Where Business – and Dreams – Begin

The lineup of speakers who rocked the 2016 StartmeupHK Festival demonstrates InvestHK has something good on its hands: Cindy Chow, Executive Director of Alibaba Entrepreners Fund, Grace Xia from tech giant Tencent, Startup founders Eric Gnock Fah (Klook), Paul Tomes (PassKit), and Kevin Chan (Insight Robotics) all spoke at the StartmeupHK venture forum. Indiegogo director Ben Bateman, Synegia One CEO Fred Mouawad, and Scanadu’s CEO Walter de Brouwer also shared their insights at various conferences. Then there was that fellow who founded PayPal and Tesla, a certain Mr. Elon Musk…

InvestHK’s Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion Charles Ng, said that the StartmeupHK Festival aims at showcasing the dynamism and growth of Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem to both international and domestic audiences. Ng commented, “This unique Festival enables local and foreign entrepreneurs to share ideas and make invaluable connections for business opportunities and future collaboration. The Festival is part of InvestHK’s ongoing initiative to promote the city as one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in the world and attract overseas entrepreneurs and investors to discover the advantages of Hong Kong as the preferred destination for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Hong Kong is the super-connector – it’s the West’s gateway to China, China’s gateway to the West. No wonder entrepreneurs around the world are coming to this part of the world to realise their visions. As reported in a previous feature, Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem continues to boom and flourish: a 41 percent surge in startup employees, and an impressive 20+ percent rise in both the number of startup businesses and workstations. The city now hosts 1,926 startups and 5,229 men and women who represent the cutting edge of commerce.

Startups can’t flourish without funding, and here, thanks to the rise of angel investors, Asia’s top financial centre does not disappoint. “In Hong Kong, finding someone who is willing to invest US$200,000 in your start-up is not hard,” says Simon Squibb, Chief Executive of NEST Investments. “Hong Kong is good in the early stage of start-ups; set-up is cheap and if it succeeds, you want a good transparent system that allows you to do that.[1]

No shock then, that the festival will return in 2017. Slated for January 16 to 20, key events include a forum for retail startups, digital health, fintech, Internet of Things (IoT), and if 2016 was anything to go by, a panel of keynote speakers that can’t be missed. Global thought leader Brett King, together with magician Marco Tempest, will be right here in Hong Kong next month to enlighten and enchant audiences at the 2017 StartmeupHK Festival. King is an Amazon best-selling author, the host of the BREAKING BANK$ radio show on Voice America, and the founder of the revolutionary mobile-based banking service Moven; American Banker’s selected him as the Innovator of the Year in 2012, and was nominated by Bank Innovation as one of the Top 10 “coolest brands in banking.” Tempest is a legendary magician who combines video, computer graphics and other technology of the moment with the ideas and technology of magic; his television series The Virtual Magician has aired in some 49 markets worldwide. HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco had this to say about Tempest: “I don’t know what magic will be like in 50 years, but I suspect that it will look a lot like him [Tempest].”