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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 5 May 2019

5 in 5 minutes

Hong Kong gets its 1st Regulated Equity Crowdfunding Platform, AngelHub

Hong Kong now has its own Regulated Startup Investment Platform: AngelHub (featured in SCMP: Hong Kong issues equity crowdfunding licence to AngelHub in boost to fintech ambitions, start-ups). Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued two licenses to AngelHub, allowing it to offer securities trading and advisory services. 

Based in Hong Kong and part of the burgeoning FinTech scene, AngelHub is the first platform to receive such approval. AngelHub will be highly selective in the deals listed on their platform providing a high degree of due diligence and vetting. Only 5% of applicants are expected to be approved thus investors can be more confident the companies stand a better chance of success. AngelHub says it “combines the professionalism of Venture Capitalists, the flexibility of Angel Investing and the power of Key Strategic Partnerships.”

Online grocery startup, Honestbee, fires CEO

Online grocery startup Honestbee fires its CEO after recent announcements of freezing operations in five countries, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines and announcing plans to lay off 10% of its staff. The Singapore-headquartered food-delivery business turned innovative food-and-grocery retailer has nearly run out of money and is unlikely to be able to pay staff this month. 

“From talking to several former and current staff, TechCrunch has come to learn that Honestbee is laying off employees, it has a range of suppliers who are owed money, it has “paused” its business in the Philippines, it has closed R&D centers in Vietnam and India, it isn’t going to make payroll in some markets and a range of executives have quit the firm in recent months,” TechCrunch reported.

However, the potential for the sale or rescue of the business is high. The company has held talks with Grab and its rival GoJek over the potential acquisition of all or part of the business.

HKMA chooses 3 startups for Global Fintech Sandbox Project

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), is one of 17 global regulators that are participating in the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) cross-border pilot tests—which has just shortlisted 8 fintechs. In total, 44 unique applications were submitted across the 17 participating regulators. The HKMA, like other regulators, are given the liberty to put these applicants through individual screening criteria, including consider whether they have the ability to support the activity. The HKMA will continue to work with the 3 FinTechs. Now, the FinTech firms will have to develop testing plans with their relevant regulators for their cross-border trials.

However, this pass doesn’t mean they have access to the sandbox quite yet. Only firms that manage to develop satisfactory testing plans with their relevant regulators will be given access to the coveted sandbox.


Ascent RegTech: Ascent operates a cloud-based AI-driven Regtech solution that automatically maps a customer’s specific regulatory obligations and ongoing rule changes, while also enabling end-to-end compliance management. 

Onfido: Onfido is a software company that helps businesses verify user identities using a selfie and a photo-based ID.

Starling Trust: Starling trust is an applied behavioural sciences technology company that has developed a predictive behaviourial analytics platform using machine learning and electronic communications data to allow users to measure, manage and mitigate culture and conduct risks.

Animoca Brands partners with Brinc

Animoca Brands partners with global venture accelerator Brinc for gaming and esports accelerator. This partnership will provide exposure to global early stage tech business development and investment opportunities. 

Animoca Brands Corporation Limited has entered into a series of agreements for collaboration with and investment in global venture accelerator Brinc Limited (“Brinc”) and subsidiaries. Animoca Brands will invest the equivalent of US$750,000 (approximately A$1.06 million) of its company stock into Brinc via a mutual investment, and is also leading the pre-seed investment round into Brinc’s subsidiary Brinc AOA Ltd (“Brinc AOA”) with a commitment to purchase US$750,000 (approximately A$1.06 million) of Brinc AOA convertible notes; Animoca Brands and Brinc will also collaborate on the establishment of an esports and gaming accelerator program.

Koofy, HKSTP Incu-Tech graduate, raises Series A

Koofy, the startup that developed Surfwheel, a one wheel surfing electric skateboard, announced this week a Series A investment of HK$ 12M. The company had previously been part of HKSTP’s  Technology Incubation Programme Graduate in 2018-2019 batch. They also launched two new type of light electric vehicles!

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