Mar 4, 2019

Chicago Preliminary Winner



In its 3rd year, InnoStars has proven to be an effective platform for connecting U.S. technology companies with prospective partners in China, including sales/distribution companies, corporates, universities, and/or investors. The judging panel includes a mix of Chinese executives based in the U.S. and U.S. executives with substantial business experience in China. This year’s Chicago judges will bring experience in Smart City and Smart Industry, whereas judges in other cities bring experience in other sectors.

The preliminary on March 4th is one of eight U.S. cities hosting the first round of the 2019 InnoSTARS competition, and the only city entirely focused on technologies with innovations that fit within the broad categories of ‘Smart City’ and ‘Smart Industry’. For City, we expect technology innovations that include: built environment, urban design, and environmental. For Industry, we expect technology innovations that include: process optimization, performance improvement, and environmental technologies. Underlying both City and Industry we expect innovations around IoT, AI, and network connectivity.

How much time will companies have to present?

Companies will have 10 minutes to present, which includes Q&A.

How companies are judged?

InnoSTARS judges in all cities are provided with a single scoring methodology that scores the competing U.S. technology companies on their ‘readiness’ for success in the China market.  Since ‘readiness’ is a relatively subjective measure, the U.S.-based and China-Based judges score the competing U.S. technology companies across 6 categories, including:

1) product/service fit for the targeted b2b or b2c consumer in China

2) business model fit for the market conditions in China

3) the team’s understanding of China and ability to do business there

4) market positioning vis-a-vis competition in China

5) financial resources to manage the China market

6) is the presentation/pitch professional and convincing. 

Ultimately, having an innovative solution is not enough. The companies with innovative solutions that show they are ready for the China market will move to later stages of the competition.

Who will be in the audience?

InnoSTARS 2019 Chicago Preliminary is an invite-only event. The guestlist/ audience will include judges, corporate and investment partners, technology companies, strategic partners, and supporting partners.

Why should companies compete?

InnoSTARS is a market readiness competition that offers an opportunity for innovative U.S. technology companies, across all industries, to demonstrate their readiness for the Chinese customer. Over 1,000 U.S. technology companies have now competed in InnoSTARS with over 200 companies scoring high enough to compete in the industry finals and finals in China. 


150 N. Riverside Plaza, #3000, Chicago


Smart City and Smart Industry

Energy | Information and Communication Technology | Materials | Advanced Manufacturing | Medical Device, Digital Health and Diagnosis | Environmental Technology | Biopharma

Applicants from other industries may apply but be invited to pitch in other InnoSTARS events.


March 3: 7:00 p.m. – Judges & Partners Dinner

March 4: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Smart Cities & Cocktail Reception

March 4th:

8:30AMRegistration and Networking
9:00AMWelcome Remarks
9:10AMTechnology Pitches A
10:15AMMorning Coffee Break
10:30AMTechnology Pitches B
12:00PMLunch Break
12:30PMChina Readiness Strategies: U.S. Dept of Commerce
1:00PMIoT Trends Presentation & Panel
2:00PMAfternoon Coffee Break I
2:15PMTechnology Pitches C
3:45PMAfternoon Coffee Break II
4:00PMTechnology Pitches D
5:00PMCocktail Reception


InnoSTARS judges are selected for their China experience in industries relevant to this competition, as well as their China business acumen.

Jim Hurd
Consultant at OneSight Eyeglasses
Bill Liu
Executive Director, Hurun Report
Shawn He
Multi-culture/-industry entrepreneur-innovator, partnership/alliance builder, educator/mentor
James (Jim) Reiman
Arbitrator | Mediator | Board Director | CEO (Retired) | Executive Educator
Jerry Strub
Global | Strategy | Growth | Consulting | VP | EVP | M&A | Interim CEO | B2B
Jonathan Egan
China Manufacturing & Egan’s Whiskey
Daniel Wang
CEO, Jexet Automation LLC
Dave Rank
Senior Advisor at The Cohen Group
Chris Wu
Associate at Impact Engine
John Hackett
China Market Entry Specialist
Mengmeng Fu
Managing Partner at Tamarack Advisory