New Chinese Bike-Sharing Startup Ubike Raises US$22 Million To Join Heated Market

Ubike raises US$22 Million

After two Chinese bike-sharing startups Ofo and Mobike raised a combined US$230 million in October, a third bike-sharing startup is now joining the bike-sharing bandwagon. Shanghai-based bike maker and bike-sharing app, Ubike has raised RMB150 million (an approximate US$22 billion) in its series A funding round to up its game.

The funding was led by a unit of Shenzhen-listed chemicals and trading firm – Jiangsu Huaxicun Co Ltd. While other companies that have also participated in the round include Black Hole Capital, Yicun Capital and existing investor Zhonglu Capital among others.

With the funds, Ubike plans to improve its bicycles’ design and quality to rival its competitors. The company claims that their bikes will be sturdier and easier to ride as a result of their partnership with Shanghai’s Yongjiu Group, one of China’s known pioneer in bicycle-making.

Besides, additional capitals will also be used to produce more bikes with a targeted goal of 100,000 bikes to be placed in Shanghai and other bigger cities as well. Mobike which was launched in December 2015 has 30,000 bikes in Shanghai while Ofo has 70,000 bikes in its bike-sharing platforms, reports said.

Last September, Ubike has raised up to RMB10 million (approximately US$1.6 million) in an angel round backed by Zhonglu capital. The company is also said to be launching its product officially in Shanghai, this November.

With this, the bike-sharing market in China has now becomes a three-way competition between Ofo, Mobike and Ubike. But nevertheless, with bike-sharing gaining popularity and developing fast in many cities in China, users will definitely benefit from it, particularly the young city dwellers.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

ToneTree Launches Kickstarter For OAK, An Augmented Reality Playground For iPhones

ToneTree Launches Kickstarter for OAK

ToneTree is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its OAK augmented reality playground system. The ToneTree OAK dock is an Augmented Reality platform that can transform an iPhone into a table top playspace.

To work, the product brings together digital and physical toys to create an AR experience. Using it is simple, just place an iPhone on the OAK Dock, launch the OAK App, pick up an OAK Kit, and play.

OAK comes with a variety of kits that allows users to immerse themselves in AR experiences, whether it is flying through space, playing music or even to create a personal application. To date, there are four available OAK kits which are the Rockstar Kit, Explorer Kit, Gamer Kit and Developer Kit.

The Rockstar Kit allows the user to break into a jam session anywhere by simply placing the included pads down in front of OAK and play the instrument. While the Gamer Kit transforms the table into a battlefield as users can see their AR trading cards come to life as they place them in front of the OAK deck.

On the other hand, the Explorer Kit allows the user to drive their own toy spaceship to dodge asteroids and battle enemies as they explore the deep space. While the Developer Kit lets users create their own augmented reality apps.

Similar to the Osmo apps on the iPad, OAK uses patented computer vision technology to see and understand the space in front of your iPhone. The items included in the kits are called totems which are simple pads, cards, and plastic toys that OAK uses to control the virtual world. To detect movements, OAK also includes a laser in its base that detects when the user is interacting with totems.

Based in California, ToneTree is founded by Brian Cook, CEO; Ronald Sardarian, CTO; and Max Escaler, CMO from three different countries who roomed together at Rensselær Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Their idea – OAK came to life through an art project whereby the original idea was to turn the walls and floors of a building into an augmented reality musical instrument.

The team went through an accelerator program led by Intel Education. OAK will ship in August 2017.

For more information, please visit the OAK project at Kickstarter.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media