While Shanghai sits firmly at the forefront of China’s development when it comes to the economy, it isn’t traditionally known for its innovation. However, a young company of entrepreneurs—led by a member of “Silicon Valley royalty”—is making waves in mobile app technology right here in our city. HVF (Hard, Valuable, Fun) was set up by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin—co-founder and former CTO of PayPal—earlier this year, and aims to promote and develop apps that gather and analyze user data from smartphones. HVF is registered and headquartered in California, but Max decided to base the R&D facility in Shanghai to leverage the technological talent pool coming out of the city’s top universities.
The team on the ground is headed up by Michael Huang (co-founder and CEO), Kevin Ho (co-founder and Head of Product) and Ryan Ye (co-founder and Head of Technology), and includes three permanent staff members who work on coding. When we visited the HVF office in late July, co-founder and Head of Business Chris Martinez was visiting from San Francisco. Huang, Ho and Ye are old colleagues from their time working with Levchin at Slide—a personal media-sharing service for social networking sites that was bought out by Google in 2010. Martinez joined the team after graduating from Stanford Business School.
Max Levchin demos Glow at the D11 Conference
During his keynote speech at the DLD13 conference in Munich in January, Levchin explained the ethos behind HVF: “At PayPal, where I was the CTO, we succeeded because we gained a deep understanding of the immense quantities of behavioral data that we captured in processing millions of transactions per day. We learned so much about our customers that we could predict their intentions, and prevent the vast majority of intentional fraud. At HVF, the project I began in 2011, we seek to create businesses that improve the analog, real world through deep understanding of data.”
The Glow App launches this August on iTunes
Glow offers a communal fund for fertility testing in exchange for user-data
“The interface is well done—silky smooth and intuitive. I have never seen something like this before ... The next step would be to make this bi-directional,” he suggests. “The patient can submit their data to [the doctor]; [the doctor] can reply with instructions for next month—a medication calendar, or timing of intercourse, etc.”
The HVF team in their People's Square office
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Hey Max, Mike, Kevin, Ryan,
Good luck with the tech startup game - especially with the many SOEs controlling those "big data"! Unless there are some princeling(s) investors that likes it "hard", "fun" and "valueable". Then ref to Mark Kitto's experiences. ;)
In the photo, the "G" for Glow on his shirt looks like it could be a twisted "b".... blow!
I thought mobile phone emissions are not supposed to be good for fertility.
We really really need to tweak insurance rates though. It would be so helpful for society as a whole.
Re mobile device's electro-magnetic (EM) emissions (light emissions is just not good for cinemas and eyes :)) affect on fertility, it depends on where the said device is placed in proximity to. A slight zap occasionally won't matter much to a healthy person. :) I for one, carry my phone at my waist with a belt clip; No intention to carrying a "san zhai" phone in my pants pockets (too near my gonads ;)), especially knowing that most san zhai companies don't bother to test + pass the international standards certification on EM outputs.
Any smart consumers still bother to test their phone with the classic "paperclip" test?
That international standard evolved for many years to protect consumers (fertility and other faculties). I recall the old Motorola STARTec phones (circa late 90s for the youngsters) to be a great paperclip pick-me-up. :)
For fun, if there's a "blow", it probably rules out any chance of a "Glow". ;)
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