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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 24 November 2019


Hong Kong proptech firm Carnot secures $800k from 500 Startups, others

Hong Kong-based proptech company Carnot Innovations has secured US$800,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups’ Southeast Asia-focused fund 500 Durians, MTZ holdings, and Entrepreneur First.

The new investment follows a HK$450,000 (US$57,500) pre-seed raise earlier this year from Entrepreneur First, which helped the startup launch its business and set up a headquarters in Hong Kong.

Carnot provides an AI-powered analytics software for commercial buildings. It uses machine learning algorithms to predict failures in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

It plans to use the new funds to expand its solution across Asia Pacific while building a strong in-house team, the startup said in a statement. Carnot said it is now expanding “rapidly” to Singapore and Thailand as it receives support from government-backed Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

Battery tech developer secures $955k from 500 Startups, others

Hong Kong-based nanotech startup Volt14 Solutions raised S$1.3 million (about US$955,000) in seed funding to speed up the development and deployment of its high capacity battery material.

The round was led by US-based VC firm 500 Startups’ Southeast Asia-focused 500 Durians, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks venture arm HKSTP Ventures, and startup enabler Entrepreneur First.

Volt14 plans to use the proceeds from the raise to further refine their material for consistent mass production and support the manufacturing trials with battery cell producers it currently has in the pipeline.

The company develops battery materials that can be used to replace graphite, which is currently used in lithium-ion batteries. It differentiates itself by focusing on innovations in the materials for existing battery cells instead of inventing a “new battery.”

Hong Kong: Crypto Startup Launches Bitcoin Trading Venue 

Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency service provider that offers users lending services, crypto payments through Visa debit card services and more, has announced the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange. The firm says the new crypto trading venue will be initially available to only its retail and institutional customers via its mobile app, trading API and web interface, according to a Finance Magnates report on November 14, 2019.

In a bid to promote unending customer loyalty by offering them a complete suite of highly functional cryptocurrency-linked financial products and services, Crypto.com has rolled out its exchange.

Per sources close to the matter, the new Crypto.com exchange will initially support a handful of established cryptos, including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), XRP, litecoin (LTC), EOS, lumens (XLM) tether (USDT), MCO, and its native CRO altcoin.

Crypto.com claims to have up to one million users at the moment and the new exchange will only be available to these existing users for now.

Blacklisted AI startup Megvii moves ahead with Hong Kong IPO plan

Artificial intelligence (AI) firm Megvii plans to seek approval for its Hong Kong listing on Thursday, aiming to raise at least $500 million.

In October, the US government added Megvii to the so-called “Entity List” for alleged complicity in Beijing’s human rights abuses in China. The move effectively blocks the company from sourcing American-made components for its products.

Megvii is one of a handful of startups that is spearheading China’s AI boom, including Sensetime, Yitu, and Cloudwalk, though none have yet gone public.

These companies have benefited from broad government goals to build China into an AI front-runner by 2030. The company earns nearly three quarters of its sales from AI services for government agencies and the healthcare industry, among others. In May, Megvii raised $750 million in a round led by Bank of China’s equity arm, valuing the company at more than $4 billion.

Christie’s holds its first ever Art and Tech Global Summit in Asia in Hong Kong

Christie’s Art and Tech global summit took place in Hong Kong, the first ever in Asia, powered by WHub last Thursday. The one day conference explored the role and impact of immersive experiences through augmented, virtual and mixed reality in every aspect of contemporary living while also showcasing Christie’s incorporation of AR and VR technologies into exhibitions.

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