Five years into Beijing Tech Hive, a cross between a hackathon and a business planning competition driving startup development, the organization is introducing a change to the weekend’s format to try and give participants another skill to add to their repertoire.
Andy Mok, founder of Tech Hive, said that their 16th edition of Beijing Tech Hive on the weekend of March 19 will gather a group of early-stage entrepreneurs looking for industry advice, connections with investors and peer interaction.
However, instead of using their former two-minute pitch with a PPT, this time they will make their pitches using a short video and learn how to make them from a veteran video journalist and experts from video platforms Youku and Tudou.
Mok said that video is a critical communication tool for everyone from big businesses to startups.
“We’ve designed this edition of Beijing Tech Hive to give entrepreneurs a chance not only to sharpen their video-making skillset, but give them the opportunity to have a video by the end of the weekend that they can use to grow their business.”
Learning how to pitch has direct benefits for entrepreneurs and can help an early-stage entrepreneur break out.
Zhang Yusheng, a 2011 Beijing Tech Hive alumnus and founder and CEO of Apricot Forest, whose idea won out in 2011, said the challenges for an entrepreneur can be daunting. “Funding was a big challenge, but the more important part was the idea.”
After facing initial rejection from investors, he had no idea whether his idea was worth pursuing, but attending and eventually winning at Beijing Tech Hive changed all that. “By participating and winning, it helped me to validate my idea. It’s about self-confidence.”
Apricot Forest, a suite of apps that improves healthcare efficiency in China – the idea Zhang won with – has grown to 300 employees while raising over USD 15 million in the last five years.
Other past participants in Beijing Tech Hive include Lushu Technology, a social tourism planning platform, Substantial Games, a studio for competitive gaming and Alesca Life, an energy-efficient automated crop producer.
The booming tech startup scene in China and especially Beijing has turned Beijing Tech Hive into an important resource for entrepreneurs in China, especially for those seeking guidance and mentorship. That community is an important part of what draws both VC eyes and entrepreneurs to Beijing Tech Hive.
Wilson Kao, co-founder of Kajin Health, a Taiwan-based online therapy platform participating this weekend, said this kind of community is an essential resource for early-stage entrepreneurs. “It’s definitely crucial because at the beginning there are a lot of things that you have in terms of weaknesses. Learning from each other is crucial to creating a perfect product.”
Edaan Getzel, co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rikai Labs, a language-learning messaging suite, said he is looking to meet gatekeepers and introduce his idea to his peers and potential investors: “We want to win, but it’s about meeting people in the community.”
A sample of the investors who will be on hand at Beijing Tech Hive on Saturday include partners and directors from 500 Startups, Chinaccelerator, China Growth Capital and Innovation Works, among others.
Zhang’s experience at Beijing Tech Hive five years ago was surely different, but he says the importance of a community of startup entrepreneurs is hard to overstate: “Innovation is like a seed, it cannot grow out of a desert. It has to be part of an ecosystem. We need the Amazon rainforest to create new innovation.”
Get a rundown and other details from bjtechhive.com.