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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 13 May 2018

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WeLab to be HK’s first virtual bank

WeLab, one of HK’s very own unicorns, is set to be the first local startups to apply for a virtual banking license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Simon Loong, founder and CEO of WeLab, believes this is an “important step forward for the development of smart banking” which will allow Hong Kong to “catch up with international markets”.

In the upcoming weeks, HKMA is due to draft the guidelines and regulations for the virtual banking license and is expected to give it by the end of the year. By cutting costs drastically on the overheads compared to a physical bank, smaller loans can be given out and profit could still be made, facilitating applications from small and medium-sized enterprises.

New Octopus app for taxi fares

To gain an edge over competitors like Alipay and WeChat Pay, HK taxis may now accept payments from Octopus cards if they are registered with a new app, launched on Thursday. To entice drivers to use the Octopus App for Business, those who sign up before June 29 will be entitled to a HK$150 welcome gift plus a HK$200 usage reward if the cumulative fare paid by Octopus cards or its QR code reaches HK$1,000 in the first 30 days.

There have already been more than 1,000 sign-ups for the app, with number expected to be steadily on the rise.

HKTDC Entrepreneur Day seeks to connect startups with investors, resources and talents

HKTDC will be holding their 10th Entrepreneur Day from May 17 to 18, with more than 270 exhibitors participating from fields including medical technology, biotechnology, fintech, green tech, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technology, approximately 35% will come from overseas.

A series of seminars, panels, promotional meetings, business advisory sessions and networking activities will be taking place in order to help startups widen their connections, obtain more useful information and funds, as well as find talents. (If you are a talent, there will be a Start-ups Meet Talent Job Fair with 20 amazing startups recruiting their dream team. RSVP here.)

The E-Day will also serve as a platform for investors to find innovative ideas for possible investment.

Admission to the event, which is expected to attract about 18,000 visitors, is free.

Message from Peter Yan, Cyberport’s new CEO

Yan, a fellow of the HK Computer Society with 32 years in the ICT industry, has taken office since April and has released an official message to “friends of Cyberport”. In his message, he stresses the impact digital technology has on the global socio-economic landscape, and the importance of inspiring the “young generation” to “embrace technology” through educational institutes and curriculum.

“Data is the currency of the new economy,” he says, promising to “nurture data driven start-ups, facilitate enterprises transformation” and “groom future talents” in order to “leverage on digital technology to transcend geographic boundaries”.

Prior to joining Cyberport, Yan was executive director and CEO of SUNeVision Holdings.

Information on Yan was found here: https://www.cw.com.hk/it-leadership/cyberport-appoints-peter-yan-as-new-ceo 

Betatron launches Cohort 3 with 10 Startups

Betatron launched their new cohort and introduced the ten new startups on Thurday, 10th May at nakedHub. Each startup is to receive an investment of US$30,000 and will be guided through an intensive 4-month period to fine-tune their business models and to fast-track them, grow, scale and raise their first institutional funding rounds. The startups will be provided with free office space for the duration of the four-month program. The four startups in Cohort 1 have raised US$1.2M, and the 7 startups from Cohort 2 have raised a collective US$2.7M to date, with several still in the fundraising process.

The ten startups from Cohort 3 include:
- 3DNA (digital eyewear design)
- CryptAM (Digital Asset management company)
- Green Is the New Black (builder of the community of sustainable brands)
- Oxpecker Labs (bio-tech company in sensor technology)
- PatentBot (first legal chatbot to register trademarks)
- Sinotech Marine (online platform connecting shipping industry to global consultants)
- TAP Media (Asian MMA-focused media company)
- TradeMonk (cloud-based platform for ordering wine)
- Vfluencer (influencer marketing platform identifying micro-influencers at scale)
- Weesper (HR platform for curated referrers to source talents)

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