For digital and tech startups looking for a home, Cyberport has just opened the doors to its new co-working space.
The 27,000 square feet Smart-Space 3F is a stunning government facility that has the capability of housing 134 startups. Smart-Space 3F has 46 offices ranging from 2-12 person occupancy, 32 flexi-spaces (hot desks) and 24 work stations (dedicated desks).
Besides boasting a panoramic sea view, 3F’s affordable prices are another attractive feature. Two-seater offices go for HK $5,000/month, larger offices average $2,500/month per room seat (depending on size), dedicated desks are at $1,500/month while hot desks will only set tenants back $800/month.
“It’s ideal for a very, very early stage startup. Local startups and overseas entry companies are our target markets,” said Cyberport’s COO Mark Clift. “Overseas companies want to expand to Asia and they’re attracted by the China market. For a lot of companies, it’s difficult because they don’t understand China and they’re weary of long term commitments – so the flexi-space gives them a good entry point.”
Despite being one of the most densely populated places in the world, with 6,650 people crammed into one square kilometer, most Hong Kongers can attest to not knowing their neighbors.
MyFlat.HK, Hong Kong’s neighborhood social network, wants to change all that. As a location-based platform that allows users to connect with nearby neighbors and businesses, MyFlat.HK is a step above other social networks as it aims to connect people in person.
According to co-founder and CEO Matthew Tam, his startup has not only pulled in 3,000 registered users to date, but they’re also running two pilot programs to jumpstart two Hong Kong communities.
Their first plan of attack is to unite the student population in Hong Kong across six universities (HKU, HKUST, CUHK, BU, CityU and PolyU) and the MyFlat.HK platform will serve as a virtual bulletin board. “Most of those residential halls are managed by student unions, so we would expect students living in the same building to know each other,” said Matthew. “The need might not be there for people to connect within one building, so each university is going to be one neighborhood.”
Following homegrown startup Divide’s recent Google acquisition, we’re convinced that enterprise tech is a space more startups should be paying attention to.
According to startup mentor Trey Zagante, the enterprise tech market is in investment terms, double the size of the more favored consumer tech market and has made up for 80% last year’s largest tech IPOs. Besides mentoring startups in the Melbourne-based Founder Institute and early stage accelerator AngelCube, Trey is also the founder of a newly launched accelerator program called Venturetec.
As the first enterprise tech-focused program for Asia-Pacific, Venturetec offers startups up to HKD $1 million in seed investment, access to Fortune 500 customers, office space in both Australia and Hong Kong and the opportunity to meet US and APAC investors. Diverging from the traditional ‘three-month and demo day’ accelerator model, Venturetec runs a six-month structured program, drawing from lean startup teachings, which is followed by an additional half year of ongoing support.Visit their website for more program details.
As many American startups have made the move to Asia, the western VC model of ‘entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs’ has also followed.
Monk’s Hill Ventures, a newly launched VC fund, plans on investing US $80 million into tech startups all across the APAC region at the Series A and B level. Besides being led by a team of veteran entrepreneurs who have built and backed startups in Silicon Valley and Asia, Monk’s Hill is also a VC fund based in South East Asia (with offices in Singapore and Jakarta), which is still a new concept in the region.
We had a chat with managing director Peng T. Ong to find out more about this innovative new fund and the gaps it hopes to fill.
“South East Asia is 600 million people. It’s only small compared to China or India – so we wanted to fill this gap,” he said. “Another thing we realized was missing is what you call ‘entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs. I’ve spent 12 years in the Valley and the big thing there was experienced people helping the next generation.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Having 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.”
This article was first published on StartupsHK.com
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.
This article was first posted on StartupsHK.com
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.