“I couldn’t sleep last night, so I spent the whole night thinking of how to best pitch our product at Global Demo Day. We want to show the world how meaningful and useful Skyline is. We’ve created fun apps in the past, but it’s time for us to do something meaningful for the business community.” –Hai Hu, PhD, Co-Founder of Skyline
Spending sleepless nights pondering the fate of their projects is the norm for developers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Passion does that to you! At AngelHack, we see this passion every day as we talk to our HACKcelerator teams. The struggle is real – we know it’s not easy to keep the fire going when you’re one startup among hundreds of thousands, hustling to get your moment to shine. But with Skyline, their time to shine is finally here.
Skyline, one of our HACKcelerator teams, has built a light Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system designed to target small and medium enterprises that can’t afford the pricier, higher-end IBM and Oracle e-business solutions. The app, available on both mobile and web platforms, combines instant messaging, resource management, and data analytics to create customizable business workflows and tasks on a user-friendly platform.
Tasks can be reviewed and even approved on the go, and employees can easily pitch in their feedback and comments through the in-app instant messaging platform, Slack-style. Designed to fit the fast pace, diverse work environment that shapes most businesses today, you can think of Skyline as your office, on your phone – accessible anytime, anywhere.
Skyline is the creative work of Hai Hu, Jiang Changhai, and Huang Junliang, grand prize winners of our Fall 2013 Beijing hackathon, which birthed 26 different projects. Hai Hu and Jiang Changhai, both PhD holders with families to feed, have still found time to dedicate to their passion for creating apps that simplify people’s lives – be it in gaming, business, or lifestyle. They’ve been successful in the past, having built Guide for DotA, a gaming guide for the popular Defense of the Ancients game, as well as Measure the World, an app that lets users analyze the dimensions of any object captured on an iOS camera. Both apps have received thousands of downloads, generating a lot of interest worldwide.
Hai, Jiang, and Huang have since dedicated all their time towards perfecting Skyline. They currently have a customer base in Beijing, where they reside, but are looking to expand into the North American market in the coming months. The two founders have even hinted towards providing the product free of charge for their first North American client, so get on it guys!
When asked about what inspired their product, the three co-founders explained: “We look at apps like WhatsApp and WeChat, and wonder why these can’t be used to conduct business. The slow email and [Microsoft] Office dependent generation has to change.” And it is changing, guys. The ease with which Skyline allows business people to manage and handle their work online and on the go represents a trend towards simplicity – in both large corporations and SME’s.
Hai also explained how his brief encounters with Airbnb’s CTO and cofounder, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, inspired him to stay focused on Skyline and battle through the hardships that come with being an entrepreneur. In late 2012, Hai was invited to a host family party organized by Airbnb. To his surprise, Nathan was also there, and Hai wasted no time in approaching the esteemed CTO and asking for his entrepreneurial advice, with regards to focusing on product development while making ends meat. Nathan kindly shared his own experience of when he first started Airbnb (pre-Y Combinator period) as he had also struggled between survival and product development. His advice to Hai was to really focus on the product for at least 3 months, and quit all consulting jobs during this period, as the cofounder had done.
About a year later, Phil Libin went to Beijing to celebrate the first anniversary of Yinxiangbiji, Evernote’s Chinese brand. Hai was lucky enough to attend the party and talk to Phil. He showed him Skyline’s progression at the time and asked for his advice. Phil essentially gave the same advice as Nathan, urging the team to focus on their product and make meaningful, weekly progress, for investment and employees to follow. Hai took this advice to heart and has used it, along with both Airbnb’s and Evernote’s inspirational stories on how they made it big, as an anchor to keep the team going whenever times got rough.
Can we help them out? Remember, they’re gonna give the first US product away FOR FREE. Get Skyline here.