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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 26 July 2020


Insider Announces $32M Series C Funding

Insider helps 800+ leading brands like Singapore Airlines, Marks & Spencer, Virgin, Uniqlo, Samsung, and Estée Lauder accelerate digital growth through best-in-class customer engagement. 

Singapore-based Insider, a profitable SaaS company that takes a unique approach to Multichannel Experience Orchestration, announced today its $32 million Series C funding round, bringing total funding to date to $47M. The round was led by Riverwood Capital and was joined by Sequoia India, Wamda Capital, and Endeavor Catalyst. The additional capital will be used to further enhance the award-winning platform’s capabilities, add top-tier engineers to Insider’s exceptional R&D team, and invest in the company’s global sales and marketing efforts.  

Most digital marketers face the same problem: there are too many tools that claim to be “multichannel” and provide a “hub.” Instead, it is the case that customer data sits in silos, sales channels remain under-developed or even unavailable, and the end product is a point-solution rather than a true hub. This creates disjointed experiences for consumers and hinders marketing ROI. 

Insider’s AI-powered platform enables enterprise marketers to connect customer data across channels and systems, predict their future behavior with an AI-powered intent engine, and orchestrate and deliver individualized experiences to customers. Their platform is unique in how it offers the widest set of product features in the market while coordinating all offline and online data across the unified platform and its various engagement channels. The powerful AI intent engine consists of 15+ algorithms that enable marketers to make precise predictions such as which customer segments are likely to convert, buy, and churn — and then design the most optimized experiences accordingly.  

StartmeupHK Festival: HK Innovation Is Alive and Kicking

For five days, Hong Kong played host to 471 speakers from 97 countries and territories, attracting 181,770 attendees and featuring 199 exhibitors. 

We are talking about Hong Kong’s annual StartmeupHK Festival, the startup showpiece organized by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) that went virtual for the first time.  ended July 10 after a record-breaking week that more than lived up to a common underlying theme apparent in each of the sector events and activities: innovation and problem solving as the driving force for startups. 

Speaking at the Startup Impact Summit organized by WHub, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, outlined a roadmap for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). She highlighted the government’s pro-innovation procurement policies and support for Hong Kong’s local startup base, while pointing out the far-reaching promise of the Greater Bay Area, notably the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in concert with the Shenzhen Government.

Dorsett Hospitality International partners with Prenetics to provide government-recognised Covid-19 testing to combat the third wave

As part of Dorsett Hospitality International’s ongoing commitment to the local community under #DorsettCares, the Hong Kong-based hospitality group is the first hotel group to partner with leading global genetic testing and digital health company Prenetics to offer the local community, associates and hotels guests in Hong Kong a peace of mind with 24/7 access to the Project Screen by Circle COVID-19 test, recommended by the World Health Organisation and officially recognised by the Hong Kong government, as we collectively fight to contain the city’s third wave.

Hong Kong-based Prenetics is one of three laboratories who have been assigned by the government to help with mass community testing. Their ‘Do-It-Yourself’ test kit has an analytical accuracy of 99.9% based on validated studies by the National Health Commission and the US FDA. They also provide all the testing for the English Premier League and have carried out over 40,000 COVID-19 tests for players and coaches without which the season would not have resumed. The largest private laboratory in Hong Kong, Prenetics have boosted its capacity up from 5,580 to 22,000 tests in Hong Kong per day.


Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing soars to become world’s largest exchange operator by market cap

Hong Kong’s stocks were on fire Tuesday, with the exchange operator’s shares surging to make it the world’s largest exchange operator by market capitalisation, following Ant Group’s plan to list in the city and Shanghai.

Alibaba Group Holding, to which Ant Group is affiliated, and exchange operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) paced the gain after index compiler Hang Seng Indexes Co. announced plans to launch a gauge to track the biggest hi-tech stocks trading in the city next week. HKEX shot up 9.8 per cent for the biggest gain in five years, with trading volumes 63 per cent above the 20-day average. It closed at a record high of HK$380, bringing its year-to-date gain to 50 per cent.

HKEX is now valued at US$62 billion, while the London Stock Exchange, which rejected the HKEX’s overtures to buy it a year ago, is smaller, in fourth place.

China’s Greater Bay Area stymied by lack of coordination and research facilities, review finds

A review of the Greater Bay Area in southern China has identified shortcomings that have slowed progress on Beijing’s plan for the region to become a hi-tech hub, including not enough research facilities and poor coordination and flow of talent and capital between the cities. The findings were presented at a meeting of the national political advisory body on Wednesday by Zhu Xiaodan, who heads its Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese committee that carried out the review.

Senior Communist Party leader and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Wang Yang also addressed the gathering in Beijing, calling for efforts to integrate the area and turn it into a global innovation centre, state news agency Xinhua reported.

China announced its plan for the region in 2017, aiming to transform it into a hub to rival San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. A development plan was released in February last year, covering Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and seven other cities in Guangdong province.

More detailed plans were released by Guangdong and Shenzhen earlier this month. But momentum has been lost amid anti-government protests in Hong Kong, the global coronavirus pandemic, and the deepening rift between China and the United States over technology exports, intellectual property rights protection and the national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong.

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