Nurture & Scale Up Digital Entrepreneurs
Dare to jump out of one’s comfort zone is always the first step to success.
Timothy, Founder of Snapask, the online education platform that provides instant on-demand academic support and advice, shows us how this formula works with his own experience.
Timothy is always passionate about education work: He already had the experience of setting up education business during his undergraduate study when he ran a small center with friends to provide after-school tutorial classes for students. In only three months’ time, they managed to achieve break-even for the tutorial business.
Yet as a graduate of Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, Timothy started off with the common path that most graduates did and dreamed of – he joined an international financial institution on fund management. Yet, after a short while, he realised that education, instead of finance, was the area that he wished to devote himself into. With strong determination, he quitted the job for something different, something he loved doing.
Eyeing the global trend of edutech, Timothy came up with the idea of utilising technology and crowd-sourcing to bring about instant academic support, hence Snapask. He started again his entrepreneurship journey and got admitted into Cyberport’s Incubation Programme from which he enjoyed various support such as financial assistance and investor connection. Since the launch in 2015, Snapask has served more than 400,000 students from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Reflecting on the days when he kicked off the Snapask project, Timothy reckoned that having the daring spirit to jump out of one’s comfort zone for something different, and the persistence to keep trying was his key to success.
“No start-ups would have a clear picture of what to do and how to move forward from day one. Just like us, we have been trying and learning all the way through. In fact, we work out our own way and direction through trial and error,” Timothy added, “Even today our offering is still evolving based on industry and users’ needs. ”.
What does “Entrepreneurship” mean to you?
“Running a start-up is like riding on a roller-coaster. You experience ups and downs every day!”, Serena, the inventor of Ozmo smart water bottle and mobile app, offered a vivid description of the excitement she has been experiencing ever since she started the Ozmo project.
Being an experienced product manager before pursuing her entrepreneurial dream, Serena is well aware of the potential challenges and stages that every product has to go through before becoming a market favourite. It is in fact this apparently irrelevant experience in product management that empowers Serena with the strong spirit and persistence to face the hiccups with smiles along the way.
In fact, Serena often dreams of developing health-related products that would benefit everyone in the society. Staying fit and healthy, and in particular drinking enough water, are the topics that Serena concerns most, given her family’s medical history of diagnosing severe illness. A few years ago when health-monitoring wearables hit the market, Serena dared to pick a different direction. Instead of following the trend to develop another wearable device, Serena headed back to basic – she devoted herself to promoting the importance of drinking water through digital technology.
Serena left her position as a product manager and teamed up with her partner to develop the Ozmo smart bottle and mobile app, which helps users stay hydrated on the go and maintain a smarter and healthier style of living. To Serena, joining the Cyberport community has been a great experience. She is especially impressed with the swift response she receives every time from the Cyberport team when support is needed, whether it is about the need to get connected with potential investors, or to organise product trial to collect customers' feedback.
With the entrepreneurship support from Cyberport, Ozmo is growing fast. Apart from the Hong Kong market, they are also having business sales in the US.
Click on the video now to learn more about Serena’s story.
As Hong Kong people, we are well known for our hard working and agile entrepreneurship spirit. The success of GOGOVAN is a vivid example of how Steven, the Co-founder, and his partners have lived up to this unique Hong Kong spirit and lead the company forward with great passion.
It was 2013 when Steven and four of his post-80s friends decided to become entrepreneurs. Apart from the HK$20,000 seed money, courage and persistence were all they had at that time to kick-start their dream. As the team started out with lunch box advertising business, they often encountered difficulties in booking van for logistic arrangement. The smart young minds got inspired with this experience at once --- they identified the service gap in van provision and swiftly switched to work on the van-hailing app. In order to understand the needs of their target users, Steven and his partners spent months travelling around the city to chat with van drivers to gather first-hand feedback and comments.
Steven and his team have gone through ups and downs as every entrepreneur does along the way. Still, he is grateful that, for whatever challenges GOGOVAN faces, whether it is lack of funding or legal dispute about intellectual property, negative comments or complaints, the Cyberport team has always stood by them, ready to offer help and support.
With four years of dedicated effort, GOGOVAN has revolutionised the logistics industry. It has been expanding fast – from five founders to a large team of over 1,000 staff; from a start-up with only HK$20,000 seed money to a unicorn with company valuation of US$1 billion after the strategic merger with 58 Suyun, and operates Asia’s largest online intra-city logistics and freight service.
Despite all these achievements, Steven reckons he is still far from being a successful entrepreneur. Hard work of his team is what he attributed the success to, “I am just lucky to have met some good people and have a great team who are all willing to work days and nights with me to achieve something big!”
Click on the video now to learn more about Steven’s story.
Starting a business is like embarking on a long journey. Strong commitment and confidence is what it takes to create business success along the way.
To Peggy, Founder and CEO of the expert-matching platform LYNK, staying confident is definitely the key to success. She believes that, only with the daring spirit and strong confidence, entrepreneurs could inspire their team to dream big, innovate and achieve more.
Speaking from her own experience, it was also with great determination that Peggy put investment banking behind her and joined the league of entrepreneurs some years ago. Riding on the experience and network gained from the financial industry, Peggy established LYNK with her partner, creating this data-driven and expertise-sharing platform that connects enterprises with thousands of experts from diverse field around the world. With this knowledge marketplace, Peggy and her team succeed in offering enterprises unique and flexible solutions that address their operation and business needs.
Within just a few years’ time, LYNK has built up a huge expert pool of over 50,000 professionals across 73 countries. Apart from the head office in Hong Kong, the company has branches in Singapore and Mumbai. It is also the first start-up that the Cyberport Macro Fund invested into. With Cyberport's all-round incubation support from investment injection to market exposure and networking opportunities, the team is expanding into Zhuhai and New York as well, ready to open up new horizons for uncharted industry opportunities.
Click on the video now to learn more about Peggy’s story.
For an innovation to stand out in the market, how it cares for people from product concept to design and application is all that matters. With this in mind, Kevin, the Co-founder of ORII, and his partners sail through their entrepreneurship journey with passion and care for the people and the society.
Kevin has been a maker ever since he was a kid. He is curious about everything around him and enjoys building things from scratch. He decided to start his own company together with like-minded friends from his MBA class.
ORII is the project that does him proud. It is the world’s first voice-powered smart ring which turns user’s finger into a voice-enabled smartphone. The voice-activated ring uses bone conduction technology to channel smartphone sounds into user’s ear, and can also be used by people who are visually impaired. With this tiny magic ring, Kevin revolutionises the way we communicate.
To Kevin, the vibrant ecosystem at Cyberport provides him with all the essentials that the ORII team need for product development. For instance, the "Smart Try-out" initiative Cyberport organises enables them to gather users' feedback in order to fine-tune their prototype. The business matching and pitching events also help raise their company profile and link them up with potential partners and investors.
The comprehensive support from Cyberport empowers Kevin and his team to focus on advancing their product. As Kevin remarked, “There’s no shortcut to success. You have to work very hard and keep improving your products to earn your customers.”
Click on the video now to learn more about Kevin’s story.
It is always with strong faith and courage that an entrepreneur manages to navigate through ups and downs along the way. As in the case of Ryanne, Co-founder of Dragon Law, focusing on value creation for SMEs through digitising legal services is the driving force behind her tireless effort.
After graduating from law school, Ryanne joined an international law firm for a few years where she observed the difficulties and challenges SMEs face in relation to legal issues. Many would often decide not to use professional legal services to save on fees without understanding the risks involved. Inspired by the SMEs cases at work, and with her passion for technology, Ryanne decided to make a change – she joined hands with her partners to set up Dragon Law as an online platform that offers legal tools.
With great effort, Ryanne and her team are able to digitise legal services that address the unique needs of SMEs. The Dragon Law platform provides businesses with legal tools and contract workflows, and a live chat tool for seeking legal advice from qualified lawyers outside of Dragon Law. All of these services are offered professionally and conveniently, at a fixed monthly fee that is more transparent and predictable. This way, Ryanne transforms the legal industry by unbundling legal services through digital technology.
During its inception stage, Dragon Law got connected to its first batch of customers with support from Cyberport. Today, the company has established its market presence, attracting users from both SMEs and large corporations. With its business growing rapidly, the company has also set up branch offices in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
Looking back at her decision to jump out of her comfort zone and venture into a start-up business, Ryanne said, “I do not focus only on gains and results. What I care most is, whether this is something meaningful, and whether this creates value for others.”
Acting upon her ideas, Ryanne proves to us that, as we dare to venture, we are already halfway through the journey to realise our dreams.
Click on the video now to learn more about Ryanne’s story.
“To run a start-up is a huge life challenge. And yet, that is the challenge I would like to take!”
With this “dare to venture” spirit, Bruno, Founder of ANA Artwork Material Analysis, aspires to transform himself from a scientist of chemistry to an entrepreneur of artwork authentication.
Bruno is a fan of arts and culture. It all looked like a coincident when he got inspired to start his own business on artwork analysis after attending an international artwork auction. At the event, he was not only impressed by the enduring passion for Chinese artwork that the collectors expressed, but also was amazed by the fact that there was a lack of scientific solution for artwork analysis – all the checking and authentication work was still done manually in a conventional way.
With his knowledge in laser technology and insight into the unchartered blue ocean of scientific artwork analysis, Bruno has developed a ground-breaking laser technology to discern authentic artwork from counterfeit, redefining market standard for artwork analysis and art authentication.
Switching from scientist to start-up owner is no easy task. Fortunately, Cyberport provides the ideal platform and dynamic environment for Bruno to set up his own venture. For instance, the networking events that hook him up with other entrepreneurs within the Cyberport ecosystem and industry partners, the promotion opportunities and market exposure, all empower Bruno to stay positive and to embrace every challenge as a change to enrich his life experience.
“Being an entrepreneur is an amazing experience. The mix of sweet and sweat makes it such a meaningful journey.” To Bruno, what matter most is how he keeps learning and improving, and makes the most out of this challenging yet rewarding voyage.
Click on the video now to learn more about Bruno’s story.
It is always the dream of every woman to have a closet full of designer-dresses.
Abby, the former i-banker, together with her partner, launched the online portal for rental of high-end fashion with the vision to make luxurious fashion accessible to everyone. With this online platform, fashionistas could rent their way to a designer wardrobe.
How did Abby and her partner come up with this amazing idea? All thanks to the troubles they encountered while working in the financial industry when there were always occasions and functions that required them to look for smart and stylish outfits.
“Every lady wishes to look glamorous at the events; yet, it would be too costly to buy a new dress each time, and much of a waste if the dress would only be worn for just once or twice. Storage would be another headache too!”
Inspired by the hassle from everyday life, Abby had this “share for more” idea -- creating Hong Kong’s first online portal for rental of designer-dresses. With this shared designer wardrobe, Abby revolutionises the industry and pioneers a new form of shared economy.
Being a member of the Cyberport community, Abby benefits from the vibrant atmosphere that inspires innovative ideas. She meets professionals and industry players who share her passion and aspiration. Moreover, through Cyberport’s far-reaching network, Abby is able to get connected with potential investors, such as securing investment from Alibaba under the "Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund".
As one could imagine, it would never be easy to switch from an investment banker to an entrepreneur running a digital technology start-up. Challenges and difficulties are no strangers to Abby. However, living up to the motto “Stay focused and don’t give up”, Abby manages to navigate through uncertainty and achieve for greater success.
Click on the video now to learn more about Abby’s story.
Adam and his partners are definitely the icons of young high-flyers who have become successful entrepreneurs before graduating from university.
How did this business idea first kick in ? All started with a pain-point Adam and his friends faced in their daily life – they had kept too many coins, jars of them, and could not find a smart and convenient way to spend them. With some research work, they realised that they were not alone in having troubles handling unused and unwanted coins. They were determined to resolve this issue and redefine the values of coins.
Through taking part in Cyberport’s Guangdong – Hong Kong ICT Young Entrepreneur Programme and with the seed funding granted under Cyberport Creative Micro Fund, Adam and his team were able to turn their idea into action. They designed and built the HEYCOINS Kiosk which allows users to exchange unused coins for electronic currency and gift vouchers, experiencing a brand-new style of smart living.
As a freshman in running a start-up, Adam benefits most from Cyberport's Mentorship Programme. Through Cyberport's strong network, he gets connected with industry veterans who share with him valuable insights and expertise that are essential to his success today.
In order to devote all his energy into the HEYCOINS project, Adam actually applied for a gap year from his study. To him, the experience of running a start-up is too invaluable, and he is always glad that he made such a decision during his university life.
It is this “no regret” belief that keeps driving Adam forward along his pursuit of success.
Click on the video now to learn more about Adam’s story.
As the common saying goes, innovations always come from our daily life. This is also how Samuel and his partners started StockFlash, the leading financial social app for Hong Kong stock market.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Samuel was an accountant who was always tied up with heavy workload. Despite his love for the stock market, he rarely had the time and energy to monitor and invest in it. Realising that actually many of his friends shared the same inconvenience, Samuel rounded up a few partners and decided to set up a start-up to develop an investment platform that would be easy and convenient to use.
Riding on digital technologies such as big data analysis and AI, the team built StockFlash as the leading financial social app that allows users to instantly follow investment picks of top performing investors in the market. Investment is thus made easy for people who have no time for investment analysis and market assessment – all they need to do is to follow the top picks of performing investors. A new way of making investment decision is, hereby, born.
Time had been tough when Samuel first started off StockFlash, when he was greeted with nothing but mostly negative feedback and discouragement. Despite the bumpy ride at the very beginning, Cyberport has stood by Samuel and his team along the road. With the financial subsidy, and a series of networking, investment pitching and promotion opportunities that Cyberport offers, the team manages to gain substantial market exposure and recognition.
Today, Stockflash is developing in good shape. They have successfully attracted investment. Their number of users is also on the rise. The team is on the mission to create value for users around the world. As Samuel put it, they are ready to take the business out of Hong Kong and expand into international markets.
Click on the video now to learn more about Samuel’s story.
For Hong Kong Permanent ID card holders over the age of 18 or above, or companies registered and incorporated in Hong Kong.
To link Hong Kong and Guangdong talents to develop digital tech innovations.
Copyright © 2017 Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited. All rights reserved