Tech Start-ups in Hong Kong
I recently had the chance to visit Swire Properties‘ new Tech Accelerator for B2B Start-ups, called Blueprint.
Located in the Taikoo Place Commercial Complex in Quarry Bay, the accelerator program is designed for 10 exceptional start-ups concentrating on B2B tech development. The mentors are top-notch, prominent VCs, tech pioneers, creatives and executives who have deep experience in the Chinese market, a market that currently attracts many hopefuls globally. If you’re not a part of the winning batch, Blueprint also serves as a co-working and events space that start-up digerati and techies can rent out monthly.
Hong Kong was named last year by Forbes as the “#1 Tech Capital” to watch, due to its untapped potential, its interesting legal, channel and tax statuses, as well as some improved funding and structural developments that have come to light in the last few years. Historically, tech investment in Hong Kong has been paltry, amounting to about ~$10 million USD (rounded) in Hong Kong in 2014, though this amount has increased exponentially in the last couple years and did not include angel assistance or the fact that there are only about 320 start-ups registered in Hong Kong. Banks do not seem to contribute much to the tech funding in Asia, given P&L is still such a strong factor for any loans made.
Legendary Sequoia Capital recently pushed some money Hong Kong’s way for Series A funding (about $14 million USD), as well, Jack Ma of Alibaba has recently pledged to start an Alibaba Hong Kong Young Enterpreneurs Foundation, sourcing Hong Kong talent to help build innovative (caveat: Alibaba-friendly) e-commerce platforms. Still, if you compare this with the ~$37 billion USD invested in the United States towards start-ups in 2013 – which led to over 4,000 deals – Hong Kong is still playing catch up in a very depressing way.
With that said though, I do believe what’s on paper has only provided one side of the Hong Kong’s start-up story. In the 2 years I’ve been in here, I’ve seen a flurry of activity and no shortage of events, spaces and resources constantly popping up for tech entrepreneurs. I’ve met fresh talent coming from the tech capitals of the world looking to be the first cowboys in this uncontested “Digital Wild East.”
There’s definitely something special here for those interested in joining the fold.
Startmeup.hk: A Hong Kong government resource for start-ups in Hong Kong.
Co-working space hosting startups and events: The Hive, CoCoon
VC Tech Investors in HK: Red Chapel Advisors, 500 Startups, Arbor Ventures, Fresco Capital Advisors, Horizon Ventures
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