One of the exciting things about RISE was Paddy Cosgrave’s impetus to include as much of Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem into the actual event as possible.
From getting me to be co-host, to giving us a stage to show off the 20 new and unfunded startups in Hong Kong that might not be able to afford a booth but needed exposure at this early stage. Something I feel very strongly about – giving a startup access at the beginning so that they know if they are going the right way or not.
So with that idea Jack Costigan, Gene Soo, Paddy and I set up the BreakthroughHK stage – and to include the HK community we asked Science Park, Cyberport, Blueprint and CoCoon to judge the entries and to pick the 5 best that would be featured. Around 60 startups applied and from that list these 20 were picked to showcase.
On Day 2 of RISE, each team had 4 minutes to pitch and 3 minutes of Q&A. The runner-up was StayAngel – a very cool service that we loved helping you to save money on hotel rates, but the points were added up and the SoftLayer prize went to Goxip – an app that helps you find fashion by using your smartphone camera. It was Paddy who asked for them to come on stage when we did our closing remarks that afternoon.
I was able to quickly sit down with founder Juliette Gimenez and ask her about winning the first ever BreakthroughHK: