Sept 25  2019  6

Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 6 October 2019

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Hong Kong startup builds an accessory that Apple didn’t know it wanted

In 2014, Hong Kong startup Catalyst, a lifestyle accessories brand founded by adventure enthusiasts Josh Wright & June Lai, launched on Kickstarter and today their products are sold in 70 countries around the world, from online outlets like Amazon to physical stores like Best Buy and Target. The line has since expanded to include cases tailored for different gadgets -- iPhones, Samsung phones, iPads, Apple Watches and AirPods. They’re made to withstand a drop from the top of a three-story building or a 6-feet dive into the ocean.

Even Apple took notice: Earlier this year, the Apple Store started selling a special edition Catalyst case for the AirPods.

Hong Kong FinTech Week Satellite Hackathon

As a satellite event of the Hong Kong FinTech Week, WHub together with DBS and the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation, is organizing a 36 hour fintech hackathon of product development. Take on this challenge! Book your spot for the Hong Kong FinTech Hackathon to Join over 150 Game changers to drive innovation in the FinTech ecosystem!

Participants will work in teams from Friday evening (November 1st) and have 36 hours to devise, build and launch their prototypes. The event will then conclude with a pitch on stage to startup, talents, experts and judges during the final event on Sunday (November 3rd).

This hackathon is open to startups, students, game changers, entrepreneurs, developers, basement hackers, bots that pass the Turing test ... We're not fussy as long as you bring leet skillz to the table. We welcome geeks in FinTech, InsurTech, AI, UX designers, Blockchain, coders, idea generators, marketers, data scientists, mad scientists ... You get the idea!

Betatron Cohort #5 Launches With 8 Startups

Betatron has invested up to US$150,000 into each startup and will guide each one through its three-month program which ends in December 2019. The focus of the program is to accelerate business growth and fast-track each startup to its next funding round.

For Cohort #5, Betatron received 1,301 applications, interviewed 247 startups, and conducted due diligence on 65 of them - resulting in an overall acceptance rate of 0.61%. The eight startups are an international mix of B2B focused companies from Hong Kong (2), Singapore (3), The Philippines, USA, and Egypt, including Bookairfreight, ExpandCart, Next Billion, Positive Energy, Sakay, SHIPNEXT, Toku, ZhenHub.

Startups in this cohort: Bookairfreight (Hong Kong), ExpandCart (Egypt), Next Billion (Singapore), Positive Energy (Singapore), Sakay (Philippines), SHIPNEXT (USA), Toku (Singapore), ZhenHub (Hong Kong)

Bitcoin volumes in Hong Kong skyrocket via LocalBitcoins amid city-wide protests and unrest

Hong Kong has seen a sharp increase in bitcoin (BTC) volumes in recent weeks as the city reels from protests and unrest. Peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange LocalBitcoins recorded its third-highest weekly BTC volume at $1.42 million or 172.8 BTC in the last week.

The highest weekly BTC volume on LocalBitcoins was recorded in Dec. 2017 at $1.53 million, followed by $1.51 million in Jan. 2018.

Hong Kong has been witnessing the “worst unrest in more than 50 years” amid worsening political tensions. Protestors have been rallying since June when the general public started opposing a bill that could have allowed the extradition of those convicted of crimes to mainland China and Taiwan. The bill has been withdrawn, but the protests are still ongoing.

Hong Kong Cryptocurrency Startup to Pay $24 Million in SEC Settlement

Hong Kong based Blockchain startup, Block.one has agreed to pay a $24 million civil fine to settle U.S. regulatory charges that the blockchain company conducted an unregistered initial coin offering that raised the equivalent of several billion dollars from June 2017 to June 2018.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday that Block.one, which operates in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Hong Kong, did not properly register its 900 million-token offering, or seek an exemption from registration. It said this deprived investors of material information needed to make informed decisions.

Block.one did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle, the SEC said.

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