Stella Yu and Danielle Li
The red-hot startup scene in China means that incubators have become a very profitable business. On the main street of Beijing’s Zhongguancun, the number of incubators increased from 23 to 40 since last year, according to Caixin. Well-known investors such as Kai-fu Lee, the ex-president of Google China and Xu Xiaoping, co-founder of the largest provider of private educational services in China, are all getting in on the incubator action. AllChinaTech has compiled a list of some of the biggest incubators in Beijing to give you a glimpse into the city’s burgeoning incubator scene.
Established in Beijing in January 2011, Beijing Makerspace claims to be the biggest maker space in Asia. It is now located on Zhongguancun Street in Northern Beijing. With over 1000 m² for events, Beijing Makerspace has more than 300 registered members in Beijing by now and has serviced over 30 startup companies and entrepreneurial teams as of August 2015. It has raised over USD 60 million in venture capital by August, with the total project valued at RMB two billion (USD 310 million) . Programs incubated here have raised over RMB 350 million (USD 54 million).
Established in April 2011, Garage Cafe was the first enterprise incubator to be based on the Inno-way in Zhongguancun. It is a cafe gathering startups and investment, offering open working space for entrepreneurs at the price of a cup of coffee. With a space of 800 m², it now offers regular service for more than 20 teams including startups, investors, and media. Its Members Club established in May 2015 now services over 300 entrepreneurial teams, and partners with over 40 suppliers. By now, almost 100 teams have landed their investments in the Garage Cafe platform, three of which make an annual revenue of over RMB 100 million. Over 60 teams were conceived at Garage Cafe.
Four years after 36 Kr.com, a tech new media website, was founded, Kr Space started as an incubator program. Kr Space is now located on the Inno-way in Zhongguancun. By October 2014, the space claimed to have accepted about 5000 startup project applications and incubated 29 startup companies. The highest single financing round that it has helped a startup company complete was RMB ten million . It completed its last round of financing in October, which was led by Alibaba-backed Ant Financial and MatrixPartners China.
3W Coffee is an internet-based circle that runs in the form of a coffee shop. It was founded in October, 2011, and is now located on the Inno-way. Initially, the incubator’s co-founders launched a crowdfunding campaign to attract 180 investors for seed funding, Tencent news portal reported. The incubator raised a couple of million dollars in A series in May from Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com. So far the incubator has helped 17 entrepreneurial teams get their angel investment and are incubating 14 startup projects. The incubator has been in the media spotlight after Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited it early this year.
Tencent Public Space
Tencent Public Space is an offline project extended from Open Platform, a service provider for startups by Tencent. Tencent Public Space goes beyond online services to provide better entrepreneurial environment and training, marketing and financing services by setting up spaces for startups. Launched in April 2015, this offline project started with locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and incubated 176 startups as of November. As of December, it has expanded to 25 spaces to more cities including Guangzhou and Wuhan (launched on December 13). Now its third-stage project in Beijing is located in the Huilongguan Inno Community of Changping district in Beijing. It covers 50,000 m², with a capacity to host 500 teams. The three-year plan of Tencent Public Space is to pour RMB ten billion (USD 1.5 billion) and incubate 100 enterprises valued at more than RMB 100 million (USD 15 million).