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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 15 Apr 2018

5 in 5 minutes

HK's SenseTime, now the Most Valuable AI Startup globally

SenseTime Group Ltd, a HK-based startup which specializes in systems that analyze faces and images on an enormous scale, has just closed a Series C round, raising $600 million, becoming the world’s most valuable AI startup with a valuation of over $3 billion. Alibaba Groups is said to have sought the largest stakes. According to Xu Li, the co-founder of SenseTime, “the average revenue growth has been 400%” in the past 3 years.

Their services make them a contributor to the world’s biggest network of surveillance, and they are currently developing a service code-named “Viper” to analyze data from thousands of live cameras feeds, aiming to further promote mass surveillance.  

WeWork acquires Naked Hub for 400 million

New York-based WeWork, the world’s largest co-working company and globally one of the top 10 most valuable startups, is buying Shanghainese co-working giant Naked Hub in their quest for global expansion. WeWork is aggressively expanding in Asia, and will pay around $400 million for the three-year-old startup.

WeWork is backed by SoftBank Group Corp and the funding valued WeWork at about $20 billion. This is their second acquisition of a co-working company, the first being Singapore-based SpaceMob in August. Naked Hub has outlined plans for more than 30 locations, concentrating mostly in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Australia. 

Financial advisory Kristal.AI gets seed funding

Singapore-based Kristal.AI, an AI digital asset management platform, has raised a seed round of $1.87 million, led by venture capital firm IDG Ventures India. Other investors include Shailesh Rao, senior adviser at TPG and McKinsey, and Amit Gupta, founding partner at Newquest Capital.

The startup will invest in strengthening its technology stack, and accelerating the integration of machine learning capabilities to provide more efficient financial advisory services to its clients.

Currently, there are more than 150 Kristals on the platform, allowing investors to invest in North America, Europe, and Asian-Pacific countries such as India, Japan and China. 

Currently, they are hiring a Business Development Executive in Hong Kong.

6 Startups join DBS Accelerator HK this year

Six Fintech startups from Asia and around the world has joined DBS Accelerator in Hong Kong this year, bringing the participant number to over 30 since the program’s successful launch in 2015.

The startups are: CUBE, cyberProductivity, DOV-E, Fractal Labs, Hyper Anna and Privé Technologies. All previous participants have successfully secured funding support or have grown their businesses in Hong Kong thanks to the program.

According to Sebastian Paredes, the CEO of DBS Bank, the Accelerator program aims to “seek new horizons in digital innovation” through their “collaboration with FinTech startups”, trusting in “the mutual exchange of knowledge and best practices with the FinTech ecosystem” to “foster startup success” and “help shape the future of finance”.

HK Boxful to acquire Taiwanese ALL IN

Hong Kong storage-sharing startup Boxful will acquire Taiwanese ALL IN Premium Storage. Boxful has massed over US $26 million in capital from investors in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Singapore, but did not disclose its purchase price of its Taiwanese peer.

Boxful says the market is relatively new in Taiwan, as most consumers were not previous in the habit of storing possessions outside their homes. Their operations are growing on an average of 20% per month and are actively growing their influence across Northern Taiwan. Boxful suggests that even though ALL IN was not the biggest player in the industry, it had important corporate clients, such as ecommerce businesses.

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