We hope to find out firsthand. Here is an overview:
Qiji Chuangtan will open a 3-month entrepreneurship acceleration camp in spring and autumn each year.
During the start-up camp, we will require the founders of each of our funded start-ups to participate in activities in Beijing during the start-up camp, where we will work closely with the team to polish their companies to the best possible state. . The roadshow day is the highlight of the start-up camp. Many top domestic and foreign start-up investors will be present to listen to the project presentation report.
SHARE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
We will arrange closed-door sharing of entrepreneurial guests during the two-day group activities of the entrepreneurial camp every two weeks.
The point to be emphasized here is that the guests we invite are all big names who are still on the front line of entrepreneurship and are still very concerned about the product and user experience. At the same time, we are sharing entirely behind closed doors. Everyone is not allowed to video and record rumors to ensure that the guests can speak without reservation, which helps entrepreneurs.
In the interaction with these first-line celebrities, the founders of our entrepreneurial camp can understand the pits and mental training these relatively successful entrepreneurs have stepped on and see their profound ideological insights and efforts. This will bring great inspiration and guidance to the students of the Entrepreneurship Camp in their future entrepreneurship.
One founder who experienced closed-door dinners wrote:
Much down-to-earth advice is repeated, but even then, these are valuable - because if you hear the same thing repeatedly from different angles, especially from some big names, you'll usually understand these principles more deeply. The stories are uplifting, especially those about adversity. That's the beauty of dinner: You get a sense of what these successful startups went through growing up.
The dinner can only invite some entrepreneurs and a few graduate alumni to participate, and there are no audio and video materials to share, which may be regrettable. Still, from another perspective, if we broadcast or record the content of the speech, the speakers may shut up about many things and Stop talking.
After the presentation, there is usually a short question-and-answer session, after which everyone can leave their seats and chat as freely as before dinner. From experience, almost all the sharing guests will stay for some time and continue to talk with entrepreneurs. If the entrepreneur especially wants to communicate with the guest speakers, we will also help to introduce the acquaintance. Sometimes, entrepreneurs exchange contact information with guest speakers so that they can continue to communicate later.
Half of the Qiji Innovation Forum activities solve achieve collective actions attended by all entrepreneurial teams, and the other half are individual exchanges with us.
We believe that early-stage entrepreneurship is the same as "doing a Ph.D.," and it needs to solve a problem that has not been solved before independently. To provide real valuable help to entrepreneurs, it is far from enough to take classes alone. It requires a tutor with rich practical experience to solve core problems hand in hand to guide effectively. Therefore, our "Qiji Entrepreneurship Camp" is not mainly about classes; our core is to build high-value bonds through Office Hour (office hours).
Every week, every project in the camp has the opportunity to make an appointment for the Office Hours. Together with Lu Qi and other partners, they have a targeted, one-on-one discussion on the current problems encountered by their company and solve specific problems. It feels like you and your co-founder discuss, strategize, execute, and solveachieve bugs. In addition, there is also a collective office hour, which mainly focuses on the Demoday goal to follow up and achieve rapid iterations every two weeks, effectively interact with other equally excellent founder students, practice and communicate around the theme, and obtain feedback and inspiration.
The entrepreneurial team can make an online appointment for office time for individual communication, and the number of positions is not limited, as long as the entrepreneurial team needs it. Software for booking office time is not just an appointment tool; it can also give us a clear view of whether startup teams are getting enough interaction time and how many entrepreneurs are waiting to chat individually. If the queue is long, we will arrange for more communication time.
What we communicate during office hours depends on the entrepreneurial team and the specific issues we face. Typically, we prioritize helping with the most urgent cases. Sometimes (especially in the early stages), the most pressing problem is to discover what is the most urgent problem to solve. This seemingly innocuous question is important; we spend a lot of time telling entrepreneurs which questions are nothing to worry about.
About 10% of the time, we talk about some long-term vision for the company, not some immediate problem, but it's necessary. Some startup teams come here with a big picture, but most don’t have that vision. It's essential to take some time to think about how to grow from what is now a tiny startup to a large enterprise, although it's not the most crucial thing at this stage. One of our strengths is helping entrepreneurs build big visions because we've tried so many entrepreneurial ideas, and we know what's behind every entrepreneurial idea.
When startup teams haven't decided what to do or want to change their startup idea, we discuss what their company should do. "What to do" needs to meet two conditions: (1) do the product that the user wants, (2) do what the team is good at. Such exchanges take place here at an astonishingly high frequency. Startups revise or even change their entrepreneurial ideas much more often than outsiders think.
If the question of what the company will do is resolved, then the most urgent question becomes deciding what to do first. Usually we recommend startup teams to release products quickly and iterate. This method doesn't necessarily work for all projects, but it works most of the time. We give this advice because your designs are based on assumptions or the most compatible seed users before launching your product. Once you start reaching real users, they often give you unexpected responses, which can teach you how to build your product.
Usually, we advise startups to release their product when they have accomplished something that has substantial utility and when the effect they have made is better than existing choices. At this point, at least some users will say, "I'm so happy to see this product because I can finally do something." If you're doing something that's only a subset of the options available and in the same market price point, users have no reason to try your product. This means that you haven't had substantial communication with your users. So it would help if you had a handy function to gain a foothold.
Starting from the same technology, many directions can be expanded. So one of the most critical questions we're going to talk about is what to build first. The general practice is to choose a product with a breakneck iteration speed and a very high user expectation (the degree of user expectation and how many user expectations are different concepts). But in practice, the answer to this question will vary from project to project. Our goal is to give founders a clear direction at the end of office hours. This goal is almost always achievable, although, in practice, about 10% of the time, a product turns out to be in the wrong direction, and we have to go back to the design board to revisit it.
Deciding what product to make is not just a technical question because a startup is a company, not just a piece of software. Products in the prototype stage also need to have an initial business model. Business models can be changed like products (which can be iterated), but there needs to be an essential starting point, who to charge, how much to set, and how to acquire these users.
If a startup team is ready to release a product, the office hour conversation becomes "how to release it." This involves two problems: presenting it to users and presenting the essential it to the media and investors. If the startup already has a company website, we will try to make it at least practical. Many startups’ websites tend to confuse first-time users and have no idea (or even interest in knowing) what the company is doing, so the website should succinctly convey the company’s core message.
Another part of launching a product is starting to show it to the press and investors. Whenever a startup is ready to launch a product, they stand in front of a whiteboard with our partners, draft the most essential message points, and detail an initial draft that we helped revise. On the product launch day, we will send this manuscript to the partner media. Entrepreneurs can contact the media on their own. Still, we help entrepreneurs with their initial introductions because: (a) We want to help entrepreneurs introduce their companies in plain language, not marketing jargon or other ways tech entrepreneurs often do; (b) journalists generally trust us more.
The whiteboard studio is helpful for more than just launching a product. It's a fundamental way to introduce yourself, especially to investors. In addition, it can help entrepreneurs sort out the company's vision for themselves.
In the case of a company that has released a product and has users, the office hour conversations can become specific transactions that happen to those companies that have removed the product. Most companies launching new products will encounter some problems, and these difficulties represent a problem that a startup will eventually need to solve. In practice, these difficulties range from technical bottlenecks to legal proceedings, but the most common problem is that users don't like the products released by the company enough.
These questions are pretty standard, they let you see where your initial assumptions were wrong, and now you have at least some data to analyze. So for companies at this stage (launching a product), the conversation during office hours becomes how to figure out what users want based on the data that is already available, how to get more data about them, and how to reach more users. This is similar to the initial phase of our attempt to find a breach at the periphery of existing technology, especially when extensive trial-and-error exploration is required. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience in this field.
In addition to this one-on-one Office Hour, we also have a group office hour, which mainly focuses on the follow-up and implementation of the Demoday goals and includes exercises and exchanges on related topics. Here you will have a lively discussion and interaction with other equally excellent founder students and get their feedback and inspiration. Of course, there will be the tension and excitement of competing with each other.
As the start-up camp progressed, office time began to revolve around financing. There are some questions that all startups face, such as how to raise money, who to raise funds from, and when to start raising money? The answers to these questions depend on the circumstances of each company. Some startups get enough attention from the start that they can quickly close financing. Other startups are like the transformation process from "ugly ducklings" to "white swans." They need to try to raise a small number of angel funds initially and use these funds to polish the company better.
A start-up company needs to accurately assess its financing potential because financing for a company is like choosing a take-off angle for an aircraft. If you climb too steep, it will easily stall. In other words, if you plan to raise a lot more than you need at this stage, you will not only waste a lot of time and end up with nothing, but it will also affect your chances of raising a small amount of money. Fortunately, our experience can help here too. Based on data from previous startups, we can help you predict investor reaction and what funding strategy you should pursue.
Once fundraising begins, the topic of office-time discussions shifts from a strategic to a tactical level. Financing is often a question of how to break the ice. More investors will want to join in once you start getting some investors to look at it. So the most crucial tactical question is who to talk to first and how to convince them. On this issue, our experience can also help entrepreneurs because we have learned about their personality characteristics through previous interactions with many investors. Of course, in addition to giving financing advice, we will also directly participate in the communication with investors and help the project convince investors. We are often more able to build communication trust than the founders themselves because we have to present the facts; if we talk to our investors, they will never trust us again.
The goal of the startup camp is not only to help start-ups get financing but, more importantly, to find the most suitable investors for them. Our investors' knowledge can help us find the right investors and convince them.
As we approached roadshow day, the topic of conversation during office hours became mostly speeches and presentations about roadshow day. This is the busiest phase of our startup camp cycle. Because different startups are at various stages, they will talk to us differently in the following steps. But the week before the road day, everyone needs to come and speak to us about what to say on the road day. So during the week, the entire office time will be consolidated into one long preview rehearsal. We often work into the evenings as entrepreneurs come and rehearse full roadshow presentations for us.
Like discussions before launching a product, we work out with the founders what the most crucial message points convey. Then the entrepreneurial team will give a roadshow speech around these information points. Everyone (we and other entrepreneurs present) will watch it together, and the keynote team will constantly correct mistakes and try again. This course mode makes the practice of roadshow speech significantly better than other modes.
Office hours remain open during the 3-month startup camp, and only the closing dinner marks the end of office hours. Our office hours are available all year round, and all companies that have participated in the course before can make an appointment at any time (except during the interview period, the first week of each class, and the week before the roadshow day, because these periods are reserved for the current student companies).
Finally, it is our roadshow day, which is also a graduation ceremony. On the roadshow day, you can meet almost the best and top angel investors, VC investment institutions, etc., in China and the world. One thousand two hundred investors attended the just-concluded first roadshow day, and you will be on stage like a star Show off your project and be sought after by hundreds of investors in the audience until it explodes your WeChat friends. This link will significantly improve the speed and efficiency of your financing. Many projects can get TS to complete the funding on the same day.
A roadshow day is a significant event in the world of Qiji creation. There are no specific requirements for what startups present on the roadshow day. At the beginning of the 3-month startup camp, the startups we funded were all at different stages, and some even wholly changed their entrepreneurial ideas. So the goal of Roadshow Day is to get startups to present their products and services on stage as convincingly as possible.
During and after the roadshow, entrepreneurs are free to engage in more in-depth conversations with investors. The goal of a startup is to introduce itself to everyone. There will be a series of talks to convince investors to invest in most cases.
After the roadshow day, startups usually get a series of high-quality matchmaking exchanges. If a start-up company plans to obtain financing after the end of the Qiji Innovation Forum, these matchmaking activities are a good start. Our essential advice is to cast a wide net and adjust the level of commitment to each activity based on expectations.
For example, an angel investor who makes quick decisions and makes a small investment has the exact investment expectations as a venture capital firm that takes weeks to decide whether to invest but has a more significant investment. However, when an angel investor takes several weeks to make an investment decision, and the investment is small, his investment expectations are lower, and this situation should be considered afterward. Fortunately, we know many of these potential investors, but we can predict how they will react to each startup, and we can do an excellent job of advising startups on how much they should invest in each exposure. There are very few investors who shouldn't even take the time to reach out, and we tell startups this information.
In the weeks following the roadshow day, we’ll be in close contact with the startup team, working with them to analyze the funding puzzle and help them interpret the message from the ambiguity of investors. We often talk to investors to find out exactly what they think about a particular project.
During the start-up camp, we will support start-up companies to raise some angel rounds of funds, provided that they do not take up too much of their project work time. While it's lovely to be able to raise a Series A before roadshow day, for the vast majority of companies, we don't encourage them to do so. Starting a Series A negotiation too early is very risky, as it takes a lot of time the founders should have spent on the project, and the negotiation often ends in failure. It follows that they may screw up on the road day because they have neither secured financing nor made significant progress in the product and service provider of the project. However, if the interest of venture capital institutions has reached a certain level, we will recommend that companies take certain risks and start the work of seeking Series A financing.
We have many other activities during each start-up camp.
The first is Product Prototype Day, about two weeks after the class starts. All startup teams present themselves to the other participants at the Product Prototype Day for the first time. The goals of this event include: (a) getting to know each other’s projects and seeing if you might be able to help, and (b) getting entrepreneurs to start thinking about how to present their projects. Of course, at this stage, entrepreneurs will still focus more on product building rather than project presentations, so we will help them reduce their stress, and no one else will watch their presentations except the entrepreneurial team present.
We have also arranged some Bootcamp training courses, but our course design is also targeted. We will investigate the needs of each project at the start of the camp and then find the most suitable lecturers in this field to give you. in class.
The week before Roadshow Day, we also have an event called Rehearsal Day. The event format is similar to Prototype Day; the only difference is that the roadshow presentation on rehearsal day should be used as the first draft of the actual roadshow presentation.
At the end of the start-up camp, we will invite 5 to 6 of the best financing experts from the graduates to share their experience and advise the entrepreneurial team. The only theme in this event was the straightforward dry goods sharing by the alumni.
The day before the Roadshow Day, we will hold an event called Alumni Roadshow Day. The event format is the same as the above event, except that all the participating audiences are alumni. This event aims to help everyone in a friendly environment, improve the final shortcomings of everyone's speech, or provide a small amount of angel investment by alumni.
As Qiji Innovation Forum continues to provide start-up capital for start-ups, the value of the alumni community network is increasingly important in the services we provide.
At first, it was zero because we didn't have alumni yet. But we will create an alumni network as the group of startups funded every six months grows. The more start-ups we support, the faster our alumni network grows.
The alumni network is vital not only because of its size but also because of the unwavering commitment of its members to help each other. This commitment was initially a product of our attempt to encourage a spirit of collaboration in each batch of projects. Entrepreneurship is a very lonely business, and one of the goals of our batch model is to solve this problem, which is to provide the founders of companies with only 2 or 3 people with the right colleagues.
When people get our investment, they find that the alumni network is structured. The innermost layer is the same group of founders. They do many things to help each other, from being beta users of each other's products or helping each other with technical expertise. They also tend to be good friends. Many of the founders’ closest friends are people they’ve worked with at startup camp, like in school.
We encourage the spirit of cooperation to spread among each other, which is a very natural style. Once we realized this was happening, we started promoting it, creating connections between new companies and alumni who could help them become more mature.
Alumni are not blindly loyal, though. What ultimately holds this network together is the quality of people.
INTRODUCTION AND RELATIONSHIP
We have a good network of relationships all over the world.
There are many ways startups can benefit from these connections. One is that we can arrange introductions for almost anyone in our relationships with alumni.
We have formal agreements with many companies in the tech world, either offering free services or special access to startups we fund, like Amazon’s $100,000 deal on cloud services.
We also have ties to most "platform companies," which allows us to remove the difficulties that startups have when building things on their platforms. We often host events for people to talk to startups at Qiji Innovation Forum.
We have great relationships, not because we are exceptionally friendly, but because we have a lot of great companies in our community. So any company looking to connect with the startup community can go directly to our site and gain access to hundreds of high-quality startups at a time. Journalists in the venture capital world know that they can call us, and we'll walk them through multiple examples of what they're writing about, whether it's a company writing a mobile app or a co-working company.
Due to the alumni's large and tight-knit network, investors or companies that try to misrepresent a startup funded by Qiji Technology can often be ordered to stop. But since everyone understands the power of this network, much of its value lies in deterrence: In reality, people rarely try to mistreat the companies we fund because they know it's not worth it. The scary stories you hear about investors screwing up startups rarely happen to our company.
Initially, there will be only one social event per week. We gradually increased, and now I'm just right.
We don't want too much social activity. While founders often become good friends through startup camps, that's not its primary purpose. In addition, social events organized by sponsors are usually poorly organized; in natural communities, people manage their own events spontaneously.
During the first or second week of each cycle, we will organize a meetup for entrepreneurs so that everyone can get to know each other. There is usually another less restrictive party on the last day of the roadshow after the audience has left. We also occasionally organize events on other light-hearted occasions.
We organize an alumni reunion for each student of the Qiji Creation Forum. Since the period of the startup world is so fast, we don't wait until the following year: the reunion is usually about six weeks after the cycle ends because, by that time, the startup will encounter resistance and start to feel frustrated, needing encouragement from old classmates Cheer up.
Entrepreneurs naturally tend to gather at the end of each cycle because they have a lot in common and go through many of the same experiences together. As one founder put it:
Since my last job, one of my goals has been to stop being mediocre and get along with more intelligent people than me. Startup Camp helped me do just that.
The overall goal of the Qiji Innovation Forum is to help start-ups get on the right track. Startups will enter the startup camp at various stages; some have not even started work, while others have been established for a year or more. But no matter what stage a startup is at when they are first launched, our goal is to help them be better three months from now.
For most startups, "better shape" means two things: having one with a better product and more users and having more funding options. The percentage depends on where the company is located. A company that is just starting will want to put more effort into the product, while a company that has already launched a product will usually focus more on financing.
But startups benefit from the intensity of startup camps at all stages. For three months, we will be in operation all the time, and everyone around you - Qiji Innovation Forum, other founders around you, alumni, speakers, and investors - all want to help your business succeed. In that atmosphere, it's hard not to be motivated. This extraordinary drive is necessary to start a business.
Many founders describe the 11 weeks leading up to Demo Day as the most productive period. While the Qiji Creation Forum continues to function after the 3-month cycle, and the alumni network will become an increasingly valuable resource, these 11 weeks are still the most important. You can't turn one person into another, but the right environment can bring out their best. Because most people find themselves with more potential than they previously realized, they are often surprised by their abilities.