Alchemists

#PressStartToBegin

1. Can you give us your startup's elevator pitch?

Press Start Hong Kong is a first-of-its-kind games and event-planning venture in Hong Kong. Our goals are threefold:
1) to foster a community of game lovers in Hong Kong;
2) to design and curate games-centric experiences for events and parties;
3) to educate and inspire through games.
PressStart

2. Where do you see your project in 2 years?

Games and events to us are just a starting point - a good first intersection that's more easily and immediately accessible for people and easier for us as well to get started as a business. Both my co-founder Wes and myself are very passionate about education, and we'd really love to make a positive impact on the community through doing what we love. Right now we're fleshing out plans for a "Games+" series, where we will be collaborating with different companies and inspiring people around town to deliver topical workshops involving board games - and we see this as a first step towards a games-based education model. More to come here... stay tuned!

#PressStartToBegin

3. How do you get your brand out there? (Did you leverage any connections to other startups? Any other meaningful relationships or connections that helped you?)

Even though we opened our event space in Central just a few months back, we've actually been organizing Board Game Socials for more than a year and a half now! In fact, this was how we first started - we wanted to build a small community of game-lovers, and it just spiraled into a business idea. And because we've always been about building a community, we've met a lot of great new friends who have been so generous with their support of what we're doing.

Our first few months were a trial period for us - we wanted to see how word of mouth and referrals through our respective networks would take effect, and the result was so much more than we had initially expected - and now we're trying to get the word out there through some exciting collaborations with other startups here in Hong Kong. There's obviously a lot to do in terms of networking and spreading the word, but we're much more interested in fine-tuning our own business proposition and making sure that we're offering something that's unique and memorable - hopefully our effort will speak for itself.

4. What has been your biggest challenge? Did it result in you flipping in another direction?

I don't think we've really run into a huge challenge just yet, to be honest! I think the biggest challenge we've faced was whether or not to take that plunge and turn a hobby into a business - and in conjunction, whether or not to solidify that commitment through getting our own event space. I'm glad we decided to go through with it.

5. What is a typical day like at Press Start Hong Kong?

Our business model right now is very much on demand, in the sense that we only open our doors when we have event bookings or when we're hosting our monthly public Board Game Socials. We're putting in a lot of effort behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and that we can grow the business in other aspects too, and our schedule is sometimes more packed with meetings than events, so we don't really have many "typical days" per se!

A couple of Saturdays ago we came in with breakfast at 9:30 am or so, did a video shoot as part of a collaboration with a local startup until around 11 am, then did a video interview with an online events platform until about 1 pm. We grabbed a quick takeout lunch from a cha chaan teng downstairs and ate while prepping snacks, drinks and the space itself, and opened our doors for our public Board Game Social at 2 pm. We wrapped things up by around 7:30 pm, cleaned and scrubbed up the space, got dinner nearby and came back to play more games ourselves - a very packed day!

6. You are running Press Start Hong Kong as a startup while holding down a full-time job as well, how do you unwind? How can you keep your work/life balance?

We don't really have much of a balance really! Both Wes and I are quite busy with our full-time jobs - partly the reason that our space opens by appointment still - but the great thing is that we started this out of a mutual love for games, so we unwind by playing and learning games ourselves. During busier events where we're spending more time teaching and facilitating games to groups and floating between tables instead of playing together with our customers, we actually get to a point where we need to stay behind after the event is over and get a few games in to satisfy that craving!

#PressStartToBegin

7. TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. What keeps your team going? What do they value the most?

Wes and I were high school roommates, and since then games have been a constant centerpiece in our lives - basically we can't really imagine our more than 12 years of friendship without games at the heart of them! We've gone on to do many different things in our own personal and professional lives, and this has actually allowed us to develop personalities and skill sets that complement in a great way at Press Start Hong Kong. Long may the camaraderie continue!

8. What made you proud of your team recently?

December was our busiest month to date - Christmas and end-of-year are great reasons for people to get together and celebrate - but it was also only our second full month in operation. Over the course of 31 days we had 17 different meetings and events to plan, manage and handle, and all of this took place during after-work hours on weeknights and over the weekends! It was very challenging month to get through, simply because we had to put in so many hours to deliver great experiences for clients, but we came through the month in high spirits and finished the year on a high - seeing how much our customers enjoyed the events made all the hard work worthwhile.

#PressStartToBegin

9. What is the one reason to launch a startup in HK? And what would be the reason not to do so?

One thing that is so unique about Hong Kong is accessibility. There is no location within the city confines that can truly be considered "remote", and everything is so convenient - this opens up a lot of opportunities for people to try something new and share something they're passionate about with the community. The downside is obviously competition - within such a small place and with so many people venturing out on their own, those who don't operate to the highest quality and who don't do their own passions justice will find it hard to establish themselves.

10. What is your #Startup Passion?

Right now we're still very much finding our feet and growing our business - we still have so much we want to do that we haven't explored yet, and there's a whole world out there that's waiting for us to venture into. Our motto and tagline is #pressstarttobegin, and it's not just an homage to that ubiquitous opening screen phrase we're all familiar with from video games growing up - it also reminds both our supporters and ourselves that Press Start Hong Kong represents a starting point for so many ideas, friendships and possibilities.

#PressStartToBegin

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