Jumpstarter 2017, a program that aims to identify promising entrepreneurs and provide them with funding, concluded with a grand finale on Tuesday that saw three contestants make the final cut.
The three grand finalists will each receive up to US$1 million in funding to help them carry on their work related to innovation and technology, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The startup pitch event Jumpstarter is a not-for-a-profit initiative jointly undertaken by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation.
This year, more than 600 applications were received for entry into the competition after enrollment began in April. Females accounted for 12 percent of the entrants.
Overall, foreign participants from outside Hong Kong made up for 12 percent.
Eight semi-pitches, which were divided into eight categories — fintech, robotics, wearables/IOT/edutech, healthy ageing, sensors & advanced materials, e-commerce, smart city, and big data/AI — were conducted between May and October.
Twelve contestants were shortlisted from each of the semi-pitches. The judging panel selected the top three contestants for each semi pitch. Twenty-four finalists then presented their products or business ideas to the judges on the Grand Finale day.
En-trak Hong Kong and Farm66, both under the category of smart city, and CuttingEdge MedTech of the big data/AI category came out top in the final.
Each of them will receive investment commitment of up to US$1 million from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
Identifying sources of problems through data analysis, En-trak Hong Kong develops and sells IoT solutions for commercial buildings and corporate clients. More than 250 customers in Asia have already adopted the solutions provided by the startup.
As to Farm66, it provides large-scale indoor agricultural solutions. Its farming system can be used for production in factories, compatible with the need for sustainability development of the urban areas.
The third finalist, CuttingEdge MedTech, is involved in development of surgical robots. The robots developed by the firm can assist in personalized, accurate and stable minimal invasive surgeries. Its core patent includes surgical planning and navigation system.
Alex Cheng, founding partner of Catalyst Ventures, said the grand finale results came as a surprise to quite a number of people, since farming, energy-saving solutions or surgical robots all have little to do with Alibaba’s core e-commerce business.
Talking about the other firms that made it to the final round, Cheng said that though they may have not won, the startups still benefited as they received a lot of exposure and met up with professionals from different industries and investors during the competition.
Returning to the three final winners, it remains to be seen how much funding each of them will actually end up with, or what form the investments will take, like how much equity stake will be needed in exchange for the fund injection.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 23
Translation by Jonathan Chong
[Chinese version 中文版]
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