Ten startups to participate in inaugural China Venture Workshop

By MIT-CFC•11 Apr, 2018

Companies with a focus on urban innovation look to pilot their technologies this summer in a new market


MIT-Tsinghua Future City Innovation Connector (FCIC) and DesignX are excited to announce the inaugural cohort of the China Venture Workshop. These ten urban innovation startups will be embarking on an intensive two-week trek to a selection of Chinese cities over the summer to meet with industry-leading corporations and develop pilot projects to test out their ideas in the real world. During the two months before their trip abroad, the teams will participate in tailor-made workshops to help them enter and navigate the market in China.

This year's cohort includes:

Gaia Elements


Led by MIT engineers and computer scientists, Gaia Elements’ goal is to develop an autonomous kite power system that represents the future of wind energy. Leveraging their licensing rights on a NASA patent related to the control and tracking of tethered UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), the team is working to launch the business in China, the world’s biggest market for clean energy with considerable resources for hardware manufacturing.

Biobot Analytics


Biobot analyzes city sewage to estimate consumption of opioids and other drugs and provide anonymized real-time public health data to local governments. The team began as research collaborators at MIT, and have completed proof-of-concept experiments in the Boston area, Kuwait City, and Seoul. This Y-Combinator-backed venture is planning to tackle public health challenges and identify potential pilot deployment opportunities in China.

Roots Studio


Roots Studio digitizes the creative content of traditional artists from remote areas around the world and connects them to the $32-billion global art, interior decor, and design licensing markets. The team has a diverse set of skills and experiences, including expertise in art business, e-commerce, fashion technology, and textile designers. Through the China Venture Workshop, Roots Studio seeks to work with industry partners to navigate the China market and connect with artists as well as customers in the country.



Multimer is an NYC-based MIT spin-off that helps organizations quantify population sentiment in any given space -- outdoor, indoor, or even virtual. Led by a pair of experienced and award-winning co-founders, Multimer offers products to measure, monitor, visualize, and analyze biometric data at large scales. The team has partnered with a variety of organizations prior to joining the China Venture Workshop, including UN-Habitat, Harley-Davidson, and IBM. Multimer has some ties in the China market, and is interested in developing a project there given the immense interest in urban development.



Built on postdoc research done at MIT by its founders, AdaViv aims to be the leader in sustainable indoor agriculture using innovative intelligent crop technologies. Combining knowledge areas in sensor technology, machine learning, and plant physiology, AdaViv will be focusing on high-value crop markets in greenhouses in China like ginseng and goji. Through the China Venture Workshop, the team hopes to secure partnerships to make progress toward a pilot project and a greater understanding of the $25-billion herbal medicine market in China.



Kawsay connects people with micro infrastructure providers through an integrated planning strategy. Leveraging both high-tech and traditional face-to-face data collection methods, Kawsay provides metropolitan-scale urban growth forecasting with household-level detail. With experience in architecture, planning, and machine learning, the team was originally founded in 2016 to help a local NGO in Lima improve their water delivery system. Participation in the China Venture Workshop will help the team understand a new potential market that is a world leader in urban development and innovation.

Shurong Data


Founded by a team of urban planning and systems design students, Shurong Data is an integrated platform that uses advanced urban data and modelling research methodologies to solve urban challenges in large cities. Focusing on urban data fusion, the platform provides services such as behavior chain analysis and spatial-temporal models to service commercial real estate and urban planning.



Constructure is an innovative digital platform that matches different actors in the construction industry in Chinese cities. The platform aims to increase transparency in the industry by providing relevant information on employers to potential employees and vice-versa. The team has completed a prototype and will be looking to the China Venture Workshop for support to roll it in the summer.



Founded by a team of MIT students in urban planning and computer science, CitoryTech focuses on technologies in data mining and artificial intelligence to improve human interactions with the physical environment. The tool encourages individuals to take leisurely untargeted trips through discovering live events around them and check out points of interest in the city. Unlike traditional navigation apps, CitoryTech wants to cultivate the spirit of exploration and deliver a fresh way of knowledge organization and distribution.



VThree.AI is an artificial intelligence-as-a-service company that empowers smart buildings and smart urban life. Led by a team of AI researchers and enthusiasts, the company is focusing its first efforts on the problem of energy waste in cities by monitoring and identifying "top waster" devices and rooms in buildings. Enabled by deep learning algorithms and proprietary hardware, VThree.AI hopes to work with partners through the China Venture Workshop to pilot their core technologies in office buildings in China.