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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 10 November 2019


The Mills Fabrica invests $2M USD in MOTIF to venture build open education platform with Alvanon

The Mills Fabrica has invested $2M in MOTIF, an open knowledge and education platform dedicated to the apparel, fashion and textiles space.

As a joint partnership with Alvanon as MOTIF’s incubator, Fabrica’s investment will help MOTIF bridge the skills gap within the fashion industry. Through their offering of world-class online courses and training, professional development and mentorship from the industry’s top practitioners, the platform is designed to empower professionals with the most highly sought-after skills.

Launched in 2018 by parent company Alvanon, Motif provides users with lessons on industry topics and training on fundamental, technical, business, and creative skills.

Most of the courses available on the platform are developed in-house, with some being sponsored by or co-created with a growing list of industry partners including Alvanon, Li & Fung, and Textile and Fashion Industry Training Center in Singapore.

With the deal, Motif will be able to access The Mills Fabrica’s network of industry stakeholders, according to a statement.

According to the statement, Motif’s wider vision is to build a collaborative platform that allows brands, retailers, and manufacturers to contribute their knowledge towards educational content for the fashion industry.

Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019 a huge success!

With 8,500+ attendees from 25 countries, 200 local and international media, 220 speakers, 150+ exhibitors, 50+ community events, the Hong Kong FinTech Week was a success. The week saw many groundbreaking announcements, including the launch of the FinTech Slingshot, a new programme for Indian FinTechs to help them scale and launch internationally. 

PremiaLab Launches US Offering Following Success in Europe and Asia

PremiaLab, the Fintech platform for Risk Premia Strategies, has today announced the formal launch of its US offering with the opening of a US headquarters. The new office in New York will further accelerate its global growth in the North-American market.

Daniel Fields, former head of global markets at Société Générale, joins PremiaLab as a senior advisor to lead its strategic expansion in the U.S. market, specifically focusing on strategic partnerships. Dr. JF Chauwin will lead PremiaLab business development in North America. Previously Dr. Chauwin was head of Multi Asset Class Specialists at Axioma and more recently US Head of Sales for OpenGamma.

The PremiaLab platform allows institutional investors and asset allocators to access data and analytics on systematic strategies from across a wide universe of providers in an efficient manner with advanced portfolio construction and factor decomposition tools. The platform is focused on reducing cost and streamlining access to the fast-growing market of risk premia and smart beta products.

With offices in Hong Kong, Paris, Stockholm and now New York, its expansion into the US follows its significant success in Europe and Asian markets. The platform has established strong partnerships with many leading global investment banks and institutional investors active in this sector.

WeWork is said to consider giving up some of the office floors in half a dozen Hong Kong locations as it pulls back its operations

WeWork, the cash-strapped co-working company whose IPO failed, is weighing giving up office floors in at least half a dozen locations in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most expensive property markets. 

New York-based WeWork is considering surrendering a portion of a recently signed lease in Wan Chai, near Hong Kong’s central business district, according to people familiar with the matter. The firm leased four floors, or around 60,000 square feet, for nine years in the Hopewell Centre in August, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. 

Agents are approaching clients on behalf of WeWork to replace it in five other locations across the city, another person said. These locations are in various stages of renovation but WeWork would consider relinquishing them if it finds companies willing to take over, that person said. 

The potential retreat comes after WeWork said just last week it plans to expand its footprint in Hong Kong and open four new locations this quarter.

AstraZeneca Backs $1 Billion Fund for China Biotech Startups

AstraZeneca Plc is teaming up with China International Capital Corp, one of China’s largest investment banks on a $1 billion biotechnology venture capital fund as the U.K. drugmaker builds presence in the fast-growing market. 

AstraZeneca will work with China International Capital Corp. to target support for drug and diagnostics developers along with other startups using artificial intelligence and digital technologies to improve health care, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Astra is not the majority investor, he said.

The pharma giant has been assembling collaborations throughout the health system in China, which accounts for almost a fifth of the company’s sales. Astra is now taking steps to establish centers for drug research and artificial intelligence innovation in Shanghai, along with an import platform to help commercialize drugs for rival companies.

Astra is moving swiftly to firm up relationships in this crucial market. Earlier this year, it entered a partnership with Luye Pharma Group Ltd. to market a Chinese traditional therapy, one of President Xi Jinping’s pet projects. The company has also worked with local hospitals, governments and medical device companies to facilitate use of drugs like Pulmicort for asthma.

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