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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 22 November 2020


Fintech startup Sleek secures US $4M from Enterprise Singapore’s SEEDS Capital and business angels

Sleek, a fintech startup that is disrupting the traditional corporate services industry, has raised US $4M in a new funding round. Led by SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, the funding was also joined by MI8 Limited, a Hong-Kong multi-family office, and investor Pierre Lorinet.

The latest $4M fundraising round was led by existing investors MI8 and Pierre Lorinet, joined by SEEDS Capital - the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a Singapore government agency under the Ministry of Trade & Industry. Prominent angel investors also joined the round – namely, Varun Mittal, cofounder of the Singapore Fintech Association, as part of the Sequoia Capital Scout program. ​The funding will be used to expand to new markets in Asia and develop digital tools to bring the best-in-class corporate and financial services to entrepreneurs, investors, and SMEs.

Looking onward to 2021, Sleek aims to double down on product development and growth. “It has been extremely humbling to experience the growth we’ve seen at Sleek over the last 3 years, even more so amidst the global pandemic which has been a growth catalyst for fully digital players like us,” Labruyere said. “With the new funding, we will launch more platform functionalities and new business verticals in the near future to enhance the overall customer experience. Ultimately, we envision Sleek to be the go-to digital platform for all entrepreneurs setting up in Singapore, Hong Kong, and beyond!”

Prenetics Acquires Oxsed, Oxford University Spin-out to Scale Rapid COVID-19 Test Globally

DNAFit Life Sciences Limited ("DNAFit"), a wholly owned UK entity of Hong Kong based Prenetics Limited ("Prenetics"), has acquired Oxsed, a social venture company which has developed a rapid COVID-19 testing platform based on research from Oxford University.

Under the terms of the agreement, DNAFit and Prenetics have acquired exclusive global rights to the Oxsed technology. Prenetics will work together with the Oxsed team on further R&D efforts to fight the global pandemic. Funds received through the acquisition and access to Prenetics global network of resources will greatly accelerate Oxsed's mission to provide rapid COVID-19 testing globally. Under the terms of the acquisition, Oxsed will maintain its focus on prioritising low- and middle-income countries.

As the next phase of the pandemic unfolds, it is critical that a rapid, accurate and more affordable COVID-19 point of care test be deployed globally to help people around the world resume a sense of normalcy for work, travel and for family.


Hong Kong’s Avant Meats Debuts Asia’s First Cultivated Fish Fillet

Announcing the news on Wednesday (November 18), Avant Meats, Hong Kong’s only startup working on cell-based protein, has presented the region’s first fish fillet cultured directly using fish cells. In a cooking demonstration at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, Chef Eddy, who has previously worked with Ritz-Carlton and Peninsula Hotel and currently runs private kitchen Chef Studio by Eddy, served up a breaded fish fillet burger made using Avant Meats’ cultivated product. 

“Hard work turns into a yummy result,” wrote the Avant Meats team in a social media post. “Tasted and liked by meat and fish eaters.” 

Unlike leading cell-based food techs hailing from the U.S. and European, such as chicken and beef-focused Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, who pioneered the world’s first lab-grown beef burger, Avant Meats is targeting local gastronomic tastes in the realm of seafood.

Founded in 2018, the company has so far been focused on developing cultivated fish maw and sea cucumber, both prized culinary delicacies in traditional Chinese cuisine and species that are now threatened with extinction due to rising demand. Now, showcasing their newly developed fish fillet, the company has expanded to disrupt a more mainstream category of seafood. 

Sino Group and Ping An launch new PropTech programme

Hong Kong-based  developer Sino Group and Ping An Smart City have launched a new  programme to drive PropTech innovation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau by fostering local technology startup focusing on the real estate industry.

Set to kick off in February 2021, the programme called PropXTech will push forward holistic solutions in areas such as geospatial technologies, drones, business process, robotics, smart city, smart home, smart buildings, modelling, data analytics, AR/VR, IoT, big data, machine learning, and sensors.

PropXTech is a five-month programme to be run by the Ping An Technology Innovation Center team and is expected to mentor four to eight startups with intensive training sessions and workshops. To be called “cohort”, selected companies will be granted access to Sino Group’s innovation ecosystem to develop pilots and proofs-of-concept, as well as test and fine-tune their solutions in a real-world environment.

MindWorks plans to tap US LPs as interest in Asia’s emerging fund managers remains high: David Chang

Hong Kong-based MindWorks Capital - an investor in HK-based logistics firm Lalamove and Taiwan-based travel e-commerce platform KKday - is seeking to tap commitments from limited partners (LPs) in the US for the first time through the launch of its Fund IV in H1 2021. 

MindWorks Capital is targeting to raise $150 million for Fund IV with a hard cap of $200 million for investment opportunities in Greater China and the pan-Asia region. 

“People are always looking for emerging fund managers, although a lot of LPs are unable to conduct site visits this year due to travel restrictions and thus opt to re-up commitments to their existing GPs,” said David Chang, co-founder and managing partner of MindWorks Capital, in an interview with DealStreet Asia.

Interest in our Fund IV has been high,” he said. “I have not seen any slowdown of US-based LPs investing in the venture capital asset class in Asia.” 


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