As research from the Startup Genome is beginning to show, the world has become a global entrepreneurial playing field, as cities from Tel Aviv to Santiago evolve into thriving startup ecosystems, becoming both regional and global engines of job creation. With such a large, increasingly internet-connected population, China, too, has become an important part of this conversation for web startups. (See TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing.) In spite of the huge market opportunities, however, historically it’s been tricky for foreign technology businesses to gain significant traction inside the Eastern power.
Today, a consortium of Chinese and American financial institutions are looking to change that by launching Silicon Valley’s first U.S.-China tech accelerator, called InnoSpring. The new incubator officially opened its doors today, giving the world a sneak peek at its first batch of 12 startups, which will be making their home in the company’s new 13,500 square-foot facility in Santa Clara, California.
The accelerator itself was established by a joint partnership between Tsinghua University Science Park (TusPark), Shui On Group (Shui On), Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). And, during its ribbon-cutting event today, at which more than 100 investors turned out to see its new digs, the Sino-American accelerator also announced its new Seed Fund, backed by both Chinese and American VC firms. The seed fund is being backed by Kleiner Perkins, Northern Light VC, GSR Ventures, China Broadband Capital, and TEEC Angel Fund.
Thanks to these contributions, the 15 companies which InnoSpring plans to select every six months for its “Seed Program” will receive an initial $25K investment outset of the program, with the potential to receive an additional $250K in capital from TEEC upon graduation. As to the equity stake InnoSpring is taking? Zhang says that will be decided on a case-by-case basis, but I’d expect the average to be in the 5 to 10 percent range.
As it stands today, InnoSpring is the first accelerator to focus on supporting American and Chinese startups to expand beyond their home countries and, although it will be in part focused on jumpstarting Chinese startups, its program is not restricted to founders hail from China, it is also looking to seed American startups with Chinese expansion strategies — in both the long-term and the short-term.
Like those tech accelerators before it, InnoSpring will be offering a mix of services and support for its startups, including funding, mentoring, workshops, in-house resources like accounting, bookkeeping, and paralegal advisement, access to VCs and angel investors, as well as physical office space and professional services for both U.S. and Chinese startups looking to increase cross-border development.
InnoSpring was founded by Eugene Zhang, the co-founder of the TEEC Angel Fund and JEDA Technologies (and also formerly of Juniper Networks, Cisco and Sun). Zhang and team have located some impressive office space, which can accomodate as many as 40 startups during the accelerator’s 6-month startup bootcamp.
If it weren’t made clear by the accelerator’s impressive collection of founding financial partners, seed fund investors, or the fact that it’s a 6-month program, InnoSpring is showing that it wants to be a full-service resource for Chinese and American startups by going beyond its “Seed Program.”
In a move that’s somewhat unusual for domestic accelerators, it’s offering both “Pre-Seed” and “Post-Seed” programs, aimed at helping very early-stage companies get off the ground by providing office space, mentoring, and help with raising seed fund, as well as giving more established tech startups the ability to find workspace in satellite offices of big corporations, among others, which are in turn looking to tap into that energetic startup environment.
Will be updating in realtime
Article courtesy of TechCrunch