By Dr. Geoffrey Bell, Associate Professor, MS Shanghai China campus
On March 15th, 2014 Dr. Geoffrey Bell—Associate Professor in the Shanghai MS-EM program brought his students to Chinaccelerator (a member of the Global Accelerator Network), which is the first mentorship-driven seed funding program in China. The event showcased 10 successful entrepreneurs who spoke for 10 minutes each (“10 x 10”) with several elevator pitches interspersed between the presentations. The event included IT/media professionals such as David Li from the Xinchejian Hacker space, Stephen Wang at Rotten Tomatoes and Gang Lu from TechCrunch Asia. Students listened to stories about the successes and failures of running start-up companies in the emergent media industry.
The 10 x 10 Chinaccelerator program was a great opportunity for students to experience first-hand how companies and start-ups pitch innovative ideas to secure financing and partnerships. This event directly relates to the MS students’ course work—EMM585 Media for Social Innovation, as they are in the process of developing their own innovative products and learning how to write a business portfolio to launch their own project. The event demonstrated how the theoretical approaches discussed over the spring semester connects to real world and practical activities. Students literally perform the same activities in the spring semester, like pitching and presenting, developing strategic relationships, researching the market and presenting conceptual ideas to gain funding or support.
“The accelerator program is committed to helping entrepreneurs who are innovating at the cutting-edge of information technology to create successful, scalable and investable start-up companies. Participating in Chinaccelerator gives startups enormous validation and access to the best, brightest, most experienced network of mentors which will be with them to help curate and cultivate every aspect of their business. The program also provides the chance to pitch early stage investors during the Beijing Demo Day, where the founders will take their products live and graduate through to being ready to raise money on a larger scale.”
Dr. Geoffrey Bell is a media and communications scholar, artist and designer who combines emerging technologies with traditional media. Bell’s work has been presented at Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology, Bap Lab Festival in New York City, The DC Arts Center in Washington D.C. and various festivals and group shows in Europe and Asia. His artistic projects include multimedia theatrical productions, interactive video installation and experimental animation. As a designer, he has worked for a variety of clients including MTV.com, Internationally acclaimed cartoonist Ted Rall, and various NYC entrepreneurs. His forthcoming book, On Techne of Authority: Political Economy in a Digital Age will be published by Atropos Press in fall 2013.