We’re not done announcing our all-star lineup for Disrupt Beijing. In addition to top Chinese Internet names like Tencent co-founder and CEO Pony Ma, proven successes like YouTube’s Steve Chen and top up-and-coming Western names like Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka and Evernote’s Phil Libin, we’ve got even more startup experts lined up.
I’m thrilled to announce that Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom will be joining us in Bejing as well. As co-founder of Kazaa back in the Web 1.0 days, Zennstrom was on the bleeding edge of the peer-to-peer music revolution that helped make the Web cool. He followed that up with a wonky plan to leverage peer-to-peer technology to make cheap international phone calls that initially no one wanted to fund.
That idea would become Skype– a company that sold to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005, was bought back, and sold again to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Few entrepreneurs have managed to achieve multiple billion-dollar-or-more exits in their careers– fewer still have done it twice with the same company.
Skype is also one of the only Western Web companies of its generation to achieve huge success in China. Today, Zennstrom is interested in doing more investing in China through his London-based venture firm Atomico, so this is a keynote local Chinese entrepreneurs will not want to miss.
We’re also bringing Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom with us from the Valley. Instagram has been a runaway success locally and globally. On stage, Systrom will talk about the journey and what’s next for Instagram. Off-stage, he’ll be exploring China for the first time.
The scorchingly hot Jawbone has raised more than $100 million in funding in the last year and has some of the biggest names in the Valley behind it– from Andreessen Horowitz to Sequoia Capital. It has achieved something few Valley companies have in the last decade: Building a cutting edge hardware company. And Rahman couldn’t have done it without Chinese partnerships.
Similarly, Brian Lee’s ShoeDazzle has leveraged China’s supply chain prowess to invent a new, highly-lucrative business model for ecommerce. Lee and Rahman will tell us about their experiences doing business in the country, and why more Chinese entrepreneurs don’t exploit these endemic advantages to create their own branded, product companies.
Stay tuned for even more speaker announcements of this can’t-miss conference in coming weeks. As a reminder, tickets are on sale here now, and applications are still open for the startup battlefield and the hackathon. Thanks as always to our partners at Innovation Works, who are working hard to ensure the event’s success.
If you have any doubts about whether you want to apply or attend, I encourage you to watch the footage from last week’s stellar Disrupt San Francisco conference.