StartMeUpHK Week 2014: Taking the Hong Kong Startup Scene to New Heights

startmeupweek2014

It’s an understatement to say that Startmeup Week 2014 was a doozy. With 48 events for entrepreneurs, hackers, investors, innovators, techies and the like funneled into 5 days, we all needed a little R&R by the end of the weekend (where people had to choose between Startup Weekend and Barcamp).

The events, which ranged from a co-work space soft launch to a symposium for Hong Kong’s sustainable future, were all in honor of the StartmeupHK Venture Programme that came to a close last week. The InvestHK-run competition has a two-pronged approach: give startups a chance to scale their business in global markets using Hong Kong as a base, and raise our city’s profile as an Asian hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. This year, the program pulled in 550 applications from 47 countries – up from 384 entries from 39 economies last year.

While Hanson Robotics represented for Hong Kong in 2013 as one of the ‘Grand Award’ winners, Freightos and Scoutbots (both from Hong Kong!) stepped up this year. The winning teams get support in the ways of professional services (accounting, legal, branding etc.), mentorship and free workspace – the latter of which is extremely valuable in a city with such soaring rents.

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Round-Up of Our Final Big Event of the Year ‘Startups of Future Past’ – Part of StartMeUp Week 2014

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How was your Startmeup Week 2014? Hong Kong’s ecosystem collectively pulled out all stops to showcase technology and entrepreneurship last week, as our city hosted a dizzying total of 48 events in just 5 days.

Our final big event of the year ‘Startups of Future Past’ last Wednesday was a huge success, with over 200 startup supporters in attendance to celebrate three very important birthdays. While our own Gene Soo turned 21 once more, StartupsHK and the Hong Kong startup scene turned 5 this year. ‘Future Past’ served as a look back to 2009 and a forward glance at 2019, and we also introduced six of 2014’s hottest startups.

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Bitcoin Explained: George Harrap, Founder of ‘Bitspark’ Shares his FAQs About the Complex Virtual Currency

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This is a guest post from George Harrap, the founder and CEO of Bitcoin startup Bitspark.

Bitcoin. You may have heard of it before in a number of different contexts but what is it all about? Let’s dive in and have a look at why this is causing such a buzz.

So what is Bitcoin anyway?

Bitcoin is a decentralised, peer-to-peer, digital currency. What this means is that nobody issues or controls it, payments between two parties are direct with no middleman and you can pay anyone, anywhere in the world instantly with no fees without relying on the legacy banking system. All transactions in the network are maintained in a shared ledger called the ‘blockchain’ where transactions are stored forever and cannot be reversed and this data is open and auditable at the click of a button. Bitcoin is traded 24/7 around the world where It’s value lies in its utility as an open currency, the network of users and the unique products and services the blockchain can provide. One Bitcoin is currently trading around $400 USD.

Why is that good?

At the moment we have to entrust our money to a third party like a bank who manages it for us. Whenever we need to send our money somewhere the bank charges a fee and it can take up to 5 business days to clear (not to mention exchange rate fees). Whenever we need to get a loan we need permission from the bank and they just tell us what the interest rate is. If we want to do anything other than withdraw money from an ATM (for a fee) we need to wait until Monday-Friday business hours when the bank is open.

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