A crazy (visible) month after years of hard-work, sweat and stress
July 6th, 2019 | Loic
June 2019 has definitely been an important milestone for Coolhobo, winning Google & JD.com’s AR competition after being elected runner up few weeks ago by Tencent and New World group (K11).
Back in November 2018, we’ve applied to Eureka Nova x Tencent Smart Retail x New World group – mostly known for its high-end K11 shopping mall but also one of the largest real-estate developers in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Selection process was long and fastidious with over 200 participants, trimmed down to 30 semifinalists and finally 15 selected startups.
During the programme, we had the chance to meet industry experts on a weekly basis, sharing their insights about New Retail, marketing strategies, fundraising, corporate pain points, etc. This helped us to re-think about our platform applications, extending from retailers to shopping malls, which are both part of the same retail industry but have specific challenges and pain points. Fortunately, after working on our AR platform for over 2 years, we had 2 advantages to build new concepts quickly: modal tech and scrum organization. We just had to modify a few lines of code, adapt the UX and add new AR experiences to make it happen! Kudos to our designers who combined creativity with efficiency.
This is the demo we’ve presented during demo day (and helped us to achieve this amazing second place).
Since good things come in pairs (for our Chinese readers, you’ll immediately think about 囍 ), the Tencent / New World reward was just the beginning of an amazing month. On Sunday June 9th, Bentley and I flew to Beijing to attend the semi-final of JD AR / Google AR competition after having passed the first online screening round. 15 semi finalists were selected among 500 participants. The criteria weren’t only based on the usual pitching deck, we also had to submit our APK for Google & JD.com’s judges to test the UX and robustness of the platform. This is where I believe we made the difference: 50 sprints of building, testing and learning from our mistakes have made our platform stronger. Semi final’s Q&A was also in English, which makes it way easier for me to answer more accurately than in Chinese.
Long story short, we made it to the final and in front of 300 people audience, including JD.com’s top management, we delivered 8min of perfectly executed pitch. Lessons learnt back in August 2016 during Chinaccelerator were well assimilated! After watching the 7 other finalists going on stage to pick their awards, we came to an easy conclusion: we are the champions! Best tech & best concept, wow!
Our winning concept, Augmenting Walmart’s in-store shopping experience
We obviously would like to thank New World group, Tencent, JD.com and Google for their award and trust. We are looking forward to the next steps, cooperating on various project at the crossroads of AR and retail. We’re excited about what’s next for us during this summer, pushing tech development further, turning concepts into products, partners into clients and supporters into investors!
On product side – I should write platform rather than product – we are excited to put our first products online during the summer. We’ve been running our beta for 2 months and received hundreds feedback and comments. Based on those, we’ll fix some issues and modify/add new features.
On business side, we have identified specific pain points for each player in the retail industry: brand, importer, distributor, retailer and shopping mall are indeed different businesses and need different solutions. Anyone interested in merging offline and online through AR, reach out!
Finally, we’ll open our new round of financing (pre-A) for current and new investors.
Certainly, the summer will be hot and busy, but for now, happy weekend and thank you all for supporting us!