Coming back from my hometown (Reunion Island) I took Mauritius Airline's new direct Mauritius-Shanghai flight and figured I will spend a few days to (re)connect with friends and tech community builders in Shanghai instead of going straight to Beijing.
People Squared Coworking
I first meet Bob Zheng, People2??Founder, at TechYizu Demo Day (July 2011 if I remember well). I have been introduced by Ross Cranwell,??Lingobite??Founder and close adviser for People Squared. At that time the space just opened and Bob kindly invited me to drop by anytime. And this is what I did this time.??
People2??is a small space, hosting about 15 people max, with a neat relax/meeting area. The space has a very homy and warm??atmosphere??carefully decorated by Bob himself. The team of managers is very friendly and always happy to discuss with new visitors. This space plays the same role than Garage Cafe in Beijing, you see coming in Angel investors invited by Bob, discussing with several entrepreneurs in turns to give them advices and check out new projects to invest.
Because of the limited space, I dont think People Squared usually let anyone just crash in the place to work and use their internet – but they kindly let me and I felt very priviledge.
Good news is that they are opening a new bigger space – Cohubit, co-founded with famous Leo Wang. Cohubit will officially open after Chinese New Year (so beginning of February 2012) and it will definitely be worth checking it out!
I dont know how this space compare to Xindanwei as I never got the chance to go there yet, but also got good feedbacks from there. If you have been there, please share your thoughts!TechYizu: a model of community cooperation in Shanghai
Being here I also take the chance to meet with Virgil Archer (aka Buzz), Techyizu co-founder. We shared plans for Techyizu and iWeekend and he kindly invited me to join their first meeting of the year.
I got the chance to meet with the rest of the core team: Mark, Kevin Chen, Calvin Chin and many others and I learnt from how they work.
TechYizu is like a umbrella for several cool Tech events in Shanghai like: Barcamp, Hackathon, DemoDay, Designing Shanghai… but also social events (ex: Spagetthi Bridge).
One person is responsible for a particular event but work is done together, fundraising, reaching out to partners,brainstorming marketing ideas… I was amazed how each of them were having a communication flow going on with different partners. One regularly talks with Startup Weekend, someone else with TEDx… It really feel like the Shanghai community works side by side. They make their best to not conflict in event dates, they help each other referring potential sponsors.. That's the way it should be.
After the first iWeekend and recognizing how much getting help from Mobile Monday and Open Party was critical, I created the linkedin group "Beijing Grassroot Tech Event Organizers" and we had 1 meeting gathering Startup weekend, TEDx, iWeekend (of course) and other people who were interested in helping out. It was great but we didnt kept it going. Maybe it is start to revamp the movement. And to cooperate beyond Beijing.
How Beijing and Shanghai communities connect
A few tech people do the travel regularly between the 2 cities (Frank Yu, Leo Wang and Lu Gang for instance).??Some even lived in both cities (Kai Lukoff).
These travelers keep the connections going between both tech communities and it is working. TechYizu takes care of not organizing major events at the same time than Beijing ones.
And I had to go in Shanghai to get the latest news about my Beijing colleague??(and well-startup-connected)??Duncan Leung 🙂 Funny feelings hey!
But maybe it is time to create an official alliance among community builders. Something we would call "Grassroot Tech China" or something. A brand, a visual that could help identify non-profit tech startup passionates who work together and work in an open and transparent way. That could be the next step for BJ and SHG communities.