Nurturing Innovation: Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest

June 15, 2017


On June 14th, 2017, Alibaba Cloud hosted the Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest - UK Division Final in London. This event was held in cooperation with Cocoon Networks. On the first day of the Second China-UK Hi! - Technology Festival, a breakfast and workshop powered by Alibaba Group were held in Cocoon Networks London’s Innovation Centre. During the workshop, members of the Alibaba group shared with the audience the latest novelties originating in the Chinese software development scene. They also discussed recent trends in investment and collaboration opportunities between British and Chinese enterprises.
Known as the world’s top Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence company, Alibaba Cloud provides online security services to enterprises, developers and governments. During the workshop, Alibaba Cloud representatives shared their experiences of developing services at home and beyond national borders. Such experiences included the launch of the “double 11 shopping festival” - the trading volume of which exceeded $17,8billion in 2016 - as well as the making of the Alibaba online game ecosystem.


In the following part, Alibaba Cloud representatives talked about their success in developing the “miracle type ” products. A speaker from Ali pay & Ant Financial emphasised the remarkable level of cooperation they have achieved in the international markets.


In the afternoon the “Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest - UK Division Final”, one of the largest and most influential startup contests in the world, was held in Cocoon Networks London’s Innovation Centre. This year, the winning start-ups will be provided with larger and more accessible resources.

Since the announcement of the “2017 Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest” in April, 2000 teams, 200 cooperative partners, and a large number of investors and government agencies manifested their interest in the competition.
Over the last year, four teams have been awarded ¥54million in investments by Alibaba Cloud and Yinxingu. Eight teams out of the 19 teams in the final round of the competition have been given over ¥10 million in investments. The total value of these teams was estimated to be over $3billion.


“Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest UK Division Final” is an integral part of the China-UK Hi! - Technology Festival, which provides start-ups willing to enter the Chinese market with a great opportunity to show their potential.


First, the startups presented to the audience and to the judges. The presentations mainly dealt with the start-up’s major product(s), their areas of innovation, their market position, and their prospective earnings. The potential launch of their product(s) into the Chinese market was also discussed. Following this phase, the judges evaluated each team taking into consideration their business model, their operational status and their earning prospects. In addition to the judges’ evaluation, an innovative online assessment technique was also implemented to select the winning startup.


At the opening of the event Mr. Wang Weiguo, Chairman at Cocoon Networks, gave the welcoming speech for the 2017 Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest. As a pioneer in the promotion of Sino-British technological cooperation, Mr. Wang encouraged the participants to be adventurous, to embrace the challenges of an unpredictable future and to welcome the prospects for increased expansion and development.


The Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest has successfully attracted outstanding startups focussing on diverse technologies such as intelligent hardware and TMT, amongst others. The 10 teams participating in this contest operate in varied fields that include real estate, fashion, gaming, and healthcare.


Startup introduction:


1. Headai Ltd is in the process of creating ‘teachable software robots’ able to automate various everyday intellectual tasks. These robots can importantly enhance the task of data discovery, thus helping both to make more reliable data-based decisions and to automate intricate business procedures, amongst other things. Far-reaching research in cognitive science and AI - paired with executive level business intelligence - is the key pillar of Headai’s business.


2. HungryPanda is an online food delivery platform providing tailored services to Chinese consumers. Their main products and services include an online platform accessible via desktop and mobile applications for both end-consumers and merchants. The platform allows oriental restaurants and supermarkets to directly order their products online.


3. Ikigai Factory Limited creates virtual tours in the real estate industry. A 360-degree camera produces a virtual tour in VR allowing agents to select the right properties, and buyers to explore a property. It reduces the number of unnecessary physical viewings and it saves time when these take place.


4. Jook Ltd is a fashion and beauty online marketplace that allows users to shop on Instagram thanks to successful partnerships with global top brands and retailers. When a user finds an outfit they really like on Instagram, they can buy it instantly. The brands JOOK is partnering with are more than 1000. Jook aims to facilitate the sale of western luxury items in China.


5. Klevu Oy can provide the clients of any business with an intuitive, receptive and pleasant online shopping environment. Klevu Oy makes use of advanced technology to design an online retail search engine characterised by a conversational search experience. This results into the production of cleaner shopping data able to match catalogues, long tail search and merchandising.


6. MediSieve Ltd has developed a revolutionary drug-free malaria treatment called “magnetic blood filtration”: a revolutionary method of treating blood-borne diseases that removes malaria-infected blood cells directly from
a patient’s bloodstream.


7. Modo Systems Ltd is a unique visual service that solves the issue of digital clutter by allowing one to locate, manage and handle (viewing, sharing, editing, etc.) information in one cloud. Modo Systems brings all your digital files – documents, photos, and videos – together into one vibrant and visually superb environment.


8. M2E is a gaming ecosystem developed to both facilitate high quality content generation and to control costs through the sharing of a talent pool.


9. SoAmpli Ltd is a platform that combines human ad artificial intelligence to provide sale teams with contents they can post on social media. SoAmpli answers the question of how social media can help increase sales in an innovative way. The platform thus increases the company’s network and their ability to “convert cold leads into hot prospects”.


10. WeVat is a mobile app for shopping travellers that brings tax-free shopping into the digital world, resulting into a hassle-free, clearer experience for international shoppers in the UK. Travellers can use the app to skip the queue and save time when shopping.


Similarly to contests in other divisions, the London one was highly competitive. The UK Division Final was won by Modo Systems Ltd; the WeVAT team won the second prize. Both startups will go to China in October to represent the UK in the global tournament!


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