A Blog from WHubbers for WHubbers!

#StartupPassion


Blog post banner visual
5 in 5 minutes - February 17
HK Startup News Round Up

February 16, 2017 by WHub - W Hub

mClinica raised $6.3m to transform global health data

Singapore-based mClinica announced it bagged US$6.3 million in series A funding to expand its global operation. The round is one of the largest financings for a health tech startup in Southeast Asia, according to Tech in Asia data. It was led by Silicon Valley-based Unitus Impact and joined by London-headquartered Global Innovation Fund, MDI Ventures of Indonesia, and US-based Endeavor Catalyst. Existing investors 500 Startups, IMJ Investment Partners, and Kickstart Ventures also put in some cash.

Hologram startup 8i gets first cash out of Baidu’s VR/AR fund

Holograms startup 8i announced US$27 million in series B funding to aid in development of its augmented reality mobile app, launching later this year. Time Warner led the latest funding for the New Zealand-based startup, with the new VC wing of Chinese search engine giant Baidu contributing some of the cash. 8i’s Holo app is currently in testing and it claims to inject virtual characters into the real world via your phone’s camera.

Insurtech startup CXA raised US$25M in Series B round, co-led by Eduardo Saverin and EDBI

CXA Group, a Singapore-headquartered insurance technology startup, has raised US$25 million in Series B investment round, co-led by B Capital Group (co-founded by Facebook Co-founder Eduardo Saverin) and Singapore-based EDBI. CXA helps employers unlock wellness in the workplace without spending more, by converting existing benefits dollars into prevention and disease management.  The round also saw participation from Royal Philips, a diversified health and well-being company, and RGAx, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America. Existing investors, including NSI Ventures and BioVeda Capital, have also joined the round. 

With this, CXA’s total funding raised to date has crossed US$30 million.The latest capital infusion will help CXA to scale its existing platform and operations beyond Singapore and Hong Kong, to include China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Unilever just launched its own co-working space in Singapore

Unilever Foundry, the international consumer goods company’s innovation arm, announced the launch of Level3, a new co-working space in Singapore. The 22,000-square-foot space is located at Unilever’s regional headquarters in Singapore’s Mapletree Business City area. Level3 is not only supposed to be a space for startups to park their laptops and base their operations, but also for Unilever teams to visit the space easily and connect with companies and ideas they find interesting.

Flipkart founders, Accel joined medtech startup SigTuple's US$5.8M funding

SigTuple, a Bangalore-based healthcare technology startup, has secured US$5.8 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners with participation from IDG Ventures, Endiya Partners, and pi Ventures. VH Capital and Axilor Partners and other prominent investors, including Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (Co-founders of Flipkart), and Amit Singhal (SVP Engineering, Uber and Ex-SVP, Google Search), have also joined the round. 

SigTuple will use the fresh capital to expand team, bullet-proof the platform and the product for user adoption, followed by commercials, and regulatory clearances for global markets.

Blog post banner visual  1
#StartupToolbox: 6 Essential Resources You Need To Startup Your Business In Hong Kong

February 13, 2017 by Teresa Chan, WHub - W Hub

Having a great product or service may seem like the most important thing to strive for if you are thinking of starting up your own business. But as the adage goes, knowledge is power, obtaining knowledge about the local startup ecosystem and gathering useful tools might be the key for you to develop the optimal strategies and get your startup off the ground. 

Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem has rocketed for the past few years.  In 2016, the number of startups increased by 24 %, and Hong Kong saw a significant upward trend in the number of staff (+41%) from a year ago. Hong Kong ranks the 5th in the world for the fastest growing startup ecosystem according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015 study . With great support from the government, universities , and the thriving startup community, it certainly saves you from a lot of headache and dead ends trying to get around with all the issues. 

If you are a startup founder or you are just thinking about starting up your own business, check out the following bite-size guide for you to grow your business in Hong Kong in no time:

All you need to know: Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem ToolBox white paper

The ultimate guide for you to dive into the Hong Kong startup ecosystem. W Hub has teamed up with the key players of the startup scene to create the ultimate Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem Toolbox. From the overview of the startup scene to all the specifics, such as contacts of community builders, government and university supported programmes, venture capital investors, accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces. Gain some insights from it as it would definitely come in handy throughout your startup journey.

Download the Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem ToolBox white paper V2.0 (125 Slides) for FREE here.

Insider information for all things startup: Startmeup HK

StartmeupHK updates you with the latest happenings in the Hong Kong startup scene. Launched in 2013, StartmeupHK is an initiative by InvestHK to promote the Hong Kong startup ecosystem and connect entrepreneurs in local and overseas startup communities. You can get an inside scoop of the latest news and resources in the startup scene, and also different startup events happenings in the area!

If you are interested in weekly updates on startup news, job opportunities and exciting events that you cannot miss right here in Hong Kong, subscribe to our newsletter here!

Bite-size News curated just for you: Startup Digest Hong Kong


Startup Digest Hong Kong works with the best local curators to create personalized newsletters everything about the startup world in Hong Kong. Their news include startup events updates and hand-selected articles, news, and information from industry and topical experts. Startup Digest Hong Kong is powered by UP Hong Kong, a part of the global movement which supports new ventures, provides resources for entrepreneurs, and connects the community. What would be a better thing to do than creating meaningful connections within your local startup community?

Sort the legal out: Dragon Law


Dragon_Law__v_2.7.gif

With Dragon Law, you can focus on talking business without hassling about the legal aspects of your startup. Using online legal software reduces risk, increases accuracy and enhances compliance. Dragon Law is a platform offering a variety of services including a legal document builder and an array of innovative tools to streamline workflow such as client communications and document signing. With its recent launch in Australia in New Zealand, you can depend on this software to hit the ground running with the best expertise to manage your startup. 

Read more: StartupsHK Resources: Startup-Friendly Legal Contacts

All-in-one marketing platform: Hubspot

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing and sales software platform to help businesses grow and scale by driving traffic, converting leads, nurturing their database, and closing customers. It offers a full stack of products for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management. On top of that, HubSpot’s CRM is completely free so your business can better manage your leads, accounts, deals, and tasks. You can also check on their informative Marketing Blog and Sales Blog to find out what it takes to gain traction and grow.

Trade show must-haves: Myfairtool


There is no better way to find new customers and get market feedback than joining a trade show. myfairtool helps you manage every aspect of your event, save DAYS of work, increase your efficiency and boost your results! The platform include tools to plan & budget your event, manage your marketing collateral, schedule appointments, promote your booth, scan business cards, capture leads, follow-up instantly, track results and much more!

Get 20% off your first event using the code WHUB. Register Here.

Blog post banner visual
5 in 5 minutes - February 10
HK Startup News Round Up

February 10, 2017 by WHub - W Hub

Uber says goodbye to Taiwan

Uber announced on February 2nd that
the service will not be available in Taiwan starting from February 10th due to huge costs in this marketplace. After launching its service in Taiwan four years ago, Uber has provided over 15 million rides in four cities in Taiwan. Uber has been accused of being illegal taxi operators, the Taiwan government had written 481 tickets to Uber, with the total penalty fees of NTD 68.45 million, while fines to Uber drivers reached NTD 20 million.

Rakuten and JAFCO co-invest US$16M in a FinTech Startup in Japan

FOLIO, an online security brokerage service has raised US$16 million in Series A from investors including  JAFCO, Monex Ventures, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, and Rakuten Fintech Fund.

FOLIO offers online security brokerage service, specializing in thematic investing. The company is planning to build their own securities brokerage platform that allows users to make asset management with ease.

Honestbee to launch food delivery service in Singapore

Honestbee, a Singapore-based grocery delivery startup, will launch their food delivery service next week. The startup will add meal delivery service in Central Business District as well as Bukit Merah and River Valley. Honestbee will face competitors such as foodpanda, deliveroo and UberEATS, however, it is the first startup that offers food delivery as well as grocery delivery service.

Singapore's iFashion Group acquires Magafash for US$2.23M

iFashion Group, a Singapore-based lifestyle venture forum has acquired the designer brands marketplace Megafash for US$2.23 million. Megafash works with over 2000 indie brands globally and sells over 300,000 unique products on the marketplace.

A Singapore incubator raises over US$1.4M in seed funding

Mediapreneur, a Singapore-based incubator owned by Mediacorp, has raised over S$2 million in seed funding. Mediapreneur will launch the phrase three of its programme, the application opens until 11:59 pm on 5 March 2017.

Launched in 2013, Mediapreneur provides seed funding, mentorship, workspace and networking opportunities for startups. Through Mediapreneur, its startups can also tap into Mediacorp’s vast media resources.

Blog post banner visual
HK Startup Ecosystem Insights & Trends #2 Event Review

February 6, 2017 by Teresa Chan, W Hub - W Hub

An amazing evening of #StartupPassion

We organised the second edition of  “Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem- Insights & Trends” @The Work Project on January 25th. Showcasing and celebrating the blooming HK startup scene, the event united key community builders to presents insights and trends about startups.

The evening started off with people networking and mingling, with drinks and pizza of course! Belin Karena, co-founder of WHub initiated the speaker session with showing us what the Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem Toolbox white paper V2.0 (125 slides) is all about, discussing the overall local startup ecosystem, importance of community builders and active venture capital investors in Hong Kong. Nio Liyanage, Head of Startup Strategy at Nest vc. displayed some impressive insights on the funding landscape for startups in Hong Kong in respective stages and advice for startups to overcome the funding gap. Gram Milosevic, Alchemist and CTO at WHub presented to us the 2017 key technology trends and had our minds blown away with all the cutting-edge technology concepts. 

Download the HK Startup Ecosystem Toolbox V2.0 (125 slides) Here

"These are the types of news that we need in Hong Kong to show that we can also have homegrown stars."

What are the trends, industry and sectors that are able to attract money?

Karena emphasised that E-commerce is one of the largest vertical here in the Hong Kong startup industry, with over 20%. Hong Kong's fashion discovery startup Goxip, the winner of the "Breakthrough HK" during RISE 2015, has raised US $1.62M seed funding.

On the other hand, Hong Kong as a Logistics Hub showed that this industry is also a key player for our startups in the region. Lalamove with their most recent round of US$30 million funding are announcing to go IPO in two years.


"Don’t consider corporates competitors necessarily, consider them in many cases potential partners."

Nio pointed out that corporates are realising the benefits of real innovation in startups. In many cases, startups are able to partner up with corporates and either leverage their customer base, their capabilities, or their money. In fact, 68% of the top 100 companies from Fortune 500 are having their own corporate venture arms. For all the founders or potential founders of startups, Nio expressed that it is crucial for startups in early stages to focus on testing the market, building something basic, acquiring customer and showing customer growth.

"When you are considering fundraising, have the mentality that you are not selling just an idea. It is important to demonstrate execution capability and tangible signs of growth in terms of ROI."


 "You want this real life experience. It's not just about the technology itself but how we are interacting with it today."

Gram talked about Advanced Machine Learning and Intelligent Things. He mentioned technology should be able to cater for real life experiences. Coffee machines should automatically make your coffee when you stop the snooze button but not when the alarm goes off. Reality Shift, also known as AR or VR, is something that has breached a new era of how we interact with mobility instead of just interacting with your phone. And Mesh is the idea of bringing everything together seamlessly, from your computer to your phone and all your other devices.

"It is not necessary that startups have to be doing those things by themselves. But if you are doing in startups, what can you leverage from this new era of technology?"


Interested in learning more insight and trends related to the Hong Kong startup scene? We are working on our "HK Startup Ecosystem Toolbox V3.0"! Stay tuned! 

Click here to subscribe our weekly newsletter! And follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to get updates on startup events and news!

Blog post banner visual
5 in 5 minutes - February 03rd
Hong Kong Startup News Round Up

February 3, 2017 by W Hub - W Hub

Hong Kong-based Dragon Law launches in Australia and New Zealand with Startup Plan

Dragon Law, a Hong Kong-based legal startup, launched their legal technology software in Australia and New Zealand, offering 44 documents that are localized for use in each country. Dragon Law's launch in both countries is a startup-focus plan that offers essential documents for fast-growing businesses. 

Founded in 2012 in Hong Kong, Dragon Law provide end-to-end solution to help businesses of all sizes to manage legal, become more productive and save time and money on the process. With approximately 50 staff in Hong Kong and Singapore, the startup is also hiring in Australia and New Zealand.

Click here to see the job openings from Dragon Law!
Click here to see an article from Dragon Law with everything you need to know about their new launch in Australia and New Zealand!

Spending on Medicine in Hong Kong to grow to US$1.7B by 2021

According to a research from BMI, the HK pharmaceutical market will see steady growth in the upcoming years. According to BMI's research, top-line medicine spending will grow from US $1.2 billion in 2016 to US $1.7 billion. Hong Kong also see a high per-capital medicine spending at US $168 compared to other countries like China (US $83) and the Philippines (US $32) in 2016.

Due to the well-developed regulatory regime and high per-capital drug spending, Hong Kong is considered to be a great market for innovative drug makers.

High demand in cyber security talents in Hong Kong

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report, many companies are looking for cyber security talents during the January to March in order to enhance cyber security in the company and stay one step ahead of hackers and cyber crime. Other IT talents in high demand this quarter includes java and oracle expertise.

Hong Kong-based entrepreneur to host Asia’s newest entrepreneurship podcast

Jay Kim, a self-described investor and entrepreneur, is the host of a new entrepreneurship podcast in the region, named The Jay Kim Show. Kim did the interview with entrepreneurs talking about issues in the region. He interviewed entrepreneurs on the show like Danny Yeung, CEO of Groupon East Asia, and Henri Arslanian, author, speaker and Adjunct Associate Professor at Hong Kong University. 

Click here to see show here.

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial acquires US-based money-transfer company

Ant Financial, China's online finance app owned by Jack Ma has acquired Moneygram, a US-based money transfer service for US$880 million. Moneygram operates in more than 200 countries offering money wire services for individuals and businesses. Stockholders are being offered US$13.25 per share.

SFA to help Singapore students to explore cross-border jobs in FinTech sector

The Singapore Fintech Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five polytechnics to help final year students find internships in the FinTech sector, include internship opportunities in startups, financial institutions and regulatory.

According to a survey, there will be more than 5,100 job vacancies within the sector starting from 2016 to 2018.

Merry christmas   3
3 Ways for Hardware Startups to Nail the Pitch

January 30, 2017 by Hilary Szymujko, Brinc - Brinc


This article originally appeared on 
Meduim, click here to check out more awesome blog posts from them!

Pitching, selling, storytelling, whatever you want to call it, communicating your vision and business is vital to building a great company no matter what the type or stage (think hiring, fundraising, literally meeting anyone new). For hardware companies, this list is longer and storytelling takes more forms. Crowdfunding videos are a great example of the importance of communicating the story well. Point of purchase (POP) displays are another. Even the packaging of your smart thing is a form of storytelling for hardware companies.

When crafting your story in whatever form it may be, it can be easy to get lost in the details and overwhelm your audience. Too much detail and complex explanations can be lethal to keeping your audience’s attention and achieving your goals. To avoid getting stuck in the weeds remember the purpose of why you will be onstage/on the call/in the meeting/sharing, and keep going back to this throughout the work. Most often, this can be boiled down to three goals:

  1. Be clear: The better you are at explaining your company in a simple and effective way, the faster you can move on to more meaningful conversation. Keeping it simple and clear also increases the likelihood that your audience will stay engaged rather than tuning you out or getting distracted by watches, phones, what to eat for lunch, etc.
  2. Be memorable: Whoever your audience is, they are inundated with new information everyday. And if they are investors, your pitch is just one in hundreds or thousands they will see in a year. Use design, humor, data and personal style to stand out.
  3. Inspire action: What is the next step? What is the next thing you are looking for your audience to do? The answer here is almost never “give you a term sheet.” Instead, pitching is just one step in a process. Are you looking to get a first meeting or a second meeting? Are you looking for an intro? Tailor your deck with this goal in mind to help you be clear, memorable and better prioritise the information you include.

With these goals in mind, it’s time to start building the storytelling material. There are a lot of great resources out there on how to construct and hone your pitch. We’ve listed some of our favorites below. To build on these existing resources, we’re going to focus on three key areas where we see many hardware founders falling flat.

  1. Hello World: The First Impression

Just like a first impression when you meet someone new, the first slide in a pitch deck will impact the audience’s lasting opinion of your startup. Yet many founders waste this great opportunity to kickstart their story.

At a minimum, the first slide should include your startup’s name and logo, be visually appealing and convey your company’s brand. Sounds easy but so many startups neglect the design aspect of this slide, bogging it down with too much text or stale visuals. Design carries a lot of weight in instilling confidence in your ability to build a great product, grow a brand and a company. Core stuff here. In other words, design is really, really important and should be applied consistently through every part of your business. But back to the first slide…

Get your designer geared up. Even if you don’t have an in-house Milton Glaser for slides or a friend to help, there are a bunch of free/cheap tools out there to help — Canva, Unsplash and even Google Slides now has a design function. Or use sites like Fiverr bring in pinch hitter designer.

Once you have a good looking first slide, level up and include a short tagline and powerful visual that includes your product. This serves a few purposes: it informs the audience that you are building a hardware product, gives you a chance to show off the design, and depending on the product, it introduces what you’re building.

  • Visual: “A picture is worth a 1000 words” rings true. A great visual can create a powerful connection with your audience to create empathy and build the user story. What we’ve seen works best is using a photo of a person with a looks-like prototype or better. Use a high quality photo that looks real (not overly staged or collaged together). If your prototype is not there yet, a good rendering can work or depending on your product and target audience, a powerful visual of your target end user without the product. If you’re really early or your product is not winning any beauty contests, then you’ll need to rely on the overall look of your slides to imply that your product will be well-designed. Don’t force the image if the quality of the rendering or prototype is not there.
  • Tagline: Including your tagline gives a further glimpse at your brand and values. Keep it short to avoid clutter and distracting the audience from what you’ll say. When speaking over this slide, introduce yourself and your company with a one-liner. Be sure to mention the hardware and software side of your business. It should be clear from the first 30 seconds that you are building a connected hardware company.

2. Problem: Don’t be a gadget

The Problem Slide is a big deal for any pitch. As Dave McClure says: your solution is not my problem. The point here is to make the audience care and agree that this problem is a really big deal! Winning slides often explain what the problem is in an obvious way, who has it and why current solutions are not cutting it. Stories work well here. Another pro tip: tie the visual you use on the Hello World slide to the story you introduce with the problem.

For many hardware companies, the Problem Slide is particularly important to combat the “just a gadget” shrug off. In these early days of IoT, hardware startups’ problem slides often seem trivial: this thing is not connected to the Internet so why not connect it?!

I recently had this very conversation with a software-only founder about our portfolio company, Kello, a connected sleep device in the form factor of an alarm clock. His first thought was it already exists: the alarm on your smartphone and other apps and programs to help you sleep better. This is the classic build a painkiller-not-a-vitamin response, or getting the gadget label: it’s a nice to have but you should really focus on solving an immediate pain. In this case seemingly it’s just the need to get up on time.

It’s your job to help the audience get over the hurdle of why the problem matters.

In this instance, the response from the software founder was because I didn’t do the following.

  • Frame the problem: Show how the problem is both short-term and long-term. The magic for so many IoT products (and certainly ones that we look to invest in) lies in the longer term data collection and software value with the hardware serving a more immediate need and the software addressing a more subtle and long term need. For Kello, it’s less about getting up on time and more about getting a better night’s sleep through lifestyle changes.

  • Numbers: Another way is to show through data how much people care about the need. Whistle did a great job for their connected pet collar by calling out the market size (there are a lot of pets), spend (sizeable) and owner’s concerns (money spent on health and the number of dogs getting lost). These hard numbers immediately flip what may seem like a trivial concept into something of serious weight to potential investors.

3. Solution: Smarter than smart

Time to let your technology shine! This is about how you use tech to address the problem and where you start building your case for why the best solution is connected hardware. Be sure to anticipate these kinds of questions from investors:

“Why should I buy and use your connected device when I already have an app or a functional, non-connected solution?”

“What’s the value that pushes your solution over the line?”

Wearing my investor hat, this gain needs to be clear and big enough to combat the fact that hardware has higher startup costs, greater complexity and tougher distribution.

  • Smarter than smart. Show how your product isn’t connected to the internet to share alerts or loads of data. Instead, build and demonstrate how your product helps you action the data, make decisions, change behaviour or take steps out of a process to add value. It’s nice to know when something is wrong, but it’s even better when your product can solve it.

  • Show a simple solution. Include visuals that demonstrate how the hardware works with software. Avoid technical details - keeping it simple is best. It’s most important that the audience broadly understands what the solution is and how it solves the problem. They should be able to say your solution back to you in their own words and get it pretty much right.

As we know, “simple can be harder than complex.” It’s very likely that whittling down your ideas and product into simple slides and explanations will take time and hard work. But it will be worth it to achieve the core goals to be clear, be memorable and inspire action.

Finally, here are just a few other great resources on how to communicate your startup.

Any thoughts or questions, get in touch in the comments or on twitter @hilszy. This post, and other hardware tips, can also be found on Brinc’s blog.

And of course, looking forward to seeing your hardware pitch deck!

Merry christmas
5 in 5 minutes - January 27th, 2017

January 27, 2017 by W Hub - W Hub

HK's Horizons Ventures backs 3D printed car manufacturers Divergent 3D

The Los Angeles-based 3D printed car manufacturers has raised US$23 million in a Series A funding round led by Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, a technology venture capital fund founded by billionaire Li Ka-shing in 2006. The funding will be used to commercialize the manufacturing platform.

Read on>

HK's ActiMirror wins startup pitchfest

Hong Kong-based ActiMirror, a retail technology startup, has won a 10-way pitchfest in Retail’s Cutting Edge seminar, organized by Inside Retail Hong Kong during the StartmeupHK Festival. ActiMirror delivers emotional consumer experiences via a connected smart mirrors platform.

Read on>

HK-based Soundbrenner raises US$1.5M

Hong Kong's hardware startup Soundbrenner that makes wearable for musicians has raised US$1.5 million in a venture round. The funding will be used for product development and market expansion.

Read on>

Alibaba's Hong Kong Entrepreneur Fund sees encouraging result

Alibaba's Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund invested about US$10 million into Shopline, YEECHOO, Grana, GoGoVan, NOSH and DayDayCook. The six startups reported significant growth. Mrs. Cindy Chow, executive director of the Fund said "the performance of the six startups has shown that provided the right resources and support, the growth potential of Hong Kong-based startups is significant".  

The Alibaba Fund with continues to support Hong Kong startups through investments. The fund will also work with Hong Kong incubators and co-working spaces to promote Hong Kong as an international startup hub in 2017.

Read on>

Hong Kong Monetary Authority launches the Fintech Career Accelerator Scheme

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) have launched the Fintech Career Accelerator Scheme ("FCAS") to nurture talents to meet the increasing need of FinTech talents in the city. The program provides internship for undergraduates and postgraduates students.

The accelerator scheme is supported by 11 banks and 9 universities, offering a total of 70 openings. The application closes on 4th February 2017.

Read on>


Merry christmas   2
The unspoken truth about recycling
An interview with Philippe Li & Johnny Lim at HK Recycles

January 23, 2017 by Heather Lo, W Hub - HK Recycles

For years, we have been told to sort the plastic bottles, aluminum cans and recyclable paper from our rubbish, and place them in different recycling bins for recycling. We’d think our hard work pays off, and those materials will be recycled, but are they?

HK Recycles started out with a very basic thought: "Landfills will be full by 2019 and something must be done to divert recyclables away from landfills.” Founded in 2012, HK Recycles assists both residential and corporate customers to recycle as much of their waste as possible.  As alumni of the i2i accelerator program run by SOW Asia, HK Recycles has received financial and non-financial support. We had a chat with Philippe Li, business development manager, and Johnny Lim, operation manager at HK Recycles, to know more about their startup passion and the big problem they are eager to solve.

The story behind the scene

While 80 percent of buildings in Hong Kong have source separation scheme, the overall recycling rate has dropped from 61% in 2011 to 35% in 2015. This exposes the inherent inefficiencies within the system. So what went wrong?

One reason is the improper separation and contamination of recyclables. This increases the operational cost because more time and labor is needed to, where possible, to separate and clean the collected recyclables.

"The cost of transporting and sorting recyclables can exceed what you can earn from processing and selling the recyclables. Coupled with weak demand for recyclable materials the international market, this makes it increasingly difficult to operate as a recycler in Hong Kong.” said Philippe.

Lack of knowledge about the benefits of recycling also hinders attitudinal shift towards building a habit to recycle. Philippe points out “the idea of recycling is that it allows manufacturers to substitute the use of virgin materials to recycled material. For example, by recycling a can of soda you save 95% of energy to produce the next one. Since less energy is used to produce the next soda can, it means less electricity is needed, and hence this would lower carbon emission.”

The problem of plastic is especially in a dire state. The recycling rate of plastic is at 11% in 2015, compared to 63% in 2012. Philippe and Johnny point out that “the decrease in oil prices has led to a decrease in demand for recycled plastic as the price of virgin plastic is comparable, or if not, lower than recycle plastics.” This means only a handful of location would collect and recycle plastics in Hong Kong.

In short, the lack of education, convenience of throwing away trash, improper separation, contamination of recyclables, decreased demand for recycled materials, all contributes to a lower recycling rate in Hong Kong.

HK Recycles’s solution

HK Recycles’s solution is simple. By relying on the recycling service fee, rather than the reselling of material, they can provide an accountable recycling service ensuring all collected material collected gets recycled.

“To further ensure we maximize recycling rates for each of our customers it is vital that we host education workshop before the start of the service to explain what can or can’t be recycled in Hong Kong and the best practices for recycling. This would significantly increase the overall effectiveness of the recycling scheme” Phillippe explains. He goes further and says “it’s important to maintain connectedness with all our clients during their subscription period because this allows for a feedback to take place. I.e. whether they have been recycling correctly or how they can recycle better.”

Apart from providing education sessions and making sure all collected materials are recycled. HK Recycles also have online reporting system which tracks and measures the amount of recyclables collected throughout the servicing period. These data are then turned into quantifiable environmental metrics set up to help visualize the environmental benefits the recycling system.  

As a result, HK Recycles has been able to recycle more than 80 percent of all their collected materials. The startup is currently collaborating with companies from a multitude of sectors ranging from finance, property managements, schools, cosmetic, electronic to convenience stores.

Collaboration with different stakeholders across Hong Kong

Realizing the importance of proper education on recycling, HK Recycles has turned their focus to schools, with the eagerness to start educating the young generation on how to do proper recycling. “We must build the habit of reuse, reducing and recycling at an early stage. It is for this reason that I believe we must educate Hong Kong’s future generation.” Philippe believes that there is not a better way to learn than by actually experiencing it for yourself. Hence, they began a collaborative process with an international school where students have control over the entire project. For example, to ensure the materials are properly separated, advocating others in the school to recycle, liaising with the HK Recycle team for collections. “The fact that the students can physically feel the weight of the recyclables is something that you can’t learn in textbooks. It also helps the students to better visualize the extent of our wastefulness in today’s society,” said Philippe.

But for the rest of us, what can we do to help HK Recycles and other recyclers to increase recycling rate? Philippe said it’s essential we reuse, reduce and recycle where possible. Specifically, with recycling, it’s critical to have clean and separated recyclable materials properly. For example, for plastic bottles is better to unscrew the lid and peel the labels off the bottle.

The Future of HK Recycles

“HK Recycles will continue to focus on expanding their reach to schools, retail stores, convenience stores, offices and the F&B sector. We aim to build accountability and measurability to Hong Kong’s waste management system,” said Philippe.

“Since 1884, Hong Kong’s average annual temperature has increased by 2.7 Celsius (2015). In November 2016, we have seen sea ice reached a record low in both the Arctic and Antarctica. Global warming will become an ever more pressing issue and we should remind ourselves that recycling is not only a method of waste management but also a method to tackle global warming.”

Merry christmas   1
Event Review: Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem- Insights & Trends

January 20, 2017 by W Hub - W Hub

Full house of awesomeness

On January 18th, 2017, W Hub organized the “Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem- Insights & Trends” to showcase and to celebrate the blooming HK startup scene. The event united key community builders to presents insights and trends about startups.

The response was so overwhelming that all the tickets were sold out the day before. The evening was filled with a full house of passionate and inspiring audiences sharing their startup stories and insights.

With a slice of pizza and a cup of beer, participants had a great time networking and mingling with a room of interesting people. They had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas, or just have an informal chit-chat.

Belin Karena, co-founder of W Hub kicked off the event with an overview on the ultimate Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem Toolbox white paper V2.0 (125 slides), outlining a few key areas of findings including community builders, accelerators and venture capital investors. Karena also wrapped up the session with information on the latest accelerator programmes, co-working spaces and startup events.

Gram Milosevic, Alchemist of W Hub presented important updates on the Hong Kong startups about recent exits, funds raised, and successful crowdfunding campaigns: 1926 startups in 2016, representing a 24% increase compared to 2015; Kickstarter’s launch in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Logistics startup Lalamove raised US$30 million this month, while hardware startup Soundbrenner also raised US$1.5 million. Both of the startups are currently HIRING and they would be at the HK Tech & Startup Job Fair today!

Tim Chan, founder of HelloReporter shared some interesting insights about the Hong Kong media landscape. When talking about ways to hack the media from a startup perspective, Tim encouraged us to be on top of everything, "Don't be the guy who talk about it the second day, be the guy who talk about it day one."

Mathieu Toulemonde, CEO Agorize Asia, shared views about Open Innovation and how to enable an efficient collaboration between all the Asian stakeholders (corporates, startups, students, programmers etc.) Mathieu promoted a new approach to foster innovation and collaboration across Asia: "Open innovation challenges are a powerful driving force for companies that are looking for innovative solutions and talented people – and it's a method that can result in identifying a hundred 'outside the box' ideas and implementing the best solutions in less than 4 months"
Discover more about Open Innovation Challenges & Online Hackathons or Check out our challenges currently running!

Merry christmas   3
6 questions to Timothy Ng, CIO at Now Healthcare

January 16, 2017 by Stephanie Lau, W Hub - W Hub

Introduction

Now Healthcare’s CIO, Timothy Ng, is a technology evangelist who has a diverse exposure in industries ranging from financial services to digital marketing. Lee (Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare) and Timothy share the same passion of empowering the inefficient and archaic health sector with new technology, especially mobile devices. From a digital standpoint, Timothy notes the health sector is the next big piece that can benefit exponentially from technology by utilizing data. Triggered by disappointing experiences with obtaining timely doctors’ appointment, Lee and Timothy ambitiously aim to make healthcare services accessible to everyone by bringing together insights they have gained in all walks of industries.

Question asked by Stephanie (Q); Tim’s Answer summarized by Stephanie (A)

Q: What are the key challenges and opportunities faced by the Telemedicine Industry nowadays?

A: The key challenge is around behavior. People are still very used to seeing doctors face-to-face. To change that consumer behavior is something very challenging for the industry. On the other hand, with the soaring mobile phone penetration rate, there is an opportunity for us to access and utilize the data easier than ever. We are also constantly exploring new technologies and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. One example is Vocal Biomarkers that can detect the emotions of a person and present real-time information for doctors. How stressed or display the emotional state of the patient – very useful in Mental Health. The next major wave of innovation of the industry is all about AI, machine learning and big data and how we can analyze it to generate insights for both patients and doctors.

Q: NHS is currently one of your largest organizational partners and is also pivotal to the success of Now Healthcare nationwide offerings. Could you share the approach behind this successful Private-Public-Partnership (PPP)?

A: We originally built the platform for private healthcare, which we have acquired large corporate clients and are currently servicing over a million people. By the end of this year, the number of people we serviced will rocket to over 20 million.

Owing to the success, we have proven our system is flexible and well-functioned. Then, we approached the NHS accordingly. We are part of the NHS digital accelerator, which allows us to embark conversations with various bodies within the NHS organization and discuss how we can integrate our solutions into their existing systems. Our system is global in scope and can be geo-replicated to allow us to function and adhere to regulations in multiple health sectors. For example, we have a system that caters for doctors but can as well be easily customized to function for nurses, other types of doctors and medical professionals alike. In a nutshell, it is crucial to have a flexible system for the NHS to understand and evaluate, providing a single platform that can provide them with access to IoT devices and a single gateway to integrate future technologies. Additionally, we reckon the key thing to most people is security around patient records data. Hence, we have also imposed strict guidelines on how we access and safeguard our data. We were the first in the UK to be fully audited and signed off with a perfect record by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which regulates the UK Health sector.

Q: What is the key barrier when negotiating a partnership with complex government bodies like the NHS?

A: The key barrier is always down to the size. When dealing with a large body like the NHS, there are a lot of governance and meetings involved. In a way, the government can also be cautious about technology. Ultimately, we resolved their concerns on system integration and provide a gateway to the future. The crucial part involves helping the NHS understand how various pieces of technology work together and function effectively. Our systems are geared towards benefiting different parties in the health care system. We have heard doctors considering to quit their profession due to long in-office hours. We aim to reduce doctors’ workload and give back some of the work-life balance to them. With our product, one can virtually log in from a home office; it provides flexibility for doctors to fulfill their work hours from the comfort of home office. The experience has found to be especially rewarding for doctors who have families.

Q: Do you foresee the same success that Now Healthcare has achieved in the U.K. to come along in developing countries?

A: It depends on which country. For example, South Africa has a fairly high mobile phone penetration rate. In certain places of South Africa, people have even adopted cryptocurrency. Hence, it all boils down to the demographics of the developing country itself. Mobile phones and especially telecommunications are local and readily available. The technology is becoming more and more accessible and is the cheapest form of communications for a lot of countries.

Q: Where would you be considering in terms of geographical expansion for Telemedicine?

A: Generally, we think the requirements and challenges are very similar across the globe, except for local regulations. We think Hong Kong has a great underpinning as there is a tight partnership between the private and public sector. Currently, we are interested in investigating JV opportunities in the area. Moreover, we are also actively exploring solutions for out-of-hospital patient care, which is one of the key interest areas for the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.

Q: What are the HealthTech verticals that you are constantly keeping an eye on?

A: IoT and Wearables because they help feed data. These data can be made available to doctors for consultations. On top of that, the data also serves in providing real-time information that can be mapped to a users’ general markers (when they are healthy). Medical adherence is a key development which we are pushing forward with the help of biomarkers by helping people stay in their standard range of bio-markers through constant monitoring. Imagine your phone could intelligently notify you that you were about to become ill, overtired or even stress based on the biomarkers of even by the sound of your voice. This is the future we envisage and the key is making this information not just available to the user but also the medical professional during a consultation.

Lessons learnt on obtaining Government Support and Private-Public-Partnerships:

  • Flexibility and Compatibility – Having a system that is easily customized and highly compatible with the incumbent system.
  • Scalability – A scalable solution that fits well with many departments prevail one that is overly-specialized.
  • Track Record –  Successes acquired in the private sector could serve as a well-grounded support in the negotiation process.
  • All-Rounded – In a B2B2C model, it is important to think of a product that benefits not just the end users, but the service providers as well. In the case of Now Healthcare, their system takes into account the user experience of both doctors and patients.

Last but not least, a successful entrepreneur understands what the market wants and sees what direction it is heading. Lee and Timothy have demonstrated their vision well with the Now Healthcare brand. We look forward to seeing more aspiring HealthTech ventures in Hong Kong!