Prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs show that nerds can change the world – people with technical and inventive genius put their ideas into practice and change the way we live our lives.
Here’s an engineer in China who has built something and aims to make a difference.
Graduated from Tsinghua University and having worked for the telecommunications company Ericsson for 12 years, Qian Jin went back to China in 2003 and opened a restaurant with great success. Two years later, he founded Navidog, a mobile navigation device that offers street view displays the route and time to destination. Navidog’s user base grew from zero to over 100 million before it was acquired by digital map provider NaviInfo in 2013.
Life goes on. In 2014, Qian founded Beijing Mobnote Technology to make a dashcam called Goluk, a venture which has secured Pre-A and Series A financing from China’s Innovation Works and the Foxconn Technology Group.
“It’s exciting being an entrepreneur in China,” Qian said with a smile. “You get to encounter challenges of all kinds.”
What it takes to be an entrepreneur
Qian once told his team that the company would only focus on Goluk dashcams, the one series of product, until it sells one million units. But why dashcams?
With nine years’ experience working on Navidog, Qian chose to start again from the same target group, i.e. drivers and car owners, because of his experience as an entrepreneur in this sector. On the other hand, Qian anticipated back in 2014 that short videos and live-streaming would lead coming trends in online media. These two directing lines pointed to one intersection: the dashcam.
Traditional dashcams are used to record traffic incidents only; other than that, they are almost useless. To make the old incident recorder applicable to multiple other scenarios and welcomed by more people, something has to be added: Qian decided to connect dashcams to the internet and let user generated content (UGC) create value for his user base.
Other ways to use a dashcam
Qian put forward three major applications of the Goluk dashcam.
Small and simple with a smart look, Goluk dashcam features Wi-Fi to connect with users’ smartphones. This allows videos – watermarked with Goluk’s logo – to be readily shared on social media like Tencent QQ, WeChat, Weibo, as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
First, aside from emergency accident auto-recording, users may accidentally encounter and record “uncivilized behaviors” of others. A single press of the button will automatically save a 12-second video from six seconds before the press to six seconds after. In this light, dashcams act like effective monitors, the recordings of which might encourage the public to do or not to do something.
Second, Goluk can be used for live-streaming. With a 360-degree rotatable structure, users can turn the dashcam to face back into the car’s interior and to face themselves.
Last but not least, the 1080P night vision dashcam can be used with a smart holder, which makes the dashcam-turned-outdoor-camera suitable for recordings during hiking, biking, skiing, etc. A wristband is also available to be pressed to capture 12-second videos. In this way, Goluk’s target group expands beyond car drivers.
Additionally, with the help of Goluk app, users can edit their videos by adding credits or a piece of background music.
“Every single person can become a media outlet,” said Qian.
The Dashcam is not the core, short videos and live-streaming is
Qian believes that a company’s core competitiveness lies on the results of its own R&D. Once the core technologies take shape, upgrades will come fast and naturally reduce the costs. In a year’s time, Goluk has introduced three products and guarantees a quality warranty of one year.
In addition, the crowd funding for Goluk T3, the newest product in the Goluk T-series, will be initiated in a month.
However, the team’s core focus does not lie on dashcams but in short videos and live-streaming. “The Goluk dashcam is just a starting point,” Qian said.
For Goluk, users’ shared videos are not only a strong promotional tool, but also the future of data analytics. Gathering and analyzing the content will lead to better understanding of the customers’ needs and wants, allowing Goluk to grow its business and marketability abroad.
Among the over 200,000 users at present, about 2,000 are users outside of China who joined Goluk within the past few months. Its products have been sold to the U.S., Australia, Britain, Canada, Singapore, and Thailand. Besides, in a few months, Goluk will expand markets in Europe, including Russia which is presently very big on dashcams. Goluk will also introduce an overseas crowd funding by the end of this year.
Qian envisions the company claiming 50% of its market revenue from overseas. “Now’s the time for Chinese products to go global”, he said.
(Top photo from Goluk)