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Microsoft Ventures Empowers Startups in China and Asia, Turns Brilliant Ideas into Great Companies

Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing Demo Day Showcases Unique Products from Innovative Chinese Tech Startups

BEIJING, Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the third class of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing presented their projects at the program's concluding Demo Day. Microsoft also announced the 19 startups that will participate in the fourth Beijing Accelerator class in mid-January. Through this program, Microsoft has taken on a leading role in empowering local entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life and in contributing to China's innovation.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140115/CN46773 )

A number of senior executives from Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group attended the event, including Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang, Corporate Vice President and Chairman; Samuel Shen, Chief Operating Officer; and Prakash Sundaresan, Chief Technology Officer. Also in attendance were CEO in Residence of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing, Vanessa Gao, CTO in Residence of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing, Qiang Shen, participants of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator from all four classes, Accelerator mentors, Microsoft partners and representatives from leading venture capital firms.

Capacity for innovation is one of the leading factors in determining a country's competitiveness. The groundwork components of innovation, such as capital, information, technology and talent, are becoming increasingly integrated across national borders worldwide. The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing serves as a strategic partner for Chinese startups in its commitment to broaden their global reach and support them in their development into world-class enterprises.

"As an Accelerator mentor myself, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with some of the most enthusiastic, passionate and imaginative entrepreneurs and to support them in turning their great ideas into robust businesses," said Dr. Zhang. "In spite of being established in China for just over a year, we are excited that the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator has already received recognition from local governments, leading organizations, and the investor community. We are uniquely positioned to partner with visionary entrepreneurs to help emerging forces of innovation flourish in China and Asia-Pacific at large."

Since its inception in China in July 2012, the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing has provided participating startups with free cloud services, a state-of-the-art workspace and direct market exposure. Through business model innovation, the application of leading technology, and mentorship in teambuilding, marketing and other business skills, the Accelerator has enhanced the entrepreneurial capabilities of all participants. Moreover, the Accelerator provides access to the capital market, marketing and HR compliance services to support their growth. Accelerator participants have each received an average of RMB1-1.5 million worth of resources.

In just over a year, 47 startups have received in-depth entrepreneurship support from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing. The companies cover diverse areas including finance, Internet, tourism, retail, petroleum, agriculture and education. Of the 47 startups selected after rounds of screening, 90% have received recognition and investment from capital firms and achieved rapid business growth. For example, 91Jinrong, an online financial intermediary website graduating from the third class, received RMB 60 million in Series A funding during its participation in the Accelerator program, with over RMB 300 million in daily loan transactions. Its finance product ZENG ZHI BAO ("Value-added Treasure") received RMB 300 million in subscriptions in the first week after its launch. Another example is Guardtime, the inventor of the patented keyless signature technology that can verify and certify the time, origin and data integrity of electronic data signatures, who achieved a staggering 1,750% growth in revenue in the past six months. Stone Mountain, the online video technology provider, also gained nearly 100 paid business clients during their six months of training in the Accelerator.

"Looking ahead, the combination of mobile, social, cloud and big data will bring huge changes to traditional industries and will profoundly change people's lives," said Sundaresan. "We are putting our best people and resources into helping these startups develop more quickly."

In recruiting Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing's fourth class of participants, the program received applications from 420 startups. After multiple rounds of screening, 19 outstanding companies were selected (see appendix for comprehensive list companies). The focus of the fourth startup class will include: stock market simulation application and online finance platforms; consumer electronics, smart home and healthcare products; application and model innovation of the Internet of Things; user-generated video content for mobile and owned media broadcasting; cloud services for entertainment and copyrighted content; and big data visualization solutions for various industries. The fourth Accelerator class includes two teams from outside mainland China - TradeHero, a Singapore startup that specializes in innovative stock market simulations, and Taiwan-based Huodongxing, which has developed a unique online registration and ticket sales platform. The new class will participate in the program for six months from January to July, 2014.

"Microsoft is keenly aware of the power and importance of innovation. The startups participating in the Accelerator embody the spirit of innovation and we will spare no effort to connect these companies to the resources they need in each stage of their development," said Vanessa Gao, CEO in Residence of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Beijing. "The fourth startup class features businesses from diverse geographic locations such as Taiwan and Singapore, which speaks volume to the appeal and influence of the Accelerator. In the future, we will continue to expand the scope of recruitment to further energize the venture ecosystem in China and Asia."

Since the launch of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerators globally two years ago, the program has set up accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel-Aviv. Together these accelerators have empowered a total of 154 startups, reflecting a global movement of innovation.

Appendix

Startups Selected for Microsoft Ventures Accelerator's Fourth Class (listed below in no particular order)

1. My Manisku Pte. Ltd.
Founded by a team from Singapore, the company has developed and operates TradeHero, a free mobile stock market simulation app that uses real-world stock market information to create an unrivalled global social investment network. TradeHero is ranked the top finance app in 79 countries.

2. Sumscope L.P.
A company that provides a platform for real-time information and data services for the RMB fixed income and derivatives markets.

3.  Tomoon Technology Co., Ltd.
A provider of "geek" consumer electronics and optimized solutions and services. The company recently released the T-Fire smart watch.

4. Yuanchuang Yitong (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd.
A company focusing on the creation and sharing of content and related profit generation, while respecting the rights of both creators and sharers. It is committed to building up a win-win copyrighted content cloud service platform that consists of two sub-platforms - zuopintong.com for content sharing and yibi.com for payment.

5. Beijing Dnurse Technology Ltd.
A company that enables diabetic patients to manage their health conditions through a smartphone-connected glucometer and a cloud-based database.

6. Beijing Waqu Smart Technology Co., Ltd.
A mobile client service provider that helps users discover and watch user-generated videos of interest.

7. Tianjin Sea Cloud Technology Co., Ltd.
A company that uses computer graphics and image processing techniques to provide integrated visual data interaction solutions for customers in various industries.

8. Mybank Information Technology Co., Ltd.
Mybank is an online finance product platform connected to many Internet business websites and supported by all kinds of smartphone apps, providing Internet users with finance product information and transaction services. It also provides a direct-sale cloud platform for banks that integrates banks' finance services with users' everyday lives.

9. Hangzhou SegmentFault Technology Co., Ltd.
SegmentFault is an online Chinese developer community that provides a technological communication platform for developers.

10. PICOOC Technologies LLC
PICOOC is an innovative mobile Internet company specializing in high-end wearable devices and smart home devices. Its core businesses include smart devices, personal/family health solutions and health-focused apps based on smart operating systems.

11. Blueberry Information Technology Co., Ltd.
A mobile-based social broadcast service enabling users to share their lives with friends through a combination of voice, images and texts. Users can also subscribe to other mobile casts or open their mobile casts for subscription.

12. One Cloud Cultural Consulting Co., Ltd.
Tizi.com, operated by One Cloud, has the largest and most comprehensive test question database and courseware resources. In addition to providing teachers with powerful teaching and research tools, it also provides students with customized learning progress diagnosis and leaning plans through such features as online tests, assignments and Q&As, and keeps parents informed about their children's education.

13. Youjuhui (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd.
Bihang.com, operated by Youjuhui, is the most professional bitcoin wallet and application platform in China.

14. Hangzhou Luzhao Network Technology Co., Ltd.
The company operates a "super taxi" operation and service platform integrating three spaces (real world, telephone and Internet).

15. Run Mobile (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd.
A mobile Internet company providing first- through third-tier stars and ordinary actors with a full range of SOLOMO mobile Internet and virtual product solutions and value-added services.

16. Beijing Wanbang Huatang Technology Co., Ltd.
A company providing individual and group users in China's primary and middle schools with products and services based on high-level digital content and academic performance diagnosis and assessment services based on its unique educational assessment technology and big data technology.

17. Beijing Aike Creative Information Technology Co., Ltd.
Huodongxing.com, operated by Aike, is the most well-known and influential event ticket platform in the Greater China region. Focusing on the rapidly growing MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry in Asia, especially the Greater China region, the company provides comprehensive event ticket services including payment, electronic ticketing and user management.

18. Chenfengyun (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd.
The company is the developer of Quick Bird, which uses the latest cloud acceleration and compression technology to achieve quicker mobile Internet access at lower data usage.

19. Canshang Taihe Advertising (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

The company integrates app markets, aggregation platforms, top app media, third-party monitoring organizations and advertising platforms to provide all-new mobile Internet solutions including Windows phone mobile advertising media services.

About Microsoft Ventures

Microsoft Ventures is a global initiative to help entrepreneurs turn brilliant ideas into great companies. We work with startups at every stage of maturity to provide the tools, resources, and expertise they need to succeed. The initiative is broad-based, and includes a community program, accelerators, and a seed fund. Our approach helps startups scale their business, bring innovative services to market and reach new customers.

Visit Microsoft Ventures at www.microsoftventures.com to learn more about how Microsoft is helping the next generation of smart companies take flight.

About Microsoft Ventures Accelerators

Microsoft Ventures Accelerators enable top entrepreneurs to launch their company through an immersive 3-6 month program. Startups accepted into the programs gain access to business mentors, technical and design experts, office space and resources to help entrepreneurs quickly scale their business. The accelerators are located in several cities around the world, including Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel-Aviv.

SOURCE Microsoft Ventures Accelerator

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