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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 25 January 2021


Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund picks Jumpstarter 2021 Top 10 finalists

The Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) on Monday announced the 10 finalists who will vie for two grand prizes totaling US$4 million in investment at the grand finale of its Jumpstarter 2021 competition.

The 10 companies still standing come from an initial applicant pool of over 2,000 startups from around the globe. Jumpstarter 2021, backed by the AEF, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Ltd. and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp., kicked off the competition in July 2020. Grand prize winners are expected to be announced in late March.

In addition to the grand prizes, the judges’ choice of the top five startups in the competition will be eligible to participate in Alibaba’s Netpreneur Training program, which trains digital entrepreneurs. That opportunity is organized by the Alibaba Business School.

This year’s competition features startups in four categories: retail, fintech, smart cities and “deep tech.” Judges will grade the 10 finalists on innovation, market potential, capacity for development, their teams’ background and strength, their social impact and what they can bring to Hong Kong.

The 10 finalists include: Hinyeung Ltd., iLoF – Intelligent Lab on Fiber, Benefit Vantage Limited, FOMO Pay, Outpos Pte. Ltd., Artivive, Rice Robotics Ltd, Lingxi AR Technology, Butler, Beijing Zhuoweizhi Technology Co., Ltd.

Investments In Healthcare Startups Surge To $80.6 Billion In 2020


Global investments in healthcare startups set a new record in 2020, reaching $80.6 billion in equity funding. A new report from research firm CB Insights said the 2020 funding was raised in at least 5,500 deals, with growth seen in North America, Asia and Europe.

Also, what CB Insights terms “mega-rounds” (over $100 million) of venture funding rose to a record 187 deals last year.

CB Insights said its “healthcare report provides a data-driven look at global healthcare technology investment trends, top deals, active investors and corporate activity.”

According to the report, healthcare funding trended up through the year, growing for the three consecutive quarters after the pandemic hit in early 2020.

For its part, digital health funding globally went up by 45 percent over the previous year. Equity funding to digital health companies hit an all-time high, reaching $26.5 billion in 2020.

Burger King Launches Plant-Based Whoppers Across Asia With v2food & The Vegetarian Butcher

Burger King has added a plant-based version of its famous Whopper to its menus across Asia, partnering up with different vegan meat producers to meet growing mainstream consumer demand. While the fast food giant has opted for Australian startup v2food’s patties in Japan and the Philippines, in the Chinese market, the plant-based burgers will be supplied by Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher. 

After initially launching plant-based burgers across Europe and the U.S., supplied by The Vegetarian Butcher and the food tech giant Impossible Foods respectively, Burger King has now chosen to expand its plant-based whopper offerings to its menus across Asia. It has again partnered up with different startups across Asian markets to supply the plant-based patties, with Sydney-based v2food producing the burgers for its outlets in Japan and Philippines, while The Vegetarian Butcher’s burger analogues feature on the menus in China. 

Currently, Japanese outlets of Burger King will be offering the meatless burger option on a limited-time basis, but in the Philippines, the plant-based whopper will feature as a menu staple nationwide, following its initial roll-out in Manila and Luzon. In China, the plant-based whopper is available in over 325 locations across the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, with Unilever stating that a nationwide launch is planned in Q2 this year. 


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