Here’s what happened on our first day in Shenzhen.
We all woke up bright and early and had breakfast together which allowed us to learn more about each other. We also discussed our expectations and the challenges we might face.
Thanks to our supervisors, we also got to understand what to expect from Shenzhen’s transporation system and most importantly x.factory, a maker hub with open technologies at its center.
At 8:30AM, we met in the lobby and made our way over there. In the metro, we could sense that everybody was super excited to get started and learn more about the hardware startup ecosystem in Shenzhen.
As soon as we arrived, we spent the morning discovering this dynamic makerspace and the ressources we would have at our disposal to create several functional prototypes.
Most importantly, we met the team who would be supporting us for the next two weeks. This team of superstars is composed of Violet, Kay and Alison who were also excited to learn more about us and our products. With their help, all teams set up their workspace and got to work.
Before going into details about what we did, let’s learn a little more about xFactory and the neighborhood we are working from. First, it’s good to know that the makerspace is located a little less than an hour away from the center of Shenzhen and the easiest way to get there is by metro and walking for a few minutes.
x.factory is actually based in Cloud City, a brand new neighborhood with a “Design Commune” at it’s heart.
Cloud City is a neighborhood being developed by Vanke, China’s second largest real estate developer. The commune we are working from is one of the first buildings that is fully functional in Cloud City. Cloud City is being built to attract talent and potential partners from other parts of the world. The main purpose is to inspire Chinese entrepreneurs in the Shenzhen area by showcasing innovative ideas developed elsewhere. For the CHIC team, this means that we get to show-off all the hard work we did over the past months and get unique insights from all types of entrepreneurs working in various industries and people who have a lot of experience in hardware development.
Now let’s talk a bit more about what we accomplished on our first day. After the amazing tour of the facilities led by Violet & Alison, we settled in our dedicated workspace right next to other Chinese entrepreneurs.
We were more than happy to realize that all our needs for the next two weeks were covered from good food to all the essential machines to create our prototypes. The best thing about being here is that we can finally work with a real startup mindset.
Our first activity consisted in fixing our plan, our priorities and finding alternatives to possible problems we could face in our project. Then, we got to work! Each team had a brefing with supervisors from ECAL & HEAD who gave us useful design directions to start iterating our products. Business students sat down with Marc to get useful insights on how to conduct market research in China and how to best prepare our team for the challenges ahead. Engineers on the other side got to work on the the prototype, finalizing the PCBs and working on sourcing key components.
At the end of the day, all teams had defined their priorities for the coming 10 days and developed their own system to manage their product development process. We are happy to say that it was good start and are hopeful to be able to create and showcase a product that works.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Seeed Studio & x.factory for the great working conditions and enabling us to achieve our goals as a potential hardware startup.
Stay tuned for our daily blog posts!
Tim & Vignesh