Car-sharing and 'anti-loss' apps among Hong Kong start-ups selected for Google mentorship scheme

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 July, 2015, 1:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 July, 2015, 8:16pm

Ten Hong Kong start-ups have been selected for a five-month mentorship programme run by US tech giant Google, the firm announced on Monday.

The teams will travel to Taiwan in October as part of the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Programme. During the trip they will connect with fellow entrepreneurs, accelerators and, most importantly, investors.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt launched the programme last year in partnership with the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Centre for Entrepreneurship. Finalists in the inaugural class were flown to Silicon Valley to meet and learn from leaders at some of the world's largest tech companies.

Participants in last year's scheme have had mixed success. Temp worker app JobDoh joined Swire Properties' Blueprint business-to-business start-up accelerator, as did MyFlat.hk (since renamed to Around). Others have struggled to gain significant investment or market share.

This year's finalists are all focused on "mobile-first" solutions, helping to boost the development of smartphone apps in Hong Kong, Google said in a statement.

"Startups need to take this opportunity to be creative with mobile technology and make a difference to Hongkongers lives - and we’ve found ten that are doing just that," said Dominic Allon, managing director of Google Hong Kong.

The "mobile-first" start-ups include peer-to-peer car sharing app Carshare.hk, which makes it easy to rent time with someone else's vehicle; HelloReporter, which aims to connect start-ups and other potential sources with journalists; and R-Guardian, an anti-loss app which alerts users when they move too far away from precious items like ID cards or laptops. Finishing out the list are Sam the Local, Clozetto, MyPlayback.co, Sesame, EONIQ, Boutir, and Studio-R. 

This year's Eye Programme is supported by local start-up incubators Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, among others.