Hong Kong is one of the world’s premier financial hubs with a truly international citizenry. Its emerging startup ecosystem has a strong community identity — in part due to StartupsHK — and has access to tremendous government support through initiatives like the Cyberport and InvestHK. Given Hong Kong’s significant financial sector and high number of wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs have reasonable access to capital which attracts startups throughout Asia. Still, the city is a small market so most startups must immediately scale internationally. And finding talent can be difficult, as the population tends to be risk-averse with many talented students preferring secure jobs with established businesses. Hong Kong’s proximity and ties to China is a mixed opportunity; while the city is a great base of operations for entrepreneurs interested in the massive Chinese market, recent protests and political unrest are an x-factor going forward.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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Up and coming startup
Up and coming startup
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Jon Buford, Daniel Cheng, Casey Lau and Gene Soo co-founded StartupsHK in 2009. Since then, it has become a major lynchpin in the Hong Kong tech community, convening and organizing the city’s entrepreneurs. The scale of HK’s startup ecosystem today is due in no small part to StartupsHK’s efforts, work that continues to bring entrepreneurs together.
Li Ka-Shing is one of the world’s wealthiest billionaires and perhaps the most respected business figure in Hong Kong. He is a major player in Hong Kong’s VC network, leading Horizons Ventures. Horizons’ reputation was cemented by its investments in successes like Facebook and Spotify.
David Chung currently serves as Chief Technology Officer at Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, a government owned organization designed to strengthen the city’s tech industry by providing support for entrepreneurs. David also serves as a mentor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
Ted Lai is a veteran of the television industry, having helped lead Time Warner and the BBC’s programming in East Asia. He currently serves as Co-Founder at AngelVest, a network of angel investors centered in East China.
Simon Squibb’s NEST Investments is a major Hong Kong incubator. In addition to founding NEST, Simon also established Fluid, one of the city’s top creative agencies. As such, NEST’s investment portfolio is backed by Simon’s considerable marketing acumen.
Melissa Guzy is a longtime venture capitalist with extensive experience investing in technology in East Asia. Prior to founding Arbor Ventures, a firm headquartered in Hong Kong focused on East Asia, she helped lead VantagePoint Venture Partners’ investments in the region.
Theodore Ma is an entrepreneur who leads CoCoon, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent co-working spaces. Since its founding in 2012, CoCoon has been one of the most active players in growing the city’s entrepreneurial community and encouraging collaboration.
Deepak Madnani is a serial entrepreneur who founded PaperclipHK, a major co-working space in Hong Kong. PaperclipHK also features education for entrepreneurs, frequently hosting events on marketing, strategy and other useful subjects. His focus on environmental sustainability led him to found Sustasia.com and the Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong.
Andrea Livotto is an entrepreneur who co-founded Clarity Labs, Social Slides and Perpetu. Andrea helped lay the foundation for Hong Kong’s startup growth by organizing Startup Weekend Hong Kong, which has proven an invaluable resource for educating and connecting the city’s entrepreneurs.
Felix Lam is an entrepreneur and investor instrumental in constructing Hong Kong’s startup scene. He is deeply familiar with HK’s capital networks through his role as founder and Managing Director of Red Chapel Advisors and his involvement with Hong Kong’s branch of TiE, an entrepreneurial network, and the Hong Kong Business Angel Network.
During the peak of the dotcom era, Hong Kong saw a lot of startup activity, in part funded by Hong Kong's many banks. Following the bust, the startup community largely went into hibernation.1997 to 2001
Cyberport was created to facilitate the local economy by nurturing ICT industry startups and entrepreneurs, offering space and resources to the next generation of tech businesses.2002
The concept for BootHK was pitched at a local startup event, through which it received funding.2009
The Creative Micro Fund provides seed funding of HK$100,000 with a 6 month project period for creative and innovative startups still in their idea phase. This government funding initiative injects much-needed early-stage capital into the ecosystem.2009
With the goal of helping grow the startup community in Hong Kong – StartupsHK is now among the most influential startup organizations locally and regionally. It's seen significant success in uniting and promoting the startup community.December 2009
Nest has a perennial influence on Hong Kong startups, offering incubation and funding, and most recently a digital tool to help investors invest in startups.2011
Dim Sum Labs is a community maker and hacker space, offering space and events to engineers and developers.2011
Hong Kong startup 'Aftership' wins Startup Weekend's Global Startup Battle, beating out companies from over 50 other cities around the world. Winning required thousands of votes, and highlighted the ability for Hong Kong startups to leverage and excite the greater community.November 2011
Hong Kong's first dedicated startup campus uniquely combined a startup academy with coworking space. The academy focuses on lean startup methodologies and business model canvas tools to arm and educate entrepreneurs.December 2013
Alibaba announces the creation and major investment into its Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation. The nonprofit will offer seed funding, training, and technical assistance to selected start-ups as well as unique internships to 200 students each year.February 2015