Hong Kong start-ups get big boost from Microsoft-Cyberport programme

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 4:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 7:52am

Fundraising for local start-ups is poised to receive a big lift under a strategic, multi-year initiative between software giant Microsoft and Cyberport in Hong Kong.

The "Cyberport Accelerator" programme launched yesterday will provide qualified start-ups at the government-owned complex in Pok Fu Lam with up to HK$300,000 in financial support and access to prominent international business mentorship, training and seed funding initiatives, led by the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator programme.

"Cyberport is offering a holistic accelerator support programme to help prepare start-ups for international markets and investors," said Herman Lam Heung-yeung, the chief executive at Hong Kong Cyberport Management.

You never know where you might find the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
Rahul Sood, Microsoft Ventures

"We're doing this because you never know where you might find the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates," said Rahul Sood, the general manager and partner at Microsoft Ventures.

Aimed at early-stage start-ups and first-time entrepreneurs, Microsoft Ventures currently runs its programmes in about 20 cities, including Beijing. Cyberport now forms part of its growing global community of partner accelerator programmes.

Sood said qualified participants received support from "some of the world's most amazing experts in design and engineering, and gain access to many of our customers".

Microsoft Ventures aims to help qualified Cyberport start-ups to pitch their business to more venture capitalists and provide joint marketing promotion and technical resources through its Beijing operation.

One of the former Cyberport start-ups to benefit from Microsoft Ventures is AllMobilize, a design company that builds mobile-device-friendly websites. The firm started as a two-person operation last year and has since expanded to more than 60 employees, with about 5,000 corporate customers to date.

AllMobilize founder Miranda Gao said the entrepreneurship training and market exposure it received "paved the way for our rapid expansion in mainland China".

Horace Chow Chok-kee, the general manager at Microsoft Hong Kong, said the company, one of the flagship tenants at Cyberport, had invested in about 250 start-ups in the city since 2009.