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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 9 Dec 2018

5 in 5 Minutes

Hong Kong's Alphaslot grabs multimillion funding from Sora Venture

Hong Kong-based startup Alphaslot has announced it has raised a multimillion funding round led by China’s Sora Ventures. Investors across multiple markets, including Hong Kong’s Credito Capital and Shinobi Capital, Singapore’s Spartan Group, Netherland’s TRG, and Silicon Valley’s Primitive Ventures, also participated in the round.

The company is building a blockchain-powered gaming ecosystem that aims to integrate “online and land-based offline gaming environments”. Using utility tokens and the Alphaslot blockchain system, players can better manage their games and corresponding assets, as well as conduct gaming transactions both within and across different blockchains. While Alphaslot’s overarching goal is to capture the entire gaming market — which means social, esports, console gaming, and more — it wants to first focus on the casino gaming sector.

Nordic Innovation House Opens In Hong Kong

The newly opened Nordic Innovation House is located at PMQ, and will offer a strongly connected local network that helps startups establish in Hong Kong and offers programs that further scale and refine their business concepts. The aim is to be the bridge between Nordic companies and Hong Kong/Greater Bay Area. WHub was invited to witness the launch, as well as featuring them in our HK Tech Meetup November, click here for recap of the launch, click here to find out more about the discussion during HK Tech Meetup.

Nordic Innovation House Hong Kong is a collaboration between the Nordic countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland and is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and supported by the local business community and the Hong Kong Government. This is Nordic Innovation House’s second location in Asia. The first one is located in Singapore and was launched in September 2018.

Cancer-Testing unicorn chooses U.S. IPO Over Hong Kong

Grail Inc., a cancer-testing startup based in US and Hong Kong, is weighing a U.S. initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said, potentially backing away from earlier plans to list in Hong Kong’s volatile market for new health stocks.

They could seek an IPO as early as 2019, based on conditions in the stock market, one of the people said. In February, it was reported that Grail had been considering raising as much as $500 million in a Hong Kong listing this year.

Grail is one of the most highly valued biotechnology startups in the world, with a private valuation of about $3.2 billion. It’s developing a test to detect a wide variety of cancers extremely early on. Investors in the startup include some of the highest-profile names in the business world, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s personal venture fund.

Hong Kong travel startup Klook to enter Japan market in 2019

Hong Kong-based traveltech Klook plans to enter the Japanese market in the first half of 2019, looking to cash in on Japan's popularity as a tourist destination and to serve the needs of Japanese travelers.

Klook's chief revenue officer, Anita Ngai, in a recent interview said Klook is "on track to launch in Japan by the first half of 2019, and is actively preparing by seeking local partnerships in marketing and distribution," adding, "Japan is a unique market and we want to be sufficiently prepared before we get in."

Around half of Klook's customers "book trips at the last minute, or after arriving at their destination," Ngai said. The company also emphasizes value, refunding the difference if a customer finds a cheaper deal on a rival booking site.

11 FinTech Artificial Intelligence Startups to Watch in Asia

Artificial intelligence (AI) has risen and may pave the way for the future of fintech, McKinsey estimates that AI could potentially create between US$3.5 trillion and US$5.8 trillion in value annually across nine business functions in 19 industries.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s AI sector is getting a slice of a HK$50 billion of budget 2019, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore has a standing US$27 million AI grant named AIDA furthering the island nation’s drive into artificial intelligence.

With the world waking up to the scene, FinTech News Hong Kong has compiled a list of eleven AI companies to watch that have a stake in fintech.

  • Oriente (Hong Kong) – uses technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, to build solutions that provide real-time credit scoring, digital and O2O lending, and other tailored financial services 
  • Sensetime (Hong Kong) – the world's most valuable AI startup focused on developing highly-advanced deep learning and AI capabilities that are being used in everything from autonomous vehicles to closed-circuit surveillance cameras.
  • Tricog (India) – a deep tech AI startup that aims to solve the healthcare challenge of heart disease
  • Cambricon (Beijing) – is said to pioneer the development of smart chips and processors with high performance, yet low power consumption for AI-related R&D
  • Face++ (Beijing) – An AI authentication service said to have fraud detection
  • Aida Technologies (Singapore) –  utilises algorithm that is able to scan for potential fraud in insurance claims and alert authority figures before it’s too late
  • LeapMind (Japan) – a deep learning company known for products that allow businesses to embed deep learning capabilities for practical use, without needing specialised knowledge and skills for model designing and hardware implementation
  • Datanest (Indonesia) – helps businesses analyse their data using machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Dayli Financial Group (South Korea) – offers a patented AI technology that is able to offer enterprise-level analytics for financial firms
  • Sqreem (Singapore) – an AI platform that is able to grasp behaviour, context, and logic at levels and scales that the company claims are beyond human capability
  • Yitu (Shanghai) - uses artificial intelligence to produce facial recognition data on a wide scale in industries such as automotive and healthcare

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