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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 17 June 2018

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WHub at HKMA “Bank Account Opening and Maintenance”  

Last Thursday, WHub was invited to attend and share at the “Bank Account Opening and Maintenance” session, organized by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Amongst a total of around 70 to 80 attendees, WHub was one of the 4 parties representing the Hong Kong “tech community”, along with HKSTP, Cyberport and the FinTech Association of Hong Kong. Other parties that also conducted sharings were HKMA, InvestHK and several well-established banks in Hong Kong.

During the meeting, WHub shared their key findings on the experiences of startups from various stages, industries and operation styles. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who contributed their insights, enabling us to be the voice of the startup community, and to substantially communicate the difficulties and discrimination startups face when opening and maintaining their bank accounts.  

Key Findings include:
- Many FinTech startups have more problems opening bank accounts
- 50% companies got rejected by at least one bank
The situation has become worse over the last 3 years

Read on for the full report with suggestions presented, action to be taken, and other feedback of the sharing.

Origami Labs raises $2.5 million to crack the wearables market

Origami Labs has raised $500,000 in crowdfunding and closed a hefty total funding of $2.5 million, according to Johan Wong, co-founder of the 2.5-year-old startup. Their product – a ring called Orii – receives any kind of smartphone notification, like a text message, and allows users to pick up phone calls.

The product, launched late last year, has sold 5,000 boxes–of four to 10 rings each–with another 5,000 expected to move by the end of August. Orders are coming mainly from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan as well as Europe and the United States.

The four Origami Labs founders got the idea as students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Wong’s father, now in his 50s, had trouble seeing and wanted some way to use smartphones without looking at the screen.

Trip Guru raises US $ 500,000 in seed round to expand in SE Asia

Hong Kong-based travel tech startup Trip Guru has just closed its seed round after raising US$500,000 from a total of eight investors. The startup was able to significantly raise its profile after graduating from the Betetron startup acceleration program last January.

Trip Guru aims to channel the funding into market expansion. Their goal is to achieve regional scale in their primary market, Southeast Asia, in the first semester of 2018 – currently in 7 countries and 16 destinations. They plan on opening tours in countries such as China, India, Nepal and Myanmar. Funds will also focus on launching its Progressive Web App (PWA), transitioning from its current mobile platform to the app-like browsers.

In line with its expansion plans, Trip Guru will also be growing its team this year. The startup is looking to onboard passionate and tech-savvy talents in marketing, tech and business development for its Hong Kong office.

SuperCharger 2018 raises US $14.4m & seals 47 commercial deals

Last Friday, SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator and Standard Chartered hosted the demo day to showcase their 10 startups in their 2018 cohort at the Hong Kong Stock of Exchange. Through the 12-week programme, the cohort companies have achieved 47 commercial deals, US$ 14.4 million funds raised, received 17 awards and formed a network of 372 mentors, partners, regulators and business stakeholders.

In April, Standard Chartered officially opened its Hong Kong innovation lab, the eXellerator, as well as SC Ventures, a new business unit that aims to make strategic investments in promising FinTech startups (SuperCharger is working with) and set up new ventures to explore new business models.

HK startup cloud-based platform makes smart contracts

In line the ongoing blockchain-hype, HK Startup DINO has launched a cloud-based platform that allows users with zero programming knowledge to build smart contracts by form filling or templates, while professional users can use its “drag-and-drop” interface and configurations to create and deploy smart contracts on blockchain networks. With DINO’s graphical user interface, tailor-made smart contracts can be built in just a few hours with simple drag and drop actions, the company claims.

The startup has also launched a token sale for its crypto unit, named DINO in short, a functional utility token which can be used to pay the DINO platform service fee, as well as for purchases of smart contract templates on the DINO platform. A total of 200 million DINO will be launched, of which 90 million tokens, or 45 percent, will be available for public sale.

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