US-China technology incubator InnoSpring has opened applications for its inaugural accelerator program today, which offers up to 10 startups the opportunity to receive 6 months of mentoring and $100,000 in funding, with a distinctly Chinese bent.
The deadline for applications is the end of August and the program has been specifically designed to give promising startups a launch pad into China, US and beyond. The program will begin October 1, based at InnoSpring’s Silicon Valley-based facility – which the firm stresses is an impressive 13,500-square-feet in size.
The program is focused on attracting firms within the mobile Web, cleantech and healthcare IT spaces, and InnoSpring says that it will give “special preferences” to big data startups.
InnoSpring boasts funding and mentoring support an array of impressive names, including investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and KPCB China, Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) and GSR Ventures, while other mentors include Jinlin Wang, CTO and VP of Engineering at Answers.
Successful applicants will enjoy a range of usual accelerator benefits or learning opportunities — including workshops on all manner of business-related subjects — but the real differentiator is the access that InnoSpring can provide in China. The firm plans to bring mentors and VCs in from the Middle Kingdom, as well as the US, and promises “exclusive access” to its US-Sino network.
Calling China a tough market to crack is probably the understatement of the year, but what is for sure is that with a ‘smartphone population’ of nearly 200 million people — not to mention the world’s largest smartphone shipments volumes and new device activations — China oozes potential.
InnoSpring is differentiating itself by offering a US-based ‘China hand’ program to attract potential startups. Though the first batch of startups for incubation consisted entirely of first or second generation Chinese, President Eugene Zhang told me at the May launch that the firm expects to attract non-Asians once it becomes established as a proven route into China.
Speaking about the opening for applications, Zhang says:
InnoSpring encourages passionate and globally-minded entrepreneurs to apply to the InnoSpring Accelerator Program. Selected startups will gain unparalleled access to our unique and valuable US-China ecosystem, receive mentorship from the best in their industries, and be provided tools to build scalable companies for the global economy.”
InnoSpring itself was formed through a joint partnership between Tsinghua University Science Park (TusPark), Shui On Group, Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
Interested startups can apply to the accelerator at InnoSpring.net/apply.
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