An Open Letter from the Founders of StartupsHK: Forward into the Greater Bay Area

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It’s been ten years since a group of us went to listen to some talks by Silicon Valley people like Dave McClure at Cyberport and him telling us to start “your own ecosystem.”

That story, which we’ve repeated many times over, is what kicked-off the startup scene in Hong Kong for us back in 2009 — and look at how much its grown. From startups raising no money to a handful of unicorns today, one co-workspace to 150+ of them, vertical accelerators, multiple international tech conferences, corporate and governmental innovation labs, huge turn-outs for demo days – wow, its just incredible to see what’s happened over the past ten years and we are so happy to be part of it and to you, reading this, to have joined us on this journey.

We’ve decided though, on this monumental anniversary, to take a look at the next ten years and we see the next decade including a lot more of Southern China.

Today we are announcing a full NGO rebranding from StartupsHK to StartupsGBA – to signify our expansion from just Hong Kong to the 10 other cities that make up the Greater Bay Area – those include: HK, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen as the four core cities with key-node cities being Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and the whole of Huizhou and Zhaoqing.

Sure you haven’t heard of some of the cities, but they will get a lot more interesting for startups over the next few years. And so we thought, since we started out to be a group that helps startups make connections and grow their networks that this was the perfect time after ten years of growing our amazing ecosystem to now expand it to add in 60 million more people.

We believe making HK great again via technology and innovation we will be able to build a stronger community that works for a better Hong Kong.

As Gene and I travel the world meeting startup ecosystems the desire to work with China has big value, and so we, maybe superciliously, think we can try to bridge the rest of the world with this tiny part of China, with the resources and good-will we’ve built over the past decade.

We will need your support, and we promise to keep Hong Kong’s best interests at heart. We will still be based here, we are scoping out the best location for our headquarters, but as usual we will be mobile and the office will be in the community at large across co-workspaces, innovation labs and government facilities.

The idea is to keep all of this as transparent as possible and to put the pieces of the puzzle together for startups and investors around the world to access the GBA. Although we will no longer update this site, we will keep it live so that the history of stories can still be found and hopefully be helpful to whoever may need them.

Thank you for following and supporting us in all our crazy endeavors from Startup Saturday to Pitch Club (where if it was your first time, you had to pitch) to Mobilliance to our Crowdfunding conference (which we got an enquiry letter from the HK Securities and Futures Commission for) to RISE’s Community Events — and now, how the next chapter unfolds: keeping the community together is the only way we know how to make it work.

To steal (and enhance) the immortal words of Captain America:

“Startups…GBA….Assemble!”

Casey and Gene
July 9, 2019

You Are Cordially Invited to Celebrate 10 Years of StartupsHK on July 9 at The Hive with Special Guests!

suhk10yearsIn 2009, 6 entrepreneurs got together in a coffee shop in Causeway Bay to talk startups…

In 2010, we produced Hong Kong’s first tech conference called Startup Saturdayat Cyberport…

Later that year we opened Hong Kong’s first co-workspace called Boot.HK in Wan Chai…

Now in 2019, we are hitting our first decade milestone: with thousands of members round the world, hundreds of events produced, and millions of dollars raised for our local startups!

We wanted to celebrate it with you as well as announce the launch of something exciting and new with all of Hong Kong – and the 16,000+ attendees coming in from around the world for RISE.

So, please join us next week as we look back at the last 10 years with special guest founders and a look ahead with some of our new partners.

9 July 2019 at The Hive Sheung Wan 👉🏻REGISTER HERE.

We are HK Founders: Simon Loong of WeLab

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Simon Loong is Founder and CEO of WeLab. Simon graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business in Master of Science in Management prior to that he also became a Certified Public Accountant. This year he was awarded CEO of the Year by Capital CEO in 2016 and Silicon Dragon’s Entrepreneur Achievement Award in 2014.

Before founding the FinTech startup specializing in mobile lending, Simon spent 15 years in retail baking divisions in Standard Chartered and more recently, Citibank. He also served as an advisor on a number of professional organizations including Shenzhen Consumer Council, Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce

In your own words what does your startup do?

Founded in 2013 in Hong Kong, WeLab is reinventing traditional financial services by creating seamless mobile lending experiences. With its proprietary risk management technology, we effectively analyze unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

WeLab operates Wolaidai (我来贷), one of China’s largest mobile lending platforms, and WeLend, Hong Kong’s leading online lending platform. The company also partners with traditional financial institutions, which utilize WeLab’s technology to offer fintech-enabled solutions to their customers. Our investors include CK Hutchison’s TOM Group, Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Chinese provincial government fund Guangdong Technology Financial Group, ING Bank and Sequoia Capital.

In 2016, WeLab was named in a KPMG-sponsored report as one of the top 100 fintech companies in the world – #6 in China and #33 globally.

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