Hong Kong travel start-up Tink Labs has reportedly raised funds at a valuation of US$1 billion. The company was founded by a 25-year-old Hongkonger in 2012.
This is just one example. The impressive ideas of participants in a recent start-up competition also show that Hong Kong has lots of tech talent; we just need to have the right infrastructure to let them release their potential.
B4B Challenge — Big Data for Business Challenge — recently held its awards ceremony.
The event aims to help young talent put their ideas into practice in the real business world. The event was jointly held by Cyberport and Innobator, and supported by five local universities including the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, etc.
Also, Herbert Chia, venture partner of Sequoia Capital China, and Benedict Ang, associate director of the ANZ Banking Group, have joined as mentors and judges.
Sponsors included Value Partners, New World Development, Prudential, Fung Group and Hitachi. In addition to providing financial support, some of them also opened up their databases to the participating teams.
In order to join the competition, start-ups have to meet certain criteria such as at least one team member is a Hong Kong resident, or the company should have operated in Hong Kong for no more than five years.
Participants came from Hong Kong and numerous countries, such as China, France, Greece, Russia and Latvia.
Twelve teams were shortlisted. They then went through one week of training in Shanghai at the end of last year, followed by a three-month mentorship program in Hong Kong guided by industry and domain experts.
Among the winners, team Real Estate Hacker was the champion in the student section. The team has created a software that helps real estate agents better understand home buyers’ needs so as to improve the success rate of cold calling.
JabJabX won the individual division. The kungfu app uses big data, artificial intelligence and cloud technology to help users learn martial art.
EmblocSoft won the smart city group. It uses database of registered drugs with information from patients and doctors to evaluate the odds of adverse drug reaction.
Viewider was the champion in the supply chain management section. It’s an e-commerce analytic platform with the aim of optimizing online merchant pricing or cross-selling business performance.
All four champion teams will hold road shows worldwide to find potential business partners.
Judges said they were impressed with the high level of the participants. And they believe all 12 teams that made it to the final would eventually find financial backers.
For example, Pokeguide, an all-in-one destination guide, has secured financing from Hitachi. Several others are also in talks with potential investors.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Apr. 7
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]