TNG Wallet, a local e-payment startup, has recorded rapid growth since its launch in November 2015. However, chief executive and founder Alex Kong said Hongkongers are snubbing local startups.
In September, TNG FinTech Group announced the completion of its Series A round of funding, raising US$115 million at a post-transaction valuation of US$565 million.
The funds raised would be used to explore new markets and potential partnerships with local public transport operators.
“The funding round lasted about two years. We have been rejected by local investors most of the time,” Kong told EJ Insight. “They keep picking on us from our startup idea, business model, to the valuation, even if TNG has already earned a profit.”
Kong said investors from mainland China and overseas gave them much better feedback. “They told us not to worry about profit for now, just concentrate on creating a tribe,” Kong said. “They focus on our compelling prospects.”
With US$115 million from institutional investors from China, Taiwan and Israel, the company said it set a record for the biggest funding in a Series A round by any startup in Hong Kong.
“We have come a long way in a very short time. But the bad news is always more newsworthy than the good news, especially bad news about local startups like us.”
The company is planning a listing in either New York or Hong Kong in three years, Kong said.
“For listing in Hong Kong’s main board, companies are required to earn at least HK$50 million in the preceding three financial years, which TNG can’t meet — the company started just 19 months ago.”
TNG’s Hong Kong listing plan hinges on the New Board proposed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. “We look forward to more details on the listing requirements for the New Board,” Kong said.
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