4 eye-catching startups at Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest

The United States and China are leading in terms of startups and venture capital investment. They have nurtured more than 80% of the world’s unicorns (a startup valued at USD 1 billion or more) whose combined valuation occupies 85% of the world’s total, as a recent estimate shows.

China’s ecommerce giant, Alibaba, is trying to boost the trend of entrepreneurship, not just in the U.S. and China, but globally, by holding the Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest which is now in its third year.

This year, 45 winners from China and 12 overseas markets gathered in Shanghai from October 13 to 14 to compete for the final championship. Over 2,000 startups participated in regional competitions globally in 2017.

We have picked four startups from this year’s finalists in which we see great potential.

Photo from HistoWiz


Founded by Ke Cheng in 2012, HistoWiz is a New York-based biotech startup that automates histology and is building an intelligent tissue platform for cancer researchers in academia and industry.

The startup’s service can process, cut, and stain mouth tissue samples and digitalize the results for researchers. Users can get the whole-slide images of their samples in three days instead of weeks. In addition, HistoWiz claims to have accumulated the world’s largest annotated pathology database which enables tissue-driven data mining and the development of machine learning tools based on histopathology images.

HistoWiz is backed by Y Combinator and ZhenFund and is the final champion of CACSC 2017.

Gladius underwater drone. Photo from Chasing-Innovation


Though the consumer drone has been hovering in the sky for quite a while, there has been little development in its underwater counterpart.

Chasing-Innovation’s co-founder, Yang Yang, saw the opportunity and founded an underwater drone startup with his partners in 2016. The startup is based in China’s electronics manufacturing hub, Shenzhen, with three offices, each located in Beijing, Chengdu, and the western city of Kunming. Its main product is an underwater drone called Gladius, which is able to dive 100 meters deep and take 1080P or 4K video.

The startup won third place in the CACSC 2017 finals.

Photo from Freightos


Freightos, a Jerusalem-based company, owns an online marketplace for the global logistics industry, which is worth a trillion USD but remains left behind by the internet. Its marketplace enables on-demand comparison, booking, and management of freight services from dozens of forwarders (think Ctrip/Expedia, but for freight). The startup stands out for its unique freight pricing and routing engine technology.

Freightos is founded by serial entrepreneur, Zvi Schreiber, and has raised over USD 50 million from General Electric and other venture funds.

Photo from iCubeVR

iCubeVR Technology

iCubeVR Technology is a Beijing-based startup which specializes in 3D VR video development. It provides a software called iCubeVR Factory for users to edit 3D VR video in a smoother and more efficient way.

The startup’s founding team has a strong computer visual and graphics background. 70% of them hold a doctor’s degree from Yale, NYU, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, among others.

The startup was selected as a member of the first class of Microsoft Accelerator Shanghai in early 2017 and won the Most Innovative Award in the CACSC 2017 finals.

(Top photo from harbus.org)

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