PaperclipHK’s Deepak Madnani Opens Hong Kong’s First Startup Academy/Co-Workspace in Sheung Wan

With Hong Kong’s first Startup Grind on tomorrow at Paperclip, we went by the new co-work space and academy to chat with founder Deepak Madnani.

By taking a leaf from Steve Blank and Eric Ries’ book, the heart of Paperclip is in the academy, and courses will be drawn from the methodologies behind the lean startup movement. For those unfamiliar with the lean startup principles, it encourages entrepreneurs to get comfortable with failure and stresses the importance of always innovating and iterating. While great execution is what brings an idea to life, the lean startup way suggests that experimentation vs. elaborate planning can actually make starting a company less risky.

“It’s efficient, we’re building scale into the system from the very beginning and we’re forcing the entrepreneur to do their homework,” said Deepak. “At the end of the day, we want to extract value and you need an entrepreneur to teach [lean startups], someone who’s been through the learning curve.”

As a serial entrepreneur that has experienced the highs and lows of startup life, Deepak wants to help empower, educate and equip new founders with workshops run in conjunction with VCs, angels, incubators, and government-led initiatives that support innovation. Essentially, Paperclip wants to collaborate with any entity that feeds into Hong Kong’s ecosystem to create a startup campus. “It’s not about Paperclip – it’s about the startups and I’ve designed this with the ecosystem in mind,” said Deepak. “How can I add value to places such as Cyberport? I need their space and their resources and we can do joint events – it’s such a win-win.”

Having just launched in December, work on Paperclip is just getting started, but Deepak reveals that his plans for his latest venture is focused on new markets that need startup education the most. “I want to take this model global, but I’m not so keen on Europe and America because it’s so developed,” he said. “Let’s take this to China, India, Africa and The Middle East where something like this will be really powerful and impactful.”

As for Paperclip the Hong Kong edition, Deepak is as invested as they come. After having frustrating run-ins with Hong Kong rental limitations (not being able to renovate the way you want, two year lease restriction), he decided to purchase the 5,000-square-foot space located in the heart of Sheung Wan to build Paperclip the way he sees fit.

And from what we’ve seen, it’s a beautifully designed addition to Sheung Wan’s startup zone which has been dubbed “the new Central,” or as Deepak would say: “Silicon Sheung Wan.”

Take a peek at the space in this quick tour of Paperclip with Deepak.

Deepak Madnani on Startbase.HK: Deepak Madnani
Paperclip on Startbase.HK: PaperclipHK

Open Data Hong Kong Co-founder Mart Van de Ven Explains What Open Data is and Why It Matters

Meet Mart Van de Ven: programmer by trade, instructor at General Assembly and one half of the co-founding duo behind Open Data Hong Kong (ODHK).

As an ambassador for Open Knowledge Foundation, a non-profit based in the UK that promotes open content and open data, Mart’s quest in Hong Kong is to develop a local community that’s passionate about the Open Data movement. Ever since meeting co-founder Douglas Wai-Chung Bastien at Bar Camp in February of last year, the two have been building momentum in the local community through tri-weekly meetups and civic hackathons.

For those unsure why Open Data matters, Mart lends an analogy. As he went to university in Hong Kong, he noticed that sharing his notes with his classmates was met with bewilderment. To these local students, sharing something that would give you a competitive advantage was unheard of – even if it would result in a greater good.
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It’s All About the Bitcoins: Another Tech Startup Investment for Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing

Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, knows what the future looks like: virtual currency.

Having backed a number of tech startups early in the game via Horizons Ventures – like a small site called Facebook, Summly, Waze and that Facebook comic strip app Bitstrips, it’s obvious that Li has uncanny foresight when it comes to doling out investment dollars.

One golden example is when Li invested in Facebook back in 2007, when the social network was just three years old. Another is when he invested in money-losing Skype in 2005, years before Microsoft acquired it for $8.5 billion. Or Siri in 2009, a year before Apple bought the voice-controlled personal assistant. The list goes on.

Li’s latest investment is in BitPay – a virtual currency service that acts as an intermediary for merchants selling a product, and buyers using Bitcoin. In simpler words, it’s likened to a “PayPal for Bitcoins.”
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Iris Capital’s Nicolas du Cray Talks About China’s Ecosystem and Gives Advice To Hong Kong Startups

NicolasHaving lived and worked in Beijing’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for 11 years, investor Nicolas du Cray is no stranger to the Chinese startup scene.

As a venture partner at Iris Capital (a Parisian VC firm that has opened an office in Beijing in 2012), Nicolas is deeply involved in backing growth-stage tech companies within the Greater China region.

As a quick back story: when Orange (a pan-European telecom company) and Publicis Groupe (a global PR and advertising firm) decided to go the venture capital route, they asked Iris Capital to manage their international fund – and that’s when Nicolas joined their new office as a venture partner.

In his journey through China’s startup landscape in the past decade, Nicolas speaks volumes about the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. “China is a place that surprises you every day, even if you’ve been living here for 11 years,” said Nicolas. “And the same goes for the people here: Chinese people have the capacity to adapt to change, and that really impresses me.”
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Hong Kong-Based Wearable Tech Startup Building A Lightweight Smart Wristband With Long Battery Life

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Healthcare tech has been getting a facelift as the wearables space teems with competition. Seasoned players and startup companies alike are all tinkering away in their shops to reiterate what’s already on the market, or have been innovating to bring something new to the table.

The latest to hit the scene via Indiegogo is ERI: a new lightweight fitness tracker with an unnaturally long battery life – you only need to charge it twice a month. We met up with Jimmy Liao, co-founder and CEO of Digi-Care, the Hong Kong-based company behind ERI, and he told StartupsHK about his passion for consumer products.

“I studied High Polymer Materials and Engineering at the Harbin University of Science and Technology,” said Jimmy. “The school was working in cooperation with the military so all of my classmates either went on to do research for the army or work for the government.” Despite the conventional path of all of his classmates, Jimmy said that he’s always known he’s wanted to use technology to improve the lives of people, and was the only one in his class to go rogue and work on consumer products.
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Hong Kong’s First Google Digicamp at ArtisTree

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ArtisTree hosted Hong Kong’s first ever Google DigiCamp on Wednesday.

If you’re having trouble visualizing this, think 20,000 square feet of sensory overload: larger than life 3D brand logos (YouTube, Maps, Google+ etc.), mounted TV screens with real-time product demonstrations, projections of interactive games on the walls and of course, a giant domed Android head in the corner.

Basically, it was the amusement park equivalent for Google fans where attendees gave new and existing Google tools a whirl. In the Android corner, the delicious mascot KitKat stood next to fans eagerly waiting to design their own Androidify character for customized tote bags. At the interactive games wall, attendees got to simulate the Google Maps experience by using their body to navigate through the streets of Hong Kong, while others tried out the skydiving emulator; both were created exclusively for DigiCamp.
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Meet Kitchen Sync, A Culinary Incubator For Food Startups

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If you’re new to the food business in Hong Kong, you probably find the sky-high costs of setting up a commercially licensed kitchen daunting to say the least. If you’re a small food entrepreneur, shelling out HK$1million for a food factory license is a less than ideal roadblock. So what’s a young upstart looking to make their mark in Hong Kong’s food scene to do?

For starters, they should meet Kitchen Sync, a culinary incubator created by Lori and Patrick Granito – a pair of local restaurant industry veterans. Likely the first of its kind in Asia, Kitchen Sync is a shared space in support of artisanal and ethnic foodpreneurs looking to create, perfect and test run their product in a professional kitchen.

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Tipping Point Conference Speakers Say Collaboration is Essential to Hong Kong’s Future in Innovation

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Concerned about the future of Hong Kong’s ecosystem, the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong (BPF) gathered thought leaders, investors, and supporters of innovation alike to brainstorm solutions at the Tipping Point conference on Friday.

We had the opportunity to chat with keynote speakers Professor Gordon Redding (Senior Fellow at INSEAD and a specialist in the comparison of capitalist systems) and Dr. Po Chi Wu (An Adjunct Professor and initiator of entrepreneurship and innovation programs at HKUST), and they toldStartupsHK their thoughts on the conference and the future of innovation in Hong Kong.

According to Professor Redding, who founded and directed the University of Hong Kong’s business school, Hong Kong is in a rare position that other Asian countries are not privy to, and the Tipping Point conference is exemplary of this advantage.

“This is an example of civil society in action, which is not possible in a lot of places in Asia,” observes Professor Redding. “It’s a very distinct formula for gathering momentum and instituting adaptation and change.” Since Tipping Point was organized, funded and run by the world of business, essentially a group of people who are worried their society’s future; this in turn created a “by the people, for the people” effect.

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Canadian Project The Chime Turns the Apathy of Big City Noise into Harmonic Music

Having just graduated its very first cohort of students in Digital Futures—a graduate program which is an intersection between art, design, technology and entrepreneurship—the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) has been developing the next generation of technologically-aware artists.

Recent grad and creative technologist Marc De Pape is a shining example. With a background that refuses to be pigeonholed, Marc is part designer, producer, musician and technologist, which contributed to his MDes thesis project “The Chime: Scoring the City,” a sensor-laden data recorder that churns ambient city activity into musical performances. Besides being on display at OCAD’s Graduate Gallery, The Chime has made guest appearances throughout the city, including highly trafficked tourist zone Nathan Philip Square and in the hustle bustle of the Financial District.

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The Mobile Applications Lab is Canada’s First Laboratory for Mobile App Development

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With Apple recently signing a $30 million deal for an iPad rollout in Los Angeles public schools, it’s evident that we’ll be seeing a lot more of mobile in our classrooms.

The University of Toronto is also actively acknowledging the prevalence of EdTech, as its engineering department houses The Mobile Applications Lab, Canada’s first lab space for mobile application development. Launched in late 2011 by a pair of professors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, The APL is a space for undergraduate and Master’s students to collaborate on design and thesis projects in both iOS and Android.

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