Entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists, Hong Kong – Not Silicon Valley – Is Where You Want to be in 2017 and Beyond
Elon Musk electrified the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in 2016 (pardon the pun), but fear not, the 2017 edition is imminently capable of delivering both insights and thrills for its participants. Brett King and Marco Tempest headline the forum as the keynote presenters; then there is a can’t-miss panel on startup valuations, featuring Oddup founder & CEO James Giancotti, Gen Life’s Chief Investment and Innovation Officer Steve Monaghan, and Spectrum 28 founder and partner Kent Ho.
Steve Monaghan, who once led DBS and AIA’s regional incubator programs and was voted the 5th most influential figure in Asia FinTech, remarked innovation in China and in Hong Kong is bigger than anything happening in Silicon Valley. The numbers bear that out: consecutive years of double-digit growth in both startups and entrepreneurs means Hong Kong is now home to over 1,900 startups.
Hong Kong startups have not neglected a technological wave that can revolutionise business here – blockchain. Simply put, a blockchain is a decentralised, yet secure data structure that functions as a digital ledger of transactions. Its potential is vast: it can cut down financial transaction settlement time from days to hours, enable OEMs and their clients to simultaneously update a production log, and IoT entities to collaborate together seamlessly.
Reflecting its ascendency, the 2017 Venture Forum Fireside Chat will see Internet pioneer Pindar Wong (now VeriFi’s chairman) moderate a blockchain panel with Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin. Partnering with 22-year-old prodigy Vitalik Buterin, Lubin’s vision and energy is creating shockwaves in the digital currency realm – where Bitcoin remains king, for now – and among the financial establishment. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Canadian entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager understood there needed to be a revolution: “I was pretty depressed about the state of the global economy. When I read the Bitcoin paper, it seemed like we had a way to build an alternative system,” Lubin said.
The Hong Kong government is confident our home city has all the necessary ingredients to shine as Asia’s preeminent startup hub. Hong Kong is developing fast into one of the world's most attractive hubs for startups, for entrepreneurs from every corner of the world with innovative and audacious ideas, and for a world of investors looking to tap the ever-expanding China market. With their knack for creating innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century, Hong Kong’s growing legion of entrepreneurs is a force that will be reckoned with for years to come.