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The Next Big Thing

Start-up accelerator to 'leverage strengths' of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou for entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 8:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 8:01am

New Hong Kong start-up accelerator Brinc will draw on the resources of three Pearl River Delta cities to nurture companies creating smart devices.

The company was founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Manav Gupta, who has spent more than seven years running software firms in China. Start-ups will be given access to the Hong Kong's legal and business community, Shenzhen’s manufacturing expertise and Guangzhou’s strong distribution hub.

“We’re leveraging the strengths of every city based on the value these teams can derive from those cities,” Gupta said.

READ MORE: Can Hong Kong cultivate a successful start-up culture?

Hong Kong is the first stop for Brinc’s local and international start-ups where they register their companies and intellectual property, develop business plans, and learn from mentors in workshop sessions.

They then move on to Shenzhen, where entrepreneurs can link up with manufacturers and software developers before visiting trading hub Guangzhou to find potential buyers.

Gupta said his network and experience of working in China provides a base for the start-ups to build on.

“China’s definitely difficult if you don’t have the right access or understanding of how to do business there,” Gupta said.

“Having done business there for many years, we’ve already worked through a lot of the hard challenges that a lot of companies would [face] in their early infancy of entering the Chinese market.”

Hong Kong’s start-up scene is home to an increasing number of accelerators supported by both private companies and the government, including Swire’s Blueprint and Cyberport’s Accelerator Support Programme.

Housed on the seventh floor of PMQ in Sheung Wan, Brinc’s Hong Kong office is currently the base for seven start-ups and will welcome a further 10 companies in the next few months. Brinc hopes to work with up to 200 companies in the coming years.

Brinc invests in start-ups developing products under the Internet of Things, which encompasses wearables, smart devices and products for smart cities.

“It’s about taking any product, anything you’ve ever owned, anything you’ve ever used and in essence making it smarter by combining a set of sensors and technologies and unlocking the data for those devices,” Gupta explained.

It is estimated there will be 50 million connected devices by 2020, although Gupta believes this figure is conservative.

Brinc provides start-ups with office space, covers living costs such as rent and helps start-up founders apply for visas with help from Invest HK.