Think Next: Microsoft for Startups China Enables Chinese Innovations to "Go Global" and Overseas Innovations to "Go China"

Thursday, Jun 21, 2018 16:55

SHANGHAI, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai today hosted the Think Next demo day for its third cohort of startup companies. 14 entrepreneurial teams shared their innovative achievements in areas of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, and blockchain to more than 400 co-builders of the innovation eco-system at the event. Shizhong Fang, mayor of the Xuhui District Government of Shanghai; Jing Chen Vice President of INESA (Group) Co., Ltd.; Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia; as well as officials from relevant government offices of the Xuhui District Government; well-known venture capital institutions and investors; and more than 40 key media representatives were in attendance. James Chou, Managing Director and CEO-in-Residence of Microsoft for Startups Shanghai, reviewed the Accelerator's major progress and global upgrading efforts in innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem development.

"Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing, continue to evolve, making digital transformation an important issue that no company, organization or even government can turn a blind eye to. In the face of tremendous opportunities, we will push forward digital transformation as a service (DTaaS), give full play to the technological and talent advantages of Microsoft R&D, and jointly promote upgrading in various industries with other innovative companies so that scientific innovations and commercial applications would be able to inspire each other, to drive change, and to work for the future with wisdom," said Dr. Hon.

Early this year, Microsoft launched a new initiative known as Microsoft for Startups that aims to accelerate the growth of startups around the world by offering co-selling options to startups, along with expanded access to Microsoft technology, increased technical and business support, and new community spaces that promote collaboration within local ecosystems. Microsoft is in a unique position to help startups reach new customers across geographies and industries with over 40,000 Microsoft sellers, hundreds of thousands of partners, and 90% of Fortune 500 customers using the Microsoft Azure. Over the next two years, Microsoft is committing USD 500 million to become the first major cloud provider to offer co-selling options to startups.

Microsoft ScaleUp (formerly known as Microsoft Accelerator) stands as a key part of the Microsoft for Startups program initiative, is designing for series A startups and offers access to sales, marketing and technical support. It also takes full responsibility for evangelizing in the developer community with Microsoft technologies to enhance innovation capabilities at each stage of the development cycle of startups to scale their business rapidly. Microsoft has acquired GitHub, the world's leading software development community, which will help start-up developers better use GitHub and Microsoft's technology and tools, enhance the capabilities of all phases of the development lifecycle, and enhance the impact of the global developer community.

Microsoft ScaleUp has locations in Tel Aviv, Beijing, Bangalore, Seattle, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Sydney since 2012, forming an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. China is the only country with two locations.

As of June 2018, Microsoft ScaleUp in China has successfully accelerated the growth of 231 startup companies. Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai has successfully accelerated 43 startups with total market valuation of more than 55.6 billion RMB, including 23 companies each valuated between 100 million and 1 billion RMB, 19 between 1 and 5 billion RMB, and 1 between 5 and 10 billion RMB. For Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai Cohort 3, their total market valuation reached 17.8 billion RMB. Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai provides Cohort 3 alumni with a full-stack acceleration service. Alumni companies were given access to Microsoft Azure cloud services operated by 21Vianet, Microsoft Cognitive Services, machine learning, Cortana, and other tools. Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai has also matched opportunities for alumni companies with top companies and leading investment institutions such as SIG, IDG, Cheung Fung Capital, Jinsha River Venture Capital, Broadband Capital, and Softbank China through matchmaking events and VC Day events and other channels. Moreover, Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai provided entrepreneurial trainings covering management, finance, recruitment, and public relations to enhance their capabilities with executives from big names including IDEO, Apple University, PricewaterhouseCoopers, King & Wood Mallesons, Fosun Group, and ZhenFund as lecturers.

Microsoft ScaleUp is planning to helping Chinese alumni companies "Go Global" and overseas alumni companies "Go China."

Caicloud, a Microsoft Scale Up-Shanghai startup, successfully helped Vipshop, the third-largest e-commerce platform in China, to win overseas markets in March 2018. Recent years see an increasing number of Chinese companies marketing "Made in China" to the rest of the world through cross-border e-commerce, and Vipshop was one of them. It was once confronted by two major problems: the digital precision-marketing system, and the mix of merchandise on e-commerce platforms. So, the One Commercial Partner (OCP) recommended Caicloud to Vipshop. Riding on the back of its technological superiority in AI algorithm, Caicloud churned out a solution that met the unique business needs of Vipshop, and chose Microsoft Azure as its operating platform. This has not only satisfied Vipshop's initial demand for higher efficiency at lower cost, but also enable the client to focus its resources on its core business. "With help from Microsoft, we got to know Caicloud, the best AI consultant in China. Caicloud provided us with very professional services and helped us rapidly through the digital transformation by thorough mining of data value," said Zhong Wei, General Manager of Overseas and Exports Division at Vipshop.

TapReason, an alumni company of Microsoft ScaleUp Tel Aviv, uses its real-time moment-scoring system to capture on a daily basis tens of millions of "positive moments" when most purchases are made to help its clients maximize conversion rates. TapReason is currently working with top companies across Asia, Europe, and the United States. With recommendations by Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai, TapReason brought its real-time moment-scoring system to China, and has successfully signed contracts with Vipshop.

In July 2017,, a start-up for unmanned-driving solutions, became a Cohort 2 alumni company at Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai. With full support from Microsoft ScaleUp, launched R&D centers in both Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, and completed open-road tests in the United States. It hit a record high with unmanned driving tests, including an average of one manual intervention per month in California, and several hours without manual take-over in high-complex urban road conditions. secured an A-round financing of US$128 million in May 2018, the largest amount for unmanned-driving solution developers in China. Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai introduced many global automobile manufacturing and automobile parts companies such as BMW, Honda, ZF Group, Friedrichshafen, and Continental AG to help them to go global.

James Chou said, "We connect startups to Microsoft's global sales engine, and bring solutions from these startups to Microsoft's global clients, which addressed startups' pain point in gaining clients at early stages of development, and therefore accelerates their growth. Another focus of ours is to continue to develop a more comprehensive innovation ecosystem and to build a better community of developers and entrepreneurs to foster and support innovation and entrepreneurship in China. In addition, helping Chinese startup companies to enter the overseas market and enabling overseas startup companies under Microsoft ScaleUp to come to the Chinese market will be our next major goals. "

About Microsoft ScaleUp

Microsoft ScaleUp is a global project of Microsoft that helps potential startups achieve growth of "1-to-N."

China is the only country in the world that has two Microsoft ScaleUp centers, namely Microsoft ScaleUp Beijing and Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai.

As of June 2018, 231 innovative companies in China have enrolled in Microsoft ScaleUp, and their total valuation has exceeded RMB130,687 million, with an average growth rate exceeding 400%. Four alumni companies have been floating their shares on the "New 3rd Board," while another 13 were merged or acquired. Microsoft ScaleUp has been named "China's Best Crowd-Venture Space" for five consecutive years since its presence in China in 2012. Products and services from its alumni companies now cover more than 10 million corporate customers and 700 million individual users in the country.

Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai was formally established on January 22, 2017, owing thanks to vigorous joint efforts from Microsoft, the Xuhui District Government and INESA (Group). Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai is also the second of its kind in China and the eighth in the world. Firmly rooted in Shanghai, China's financial center, Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai integrates ideal resources in technology, financing, and information, and takes full advantage of Shanghai's geographical advantages and policy supports. It has become an excellent base for venture and innovation in East China. Due to its unique background, Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai is committed to providing more thoughtful acceleration services to residential companies: deeper interaction with the Xuhui District Government and the Shanghai Municipal Government; profound and efficient matching with the needs of INESA and other large groups and corporations; and rapid and all-around growth of alumni companies toward industry and market leadership.

Microsoft ScaleUp aims to become a provider of top-notch and professional entrepreneurial services, committed to making multidimensional and quality services of "talent-financing-strategy-market development" to innovative companies in China. Two massive auditions are held every year in the Greater China Region, with 15 to 20 startups making the cut each round. All enrollees will have access to internationalized office spaces for 4 to 6 months and will be supervised by a mentor group consisting of thought leaders, industry gurus, and technical experts. Each enrollee is entitled to a variety of resources including Microsoft Azure Cloud for a total value of 1.5 million RMB, all of which are part of free-of-charge lifelong alumni services.

For more information about Microsoft ScaleUp and alumni companies, please visit:

Official Website:

Official Wechat Account: mvachina

About Cohort 3 Alumni Companies

There were 14 alumni companies in Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai Cohort 3, all of which have achieved vigorous growth in the past six months.

Guan Data is committed to providing one-stop AI+BI smart data analysis products for new retail, new financing, and integrated group customers. It has more than 10 years of experience in business intelligence, providing enterprise-level data analysis products and services to more than 100 clients, all of them listed in Top 500 Companies in China or the Fortune 500. Unlike traditional business intelligence, Guan Data provides "Actionable Insights" - truly actionable advice for decision-making to customers through intelligent data analysis, helping clients establish sustainable competitive advantages through digital and intelligent upgrading.

Quantum Insurance is a new technology platform for online insurance businesses based on different consumption scenarios. It has developed hundreds of insurance products for small and medium-sized enterprises, covering multiple scenarios in more than a dozen industrial areas such as e-commerce, medical technology, O2O, education, airline and travel, and the sharing economy. When a user wants to purchase an insurance policy, Insurtech can return pricing results within milliseconds, capable of processing millions of orders, real-time billing, and experiences on a completely online process.

Xunce Tech provides financial assets-related system platform development, operation and marketing services for private equity funds, trusts, and high-net worth individual investors. Based on big data and cloud computing technologies, Xunce Tech has developed a series of asset management-related products and intelligent transaction management solutions with independent intellectual property rights, and is committed to providing intelligent transactions management solutions, transaction data analysis, and trading robot deep learning services for private equity funds, trusts, and high-net worth individual investors, and quantitative investment managers.

Cardinal Operations helps clients find optimal pricing and sales strategies under different scenarios through multi-dimensional, in-depth analysis. It provides optimized solutions for all links along the supply chain including order placement, inventory management, shipping, and distribution to control costs. It also provides full-chain risk management services ranging from precision marketing, credit checking, high-risk transaction detecting, to handling of non-performing assets.

RabbitPRE is a big data-driven marketing technology company, and a high-tech enterprise at the national level. It focuses on technology and marketing integration and innovation, providing integrated marketing services powered by the RabbitPRE Marketing Cloud for digitized marketing. Its main product is the RabbitPRE Marketing Cloud, and its core business divisions are Enterprise Content Center, Big Data Dissemination Analysis, Marketing Automation, and User Lifecycle Management. It relies on strong products to reach the industry's top-notch clients for integrated marketing services, and drives corporate marketing upgrading. It mainly addresses pain points and blind spots in marketing, including the lack of capacity for production of marketing content, the severe limitation of centralized traffic channels, and the long distance between business owners and consumer information.

Socialbird serves B2B companies eyeing overseas markets, provides big data-based sales clue recommendation and marketing automation, and offers a "customer acquisition - order transaction - credit authentication" full-process outbound data intelligence service. Backed by a large volume of computing on overseas data, it instructs machines to learn characteristics of its corporate customers, recommend and predict clues for sales, and accurately recommend the next interested, high-net-worth target customers. These form a customer recommendation and automated marketing system with secured orders as its central goal, effectively powered by corporate customers' turnover and business growth. Targeting global B2B corporate clients eyeing overseas markets, Socialbird is becoming a top brand for data-powered intelligent marketing. For global cross-border B2B and B2C companies, it provides holographic portraits of potential buyers, including attribute data, behavioral data, intent data, and credit data. More than 20% of the company's clients are large companies, 60% are medium-sized and 20% are small-sized.

Onchain is a technology company dedicated to R&D and operation of blockchain infrastructure platforms. With rich blockchain-related technology accumulation and business experience, the team has developed and operated a number of influential blockchain projects and is now providing customized blockchain solution services to financial institutions and other companies. Onchain has successfully worked with a number of key financial institutions, banks, and brokerage firms on blockchain solutions. The company released Ontology, a new generation of distributed trust chain network in 2017. Ontology combines a distributed multi-dimensional entity authentication system and incorporates business domain infrastructure modules such as the distributed multi-source information exchange protocol to realize a distributed peer-to-peer trust system, and to build a platform and bridge for applications and distributed digital systems in the physical world.

Plex-VR is a technology company focused on light field acquisition, reconstruction, rendering, and intelligent computing vision. The company's industry-leading light field technology provides high-quality, low-cost 3D content solutions and all-new presentation methods for various VR, AR, and flat display terminals. Its unique dynamic light field shooting system and cloud processing service are the first of their kinds in China, and the company is the only provider of dynamic live-action 3D-model shooting technology.

Rice Quant is a financial technology startup company. It provides complete solutions ranging from high-quality financial data and quantitative investment research to leading-edge tools such as trading, performance, and risk analysis, and its target clients include financial institutions such as private equity funds, public equity funds, brokerages, and banks. Its products and services help financial institutions with their rapid strategic research, scientific investments, and more accurate and effective decision management on risks and performance.

Airdoc, headquartered in Beijing's tech-centered Zhongguancun neighborhood, was established in September 2015. By the end of 2017, it had set up subsidiaries and R&D centers in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Silicon Valley, as well as offices in Hubei and Anhui. The company is a leader in medical artificial intelligence. Since its inception, it has received multiple rounds of investment from several well-known entities and has established formal cooperation with dozens of top medical institutions, boasting global leading technological achievements in a number of segments.

TigerGraph's mission is to enable corporate customers to gain insight into data in the era of big data. TigerGraph released the industry's first native, parallel graph data computing platform, which simultaneously provides real-time computing capabilities based on graph technology for deep-correlation data analysis.

Patsnap is a globally leading provider of full-process solutions for corporate technological innovation, and one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in China. Through rich and user-friendly products and platform services, Patsnap helps its clients extract valuable intelligence from various types of information to accelerate commercialization processes, to expedite research and development, to direct development of critical technologies, and to ultimately increase the core competitiveness of its clients.

Perspicace Intelligence Technology is a partner of Microsoft's "Technology Pioneer Program" and a strategic partner of IBM China for applications in AI-powered cognition scenarios. It has also formed strategic partnerships with real estate players such as the Greenland Group, the Guangming Real Estate Group, the Vanke Group, and the Dafa Group, as well as Jingdong Intelligence.

Zhuiyi Technology is an in-depth service provider that specializes in deep learning and natural language processing, providing intelligent service systems based on conversational robots. Zhuiyi Technology is one of the most promising AI startup companies in China. With strong engineering strength and sharp business insights, it has made breakthroughs in AI application in financing, Internet, and lifestyle services. The company has won world-wide recognition from top investment institutions, corporate clients, and other players in the industry.

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