After 90 days of mentoring and molding, 10 startups graduated today from Shanghai-based Chinaccelerator. They’re the seventh batch to emerge from the program since it started in 2009.
At a crowded demo day in an auditorium at the newly-established ShanghaiTech University, William Bao Bean (pictured below), the Chinaccelerator managing director and SOS Ventures partner, hailed the fact that the current batch is made up of 50 percent female CEOs and 43 percent female founders.
There’s no award for startups with fun names, but there ought to be one to reward The Squirrelz. It’s a sort of Etsy for “upcycled” products – but with a huge, Alibaba-sized twist.
The Squirrelz operates on two levels. To ordinary shoppers, it’s a marketplace for funky products made out of cast-off items (pictured below); to makers, it’s a place to source those materials in bulk. The good news for the startup is that it makes commission on both those stages.
Bunny Yan, the CEO and co-founder, gave the example of a huge batch of medical scrubs that were rejected because they came out in the wrong color. On The Squirrelz, someone turned those into courier bags.
Major manufacturers benefit by being able to sell off stuff that would otherwise be trashed.
The startup can help transform a 1kg bundle of cast-off material that cost only US$10 into US$1,000 worth of products that people want to buy, Yan claimed.
So far, The Squirrelz has just over 40 designers who’ve created more than 600 products. It’s going to start by focusing on China.