Startup News & Analysis

Services marketplace startup CanYa selected for JD.com blockchain accelerator, hopes to build “entirely new venture” for the retailer

Dominic Powell /

Canya

The Canya Founders, JP Thorbjornsen, Kyle Hornberg, and Chris McLoughlin. Source: Supplied

Australian services marketplace startup CanYa has been accepted as one of the first six blockchain startups to be accepted into an accelerator program run by massive Chinese e-commerce company JD.com.

The accelerator will give the startup access to JD.com’s international business development team, business and marketing resources, and over 266 million customers. CanYa, which raised $12 million in Australia’s second-biggest initial coin offering (ICO) earlier this year, will be joined by fellow blockchain startups Bluzelle, Nuggets, Republic Protocol, Devery and Bankorus.

Speaking to StartupSmart, CanYa co-founder JP Thorbjornsen says the accelerator will offer CanYa a “clean slate” in terms of projects and concepts, with JD.com providing the resources for the startup to attempt any number of plans it can come up with to integrate its technology with the e-commerce giant.

“Rather than building its own cryptocurrency, JD.com decided to commit time and resources to the teams behind promising blockchain projects, and give them access and exposure to the JD.com platform,” Thorbjornsen says.

“We learnt of JD.com’s plans to spool up a blockchain accelerator through our advisory network, and to be even considered for it was exclusive and invite only. But we were well positioned through our advisors and we managed to pitch our concept to them.”

The startup is hoping to use JD.com’s Beijing headquarters as a base to springboard its platform’s launch into China, using JD.com’s business development and marketing team to ramp up exposure to CanYa’s offerings.

Thorbjornsen explains the team is also hoping to use JD.com’s userbase to implement a recommendation system to buyers of products that require installation, advising them of relevant services that might be needed alongside the purchase.

“Say someone purchases an IT system or a router or something of that nature, they might need someone to install that, and JD.com will recommend CanYa as a service provider,” Thorbjornsen says.

MTurk alternative, powered by CanYa

But the startup’s most ambitious vision for the accelerator is to work with JD.com to develop a service much like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), which provides an on-demand way for companies and users to crowdsource “microjobs”.

Thorbjornsen describes it as “JD.com services, powered by CanYa”, and says the project could be an entirely new venture for the massive Chinese player

“We want to create something similar to MTurk for JD.com, have JD.com offer a similar peer-to-peer services marketplace, powered by CanYa,” he says.

Looking at the massive potential for scaling laid out in front of the team, Thorbjornsen admits CanYa is moving “very fast”, and says the company has a lot of work to do to keep up with the pace it’s foreseeing.

“We’re very ambitious and motivated to continue accelerating the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, and we’ll tackle any challenge that comes our way. Partnering with one of the best and biggest players in the industry is not something we’re afraid of,” he says.

“To have a very large, NASDAQ-listed company support you is a huge validation of the company and business concept.”

CanYa begins the accelerator program in March.

NOW READ: CanYa develops own accounting software after finding itself in a compliance “hole”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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