Allison Baum Talks About Her New Role As Fresco Capital Advisors’ Newest Managing Director

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Alongside the wisdom Hong Kong startup scene pioneers have to impart, those relatively new to the ecosystem also bring disruptive ideas and much needed expertise.

Take the tenacious Allison Baum for example. After singlehandedly bringing New York’s General Assembly to Hong Kong against all odds, she’s now working alongside Fresco Capital AdvisorsTytus Michalski as their new managing director.

“I had really poured my heart and soul into getting General Assembly started – it was like my baby so it was hard to step away. But in many ways, it became much bigger than me,” said Allison. “That’s the most satisfying thing I think – that you’ve created something that can live on without you.”

As GA readies itself for its second full-time web development boot camp, Allison says it’s still in its adolescent stage but is growing fast. In fact, she says that a large number of the full-time students are not from Hong Kong – they’re from New York and Los Angeles and are interested in learning programming and design skills in an Asian context.

Pivoting from the success of her first year in Hong Kong, Allison’s new role with Fresco doesn’t stray far from the people-focused General Assembly. “We take a bottom up approach, and we evaluate each startup individually so there isn’t an industry or sector that we’re looking for or won’t look at,” said Allison of the seed and early stage fund’s ‘people first, business second’ philosophy.

(Invest Hong Kong interviews Allison Baum)

Although she has just two weeks into her new role, Allison is always dreaming up new plans to help entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. Her new side project, a scalable consulting tool for people looking to break into the startup world, helps match new entrepreneurs with existing education that’s a good fit. “I want to create a tool that will help people understand where they fit into the startup world based on their strengths, and help them find the resources, communities and networks to get there,” said Allison.

“It would be similar to a fun, Buzzfeed-like personality quiz where you put your information in along with budget constraints and it would generate a startup role that you’d be ideal for.” Allison says that the tool will be helpful to both the individual looking to break into the startup world and companies conducting market research on what holes need to be filled in the ecosystem – whether it’s jobs, education or investments.

Allison’s finance background, experience mentoring startups and entrepreneurial spirit has been a great help to the ecosystem, and her advice to Hong Kong founders is in true lean startup fashion.

“An interesting strategy you can take in Hong Kong is to target a niche community first and see what kind of traction you can get there,” Allison said, advising startups to get their products out fast to start the learning and reiteration process early on. “And if you’re targeting a niche community, your product doesn’t have to be perfect. Even though you’re not releasing it to the general public, you still have the ability to learn what it’s like.”

General Assembly on Startbase.HK

Fresco Capital Advisors on Startbase.HK

Allison Baum on Startbase.HK

Tytus Michalski on Startbase.HK

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