Cyberport: the Platform to Catalyze Digital Technology Investments
In the past few years, Hong Kong sees an increasing number of traditional corporations, family enterprises, institutional investors and high net worth individuals shifting their investment portfolio strategy to include venture investment in local technology start-ups. According to Chibo Tang (managing director of Gobi Partners), investing in early-stage digital tech start-ups is becoming a rising trend in the funding market, where real estate and stocks are no longer the only popular investment options. Which technology verticals are attracting the most investor interests?
An emerging investment trend
The winners are those that can ride on the city’s unique strengths in the Asian region and turn them into their own advantage. According to Bill Reichert (co-founder and managing director, Garage Technology Ventures), financial technology in Hong Kong has emerged as the hottest trend leveraging Hong Kong’s position as a leading international financial services hub. Edith Yeung (head of Greater China, 500 Startups) foresees in the next three years, both Silicon Valley and Chinese entrepreneurs would compete to dominate artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, fintech and healthcare technologies. In particular, artificial intelligence, blockchain, healthcare and edtech are expected to have huge impact on Chinese society.
Technology innovation and disruption over the past decade have been continuously shaping the investment trend. Chairman and CEO of Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Jonathan Larsen sees great opportunity in fintech and healthcare technology. “Phenomena such as the ubiquity of mobile devices, cloud computing and increasingly usable artificial intelligence and machine learning tools have created a powerful set of conditions for innovation and growth in these two areas.”
Bellwethers for local tech start-ups
A good example of a local technology company that injects optimism among prospective investors and drives the investment trend is GOGOVAN. As the poster-child of new-economy entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, it ranks as one of the city’s most successful tech start-ups. Founded in 2013, it received HK$100,000 in seed capital from Cyberport before joining its incubation programme and then completing more rounds of funding. It became the city’s “unicorn” after its recent merger with China’s 58 Suyun, reaching a valuation of over US$1 billion and becoming Asia’s largest online intra-city freight and logistics platform.
Another exemplar is TNG FinTech Group, Hong Kong’s leading digital wallet operator and a Cyberport start-up that completed its latest Series A round of funding at US$115 million, the largest-ever by any start-up in Hong Kong, and also among the largest Series A rounds for a fintech company around the world. By partnering with Tranglo, a leading global cross-border payment gateway, TNG is making a future step for expanding into the European market.
Cyberport: matchmaker for technopreneurs and investors
A match-making platform has become much needed to connect tech start-ups and investors to catalyse many more success cases. As an innovative digital community in Hong Kong with over 900 digital tech companies, Cyberport’s mission is to meet the dual challenges of recruiting investors-cum-partners for entrepreneurs as well as helping investors target suitable start-ups. In 2016, a HK$200 million Cyberport Macro Fund (CMF) was established to co-invest in scalable start-ups in the Cyberport community in seed to Series A stage of funding. The first CMF investee is Lynk, an expert-matching platform connecting users to a network of global consultants and experts.
It is the rich clustering of tech companies and start-ups at Cyberport that helps prospective investors target promising start-ups for investment more easily. Over two hundred of these companies are in fintech, with many others in artificial intelligence, big data, eCommerce, edtech and other tech verticals – all of which are hot technologies that are on the radar of big league venture capital funds. In this sense, Cyberport is truly the repository of hidden treasures for investors to eye on.
Strengthening investors’ network - “Cyberport Venture Capital Forum”
To help prospective investors make smart investments, Cyberport will host a Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) from November 1st to 2nd, an annual mega event for innovators & investors to drive deal flow. The forum expects to draw some 400 participants with over 100 leading investors from the region. The forum will also announce the launch of the “Cyberport Investors Network”, an initiative that will further accelerate the match-making process and deal flow for investors and innovators. The CVCF has invited renowned investors from Silicon Valley, Israel and Mainland China – including Ping An Group, Garage Technology Ventures and Intel Capital – to examine tech venture trends prevalent in the Greater Bay Area, Digital Silk Road and Silicon Valley. The global venture capital fund 500 Startups will also host an investor workshop to target novice investors and share the essentials of becoming a super angel investor. Over twenty Cyberport digital tech companies will showcase their latest technologies, alongside numerous business matching sessions. Visit http://cvcf.cyberport.hk for event details and online registration!