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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 19 January 2020


SenseTime researchers create a benchmark to test face forgery detectors

Face swapping is a category of deepfakes that extracts the faces of people in existing media and replaces them with other peoples’ features, typically with AI and machine learning. While the underlying techniques have enabled sophisticated image editing for legitimate purposes, they’ve also given rise to concerns about potential misuse or abuse. Therefore, all source videos in DeeperForensics-1.0 were carefully selected for their quality and diversity. They ran these through an AI framework — DeepFake Variational AutoEncoder, or DF-VAE — using 1,000 YouTube videos as target videos, where each of the 100 actors’ faces was swapped onto 10 targets. In the future, the research team intends to expand DeeperForensics gradually and work with the research community toward identifying evaluation metrics for face forgery detection methods.

TravelFlan wins Hong Kong Roadshow of the Global Startup Competition

TravelFlan, a Hong Kong traveltech startup, has won the Hong Kong Roadshow of the Global Startup Competition. Out of all the applications, 11 Hong Kong startups were selected to pitch in front of an esteemed panel of judges including: Yolanda Yang, Radiant Venture Capital, Tony Chen, Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform, Louis Lo, Beyond Ventures and Karena Belin, WHub and AngelHub. 

TravelFlan, is a Travel and Lifestyle AI Digital Solution Company utilizing Artificial Technology (AI), Big Data and Machine Learning technologies to provide end-2-end digital solutions. 

The Global Startup Competition is taking place in 12 countries with an added virtual roadshow (deadline: 26th January, 2020) due to overwhelming response. The Grand Finale will be held during the StartmeupHK Festival at Startup Impact Summit by WHub on 14th of February where the 13 startups will pitch for the coveted prize of US$10,000 cash and US$1,000,000 equity investment*.

Hong Kong Startup's Am Glass Wearable Offers Powerful Augmented Reality Smartglasses Alternative to Nreal Light

The China-based company was on the CES show floor this week showing off its new Am Glass wearable. The Am Glass device features two cameras mounted in each lens, which contributes to bulk behind the front of the lenses, which, during my testing of the Nreal Light, gave the device a slightly awkward look rather than appearing as completely normal glasses frames. It also has an additional RGB camera mounted in the middle of the frame. All these hardware and software features combine to give the Am Glass the ability to provide the wearer SLAM (simultaneous localization & mapping) and 6DoF, along with gesture recognition, voice recognition (via built-in stereo mic), object recognition, and image recognition.

WHub and Wanted Co-host Job Fair

Hong Kong’s first startup recruitment platform, WHub and Wanted, Asia’s first referral-based recruiting platform will be joining forces to co-host the upcoming Job Fair on the 14th of February during Startup Impact Summit as part of the StartmeupHK Festival 2020. 

The Job Fair will feature innovative startups from all over the world looking for their dream candidates to unleash their #StartupPassion on the world. This Job Fair will cater to undergraduates, graduate students and seasoned professionals with big ideas and an interest in technology and the businesses of the future.

Visa's acquires Plaid for $5.3bn

After last year’s deluge of financial technology megadeals, investors wondered if the boom could continue into 2020. This week, Visa Inc.’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid Inc. offered an answer: Yes.  

“Visa buying Plaid brings fintech from out in the wild to something more mainstream,” said Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris. “It’s a ‘growing up’ moment for all of us,” he said, adding that the startup will now be part of the “critical infrastructure underlying the financial services industry.”

Today there are nearly 60 financial technology startups valued at more than $1 billion, according to data from CB Insights, a research firm. Many are now acquisition targets, analysts say. Those include smaller players like SoftBank Group Corp.-backed unicorn Kabbage Inc., as well as giants like Stripe Inc., most recently valued at $35 billion, a price tag that makes it one of the world’s largest startups.

Ryan Caldwell, chief executive officer of financial data company MX Technologies Inc., suggested the Visa deal could trigger a domino effect in the industry. “The space tends to heat up when there's been one acquisition,” Caldwell said, adding that larger companies were increasingly aware of fintech’s potential. “A lot of these players definitely need to partner,” he said.

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