5 Tech Entrepreneurs You Need To Know In Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem made significant strides in 2019, with the number of startups growing by 21 percent. Investment in startups also reached US$720 million last year, according to Jayne Chan, head of StartmeupHK, an initiative backed by government organisation Invest HK.
“We have seven official unicorns [in Hong Kong] and... we expect to see this growth to continue,” says Chan.
Hong Kong also ranked 13th in innovation globally last year, according to the Global Innovation Index 2019. The report identified biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies as four areas of strength for the city.
As a platform for the Leaders of Tomorrow, most Gen.T honourees are entrepreneurs, and more still are in tech. All of which makes picking just five people an almost impossible task. Our solution? We've picked five that represent a cross-section of the Hong Kong-based tech honourees. From the founder of a coding school to the world's most renowned VR gaming platform, here are five tech entrepreneurs in Hong Kong you need to know.
Eric Gnock Fah
Company Asia’s largest travel and activity booking platform, Klook—one of Hong Kong's first unicorns.
Need To Know What started out as a three-person team now employs over 1,000 people across 20 locations worldwide.
Quote Fah told CNBC he was inspired to start Klook when he realised travel was “a dinosaur industry”.
What's new? Klook recently teamed up with on-demand delivery startup Lalamove, founded by fellow honouree Gary Hui, to offer express food delivery in support of the city's food and beverage industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Future Plans Klook is planning further expansion in the US and Europe, having recently finalised a global partnership with train ticket operator Rail Europe.
Company Sandbox VR, a virtual reality gaming platform.
Need To Know Sandbox VR almost didn’t happen. With the prospect of imminent failure looming, Zhao put his life savings on the line to save the company. Two years later the company is worth millions.
What's New? In late 2019, Sandbox VR made global headlines when the startup raised US$11 million from a slew of celebrity investors, including Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Orlando Bloom and Will Smith.
Quote “We’re incredibly honoured to be able to work with some of the most talented and influential artists, athletes, and actors in the world. Their support is a vote of confidence that our platform will one day become the new medium for the future of sports, music, and storytelling,” Zhao said in a statement.
Did You Know? When Sandbox VR was looking for investment last year, Zhao lined up his meetings back-to-back so investors had to wait in the same small waiting room. His goal was to create FOMO—fear of missing out—among the potential investors.
See also: 5 Questions Founders Overlook When Pitching Their Startup
Company Fashion e-commerce platform Goxip.
Need To Know Described as a “Shazam for the fashion world”, Goxip allows users to take a photo of any fashion item, identify it using the app’s powerful image recognition technology, and then purchase it—all within the app.
Quote “Making mistakes is really okay. The faster they make the mistakes, the faster you can correct them. The benefits will be for the company,” Gimenez told SCMP.
Side Hustle In 2018 Gimenez launched influencer agency RewardSnap, which helps online KOLs monetise their influence.
Key Partners Goxip has partnerships with Net-a-Porter, Harrods, ASOS and others.
See also: I Am Generation T: Juliette Gimenez
Company Qupital empowers early-stage businesses with access to quick capital.
Need To Know Qupital is Hong Kong’s largest SME financing platform, helping small enterprises raise capital against their receivables, improving liquidity and helping them navigate the cashflow minefield.
Key Partner In 2018, Qupital launched a strategic partnership with Alibaba.
Future Plans Qupital intends to expand into Mainland China and Southeast Asia in 2020.
Did You Know? In his spare time, Chan is an amateur rapper. “I like that many hip-hop artists also view themselves as entrepreneurs,” he says.
See also: What Matters To Me: Andy Chan
Company First Code Academy, an education startup that teaches young children to code and create their own apps.
Need To Know First Code Academy teaches in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. It's taught more than 10,000 students since 2013.
Quote “Coding is like a third language. It expands your perspective of the world,” Sun told Gen.T.
Did You Know? Sun began her career working as an equity analyst at Goldman Sachs. It was a Silicon Valley coding boot camp that changed her life forever and put her on the path to founding First Code Academy.
See the Gen.T List to read about GoGoVan co-founder Steven Lam, Prenetics co-founder Danny Yeung, or any one of the dozens of other strong candidates we could have chosen from the Hong Kong honourees in the Technology category.