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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 1 December 2019


Influencer marketing startup Cloudbreakr raises over $1.2m in pre-series A round

Hong Kong-based media analytics platform Cloudbreakr has raised over HK$10 million, or about US$1.28 million, in a pre-series A round led by Hong Kong X Technology Fund.

The startup has also received follow-on funding from Beyond Ventures, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, and the Mahagitsiri family from Thailand, according to a statement.

Established in 2015, Cloudbreakr uses an AI-driven big data analytics software to capture data on hot topics to help its clients form appropriate strategies and partnerships with brands and influencers.

Cloudbreakr will use the new funds to further improve the capacity of its platform’s big data analysis process, build a social media and content analysis software, and develop AI-powered influencer marketing tools. It’s also eyeing business expansion in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Global "Knowledge-as-a-Service" platform Lynk announces successful funding round

Lynk, a global leader that spearheaded the "Knowledge-as-a-Service" (KaaS) sector, announced the close of a funding round led by Singapore-based MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia (MMV SEA). Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Wavemaker Partners, who led the seed round, also participated. 

Lynk is the first "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) platform built on an expert network. This allows customers to access expertise and insights from advisors to innovate, enter new markets, and quickly understand business risk and evaluate opportunities. Unlike other expert access products, Lynk is focused on its KaaS technology platform that utilizes natural language processing, conversational AI analytics, and machine learning with human-in-the-loop to enable expert knowledge acquisition and sharing at scale. 

Anvesh Ramineni, Managing Director at MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia said, "Lynk's unparalleled growth and proprietary approach to harness unstructured data in building out a platform that can enable a wide range of potential applications made it an obvious choice for us. We look forward to supporting the company's expansive growth across various regions of the world."

Fintech Startup Apoidea raises Pre-A from Richard Li and Cheah Cheng Hye

Fintech Startup Apoidea has raised tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars in its recent Pre-A round from E Capital, a private investment vehicle of Mr. Richard Li and a few individual investors, including Dato’ Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, the co-chairman of Value Partners Group. The investment would fund the team expansion and business development in South East Asian region.

Apoidea, established in 2017, is a Hong Kong fintech company dedicated to the development of Artificial Intelligence solutions in the financial sector. The Company leverages novel techniques in deep learning and natural language processing to assist various financial institutions to radically enhance their operational efficiency and service scalability. The Company has launched a series of products such as financial analysis automation, stock market monitoring system, marketing automation and etc. Apoidea has been working with over a dozen of international financial institutions from investment banks, commercial banks to securities companies. 

"Our team is composed of ibanker and fund manager turned founders, data scientists with accounting and banking background, and startup unicorn engineering lead. We believe that’s the right team to provide the right solution for day-to-day issues faced by various business lines in financial institutions.”

Taiwan's incubator AppWorks reveals 18 startups joining its demo day, to showcase Southeast Asia’s AI, blockchain capabilities

AppWorks, Taiwan-based startup community that claims to be the region’s longest-running accelerator, announces 18 startups joining its 19th Demo Day. With a focus on AI and blockchain, the 18 founders that will pitch in the Demo Day today demonstrated experiments in the AI, IoT, and Blockchain frontiers. Out of the 18 startups, 4 were of Hong Kong origin: 

  1. Matters, a Hong Kong blockchain startup that enables content providers to be paid for their content, rather than to have their content and revenue opportunities that are often dependant on advertising algorithms and walled social media. The startup was founded by Annie Zhang that claimed to have scaled to over 20,000 customers during the accelerator session.

  2. Arical, a startup that’s co-founded by San Wong and Clement Tien from Hong Kong, is a platform that plans to “unlock the potential of property development.” Their 3-D AI envisioning tool enables clients like Henderson Land to spend only a few hours to map out hundreds of possibilities for designing buildings, as they have done recently in a project in Manila, the Philippines.

  3. OnMyGrad, a career development, and workforce transition co-founded by Clement Tien and Anthony So, from Hong Kong. It works with recruiters to help students prepare for roles in several industries.

  4. Mellow, an app to help young people and families manage finances created by first-time founders Chester Szeen and Teresa Chan from Hong Kong. It enables children to use their “first money” through debit card usage and parent-regulated accounting.

Alibaba’s shares climb almost 8% in their first morning of trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange

Alibaba share price increased as much as 7.7% during its first morning of trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Soon after the market opened, the shares climbed from their listing price of HKD $176 (a 2.9% discount from their closing price on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday) to HKD $189.50.

Each of Alibaba’s American depositary receipts on the NYSE is equivalent to about eight Hong Kong shares. Alibaba issued 500 million new ordinary shares for the secondary offering, plus an overallotment option for 75 million shares that will allow it to raise even more money if exercised. Its Hong Kong shares are trading under the ticker number 9988, a play on the words for “long-term prosperity” in Chinese.

Alibaba’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 raised a total of $25 billion, making it the largest public offering in history. The company had initially considered holding its IPO in Hong Kong, but at the time, its stock exchange did not allow dual-class shares, a structure often used by tech startups because it allows holders of one class of shares to have more voting rights than common shareholders, ensuring companies continue to have control even after they go public.

Last year, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange changed its rules to accommodate dual-class share, enabling tech companies, including Meituan and Xiaomi, to debut there.

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