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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 15 February 2021


Hong Kong Startup's Solar-Powered Aquatic Robot To Clear Trash From Water Bodies; Runs For 48 Hours In Single Charge

'Clearbot' can be operated remotely or autonomously to remove trash from lakes, canals, harbours or any other water body.

Hong Kong-based Open Ocean Engineering has developed a robot that can clear trash or plastic garbage collected in local water bodies. 

Launched in November in 2019, 'Clearbot' is an aquatic robot that can be operated remotely or autonomously to remove trash from lakes, canals, harbours etc. 

The aquatic robot uses a computer vision system to spot the trash. It collects pieces of litter floating on water bodies. The trash goes through the open bow of the robot and is collected in a mesh bin with the help of a conveyor belt system. 

As soon as the battery starts getting low or in case the litter bin inside the machine is full, the robot makes its way back to a central docking station.

Hong Kong Fintech Start-up Sleek Becomes APAC's First Carbon-Neutral Corporate Service Provider

Hong Kong fintech start-up Sleek has become the first provider of carbon-neutral corporate services in the Asia-Pacific region with its new sustainability initiative that tackles carbon emissions.

Hong Kong's corporate services industry has long been known to be traditional and paper-based. On average, 130,000 businesses are incorporated in Hong Kong every year. From document printing to signing, the resources needed for these services produce over 2,081 tons of CO2 waste - the equivalent of the carbon emission generated by 455 passenger cars driven for one year. As an innovator and disruptor in the industry, Sleek is challenging the norm by leading a "green" and paperless revolution.

Since November 2020, Sleek has been financing mangrove reforestation projects in East Java, Indonesia to compensate for the carbon emissions associated with the company's services. In coordination with Handprint, a sustainability software startup in Singapore, these conservation projects are set to absorb the company's monthly carbon footprint. The projects are managed by teams of experienced local conservationists and volunteers in the community, an intentional effort to create a positive impact on both the environment and the local economy. With 2,068 trees planted thus far, the mangroves will grow and absorb over 400 tons of CO2 in the next 20 years.

Sleek believes the excessive wastage and environmental repercussions in the industry can be minimized through digitization. Its cloud-based solution and AI-driven customer platform already make it five times more efficient than traditional providers with significantly less paper wastage. Meanwhile, SleekSign, a self-developed digital signature tool, has been used over 200,000 times since its release in 2020, saving over 16.4 tons of CO2 on paper and ink consumption. With this new initiative, the company is truly becoming the first corporate services provider in the APAC region to be the leader in such sustainability efforts.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council and CUHK Join Forces to Nurture Next Generation InnoTalent with On-the-Job Research Opportunities to Strengthen Local Talent Pool

The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) and the Faculty of Engineering of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to jointly nurture a new generation of innovation and technology (I&T) talent and incubate more InnoTalent in Hong Kong. Through the provision of various student internships and research programmes, the collaboration aims to strengthen the local I&T talent pool, inject new impetus into the research and development (R&D) and business sectors and enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong.

Areas for collaboration include the provision of rich and credit-bearing, on-the-job training opportunities by HKPC for students studying bachelor, master and doctoral courses at CUHK, and special teaching module, professional training and part-time master and doctoral courses for HKPC staff, provided by CUHK, in return. Giving practice and exchange opportunities to students interested in I&T learning will help converge technological talents and inject new impetus into Hong Kong's economy, industries and academia, creating favourable conditions for promoting I&T and re-industrialisation.

Pan-Asia Tech Media TechNode Global Raises US$1M from Kairous Capital, Nutty Capital Venture, and SPH Ventures

TechNode Global, a Pan-Asia technology media startup, has raised a seed round of funding led by Kairous Capital (Hong Kong) with participation from Nutty Capital Venture (Hong Kong), and SPH Ventures (Singapore).

The investment will accelerate TechNode Global's efforts in building Pan-Asia's leading tech media platform. The company plans to cover more technology stories, deliver high-quality events, and build comprehensive cross-border business across the region. The funding will also drive the company's further international expansion.

The deepening cross-border commercial ties between China and the rest of Asia, especially with Southeast Asia, present a huge market opportunity as Chinese tech behemoths step up their expansion and investments in the region.By spinning off from TechNode, TechNode Global can focus its industry and regional expertise into better serving the significant Asia Pacific Market.


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