities, sponsored by Vancl and Evernote