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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 27 September 2020


Plant-Based Pioneer Green Monday Raises US$70M In Record Breaking Round

Green Monday, the Hong Kong-headquartered plant-based group, has just announced it has raised US$70 million in financing, marking the largest of its kind to date in Asia. It has also recently been named on Fortune Magazine’s annual Change the World list this year, which comprises companies that are tackling society’s unmet needs. 

Green Monday today (September 22) announced that it has raised US$70 million in investment led by TPG’s The Rise Fund and Swire Pacific Limited, representing the largest round of its kind to date in Asia. Participation from other institutional investors include CPT Capital, Jefferies Group and Sino Group’s Ng Family Trust. The round also drew new angel investment from Room to Read founder John Wood and renowned artist Wang Leehom, adding to the group’s growing list of high-profile backers, including James Cameron, Mary McCartney and Susan Rockefeller. 

Since its inception in 2012, Green Monday has been a pioneer of the plant-based movement in Asia, from making vegan and vegetarian foods accessible through its Green Common stores to developing OmniPork, the pork mince analogue that took the world by storm to distributing iconic plant-based brands like Beyond Meat. 

Cathay Pacific and Prenetics to launch London-Hong Kong digital health passport in October in bid to ease travel

Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong startup Prenetics are set to launch a digital health passport that allows travellers to show their negative Covid-19 test results on a mobile app before boarding, potentially easing international travel and establishing a new model to help airlines and airports ride out the health crisis.

The pilot will kick-off on the Hong Kong-London route from October, Prenetics told the South China Morning Post. The partners are working in collaboration with Swiss-based non-profit The Commons Project, which is backed by the Rockefeller Foundation. 

International travel is gradually restarting as governments negotiate to lift border restrictions and scramble to resurrect trade and their moribund tourist industries.


Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission warns of Investment Scams on social media

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) today introduced an official Facebook page with a campaign to warn the public about the increasing use of social media platforms to defraud investors.

The SFC explains how online investment scams operate and provides tips for avoiding them in the latest edition of its Enforcement Reporter, published today.

Investors are urged to be wary when offered "inside information" or investment tips online, particularly when strangers on social media promote small cap or less liquid stocks. These scams are often part of ramp and dump schemes (Note 1) which can result in the collapse of a listed company’s share price. In some cases, scammers have impersonated well-known investment advisors and popular market commentators to draw victims into the scheme.

"Cracking down on organised investment fraud on online platforms is a high priority," said Mr Ashley Alder, the SFC’s Chief Executive Officer. "To avoid falling victim to these scams, the public must be vigilant when offered unsolicited investment advice or tips on social media."


HKSTP Calls Innovators Worldwide to Join the Virtual Elevator Pitch Competition 2020

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) announced that the Elevator Pitch Competition 2020 (EPiC 2020) is now inviting applications from around the world. Given current global circumstances, HKSTP will stage the event on a virtual platform for the first time. Local and international startups and innovators can go beyond the geographic boundaries and unlock tremendous opportunities at EPiC 2020, which will take place from 6 to 13 November.

Marking its fifth anniversary, EPiC 2020 comprises a series of one-week events for the 150 contestants shortlisted from a competitive pool of global-wide applications. The startups will simulate the signature 60-second elevator ride to pitch their innovative business ideas virtually via a 1-minute video to a judging panel of major investors and industry leaders, who will select the top 10 finalists. The finalists will be announced during the final pitching competition on 6 November where they will battle to be named EPiC champion of 2020 in a 5-minute presentation plus a Q&A session.

Klook goes Live! in latest sales and marketing salvo

Travel and leisure booking platform Klook has not wasted a lot of time since the pandemic hit sitting in board rooms deciding how to get through this crisis. Back in May, its COO and co-founder told WiT that it was developing product lines to address “a multi-stage recovery of travel” and it has since been actively announcing new initiatives.

From launching Klook Home and local experiences such as Do-It-Yourself craft and cooking kits, online workshops to inking a S$2 million deal with Singapore Tourism Board, its team has no doubt kept on its toes.

Its latest product salvo is Klook Live! which it launched this week in five APAC markets – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. An interactive livestream mobile feature, users are offered “entertaining and interactive instant video content” which aims to “elevate users’ ways of discovering and booking both local and overseas tours, activities and experiences or staycations at a destination”.

A pilot series last month reported a four times average uplift in conversion rates compared to in-app conversion rates on an average day for food, dining and hotel staycation packages. According to Klook, Thailand’s staycation deals sold out in eight minutes, while in Singapore, two out of three staycation bookings made within 24 hours were direct conversions as a result of the livestream. Hong Kong’s food and dining deals were snapped up in less than five minutes, it said.

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