Christmas Gift Ideas From 10 Hong Kong Hardware Startups

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Struggling to pick up the right gift for that tech-savvy friend that has it all? Instead of hitting the shops, fending off relentless crowds and haggling for the lowest price – why not support a Hong Kong startup?

Our startups have poured their blood, sweat and tears in crafting innovative and useful products for you and the people in your life. Whether its an accessory for your smartphone or an energy-saving device for the home – these 10 Hong Kong hardware startups have you covered.

While some products are ready to be ordered in a few clicks, some are still on pre-order and require a bit of patience. So we’ve compiled a list of startups that have gifts ready in-time for Christmas, and those that will be shipping out somewhere after the new year.
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Meet Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Here’: A Team of Student Interaction Designers That Accidentally Built a Startup

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After we learned about Sensbeat, the team of HKUST students that built a startup while juggling full-time studies (and still managed to graduate), we were floored by the talent and passion of Hong Kong’s young entrepreneurs. To date, Sensbeat has picked up US $500,000 – the largest first round of funding raised by a student-founded startup.

Another student startup that got on our radar was Umbrella Here – the happy-go-lucky team of interaction designers that decided to become entrepreneurs via a series of fortunate events. Made up of four PolyU students majoring in ‘Interaction Design,’ the Umbrella Here team created a Bluetooth light umbrella attachment controlled by a mobile app just as a side project – initially in response to the ‘Connect’ theme of the Interaction Awards. Just like a taxi ‘hired’ sign, the light indicates that the umbrella is available for sharing when switched on.

With no concrete plan, the four friends decided to enter Umbrella Here into a number of competitions in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. After winning a few (including the Hong Kong ICT ‘Interaction Design Gold Winner,’ the China University Business Challenge Winner), the team realized that they had a great product on their hands – but as they were all design-oriented, they struggled with the business side of things.

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PolyU Announces Two New Funding Programs For Hong Kong Startups; Grants of Up to HK$1 Million

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PolyU announced two new funding programs to support tech startups last week, on top of their existing ‘Micro Fund’ and ‘STEFG-PolyU China Entrepreneurship Fund’ – which offers up to $200,000 RMB of funding.

The first is the HKSTP-PolyU Tech Incubation Fund (TIF) and PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund (TLF), which are backed by the Hong Kong Government’s ‘Technology Startup Support Scheme for Universities.’

‘Tech Incubation Fund’ (TIF)

PolyU teams up with Science Park to offer seed funding of HK $100,000 with incubation support and office space – for a total support package worth up to $745,000. Tech startup teams made up of PolyU students, alumni or staff established for less than two years are encouraged to apply.

‘Tech Launchpad Fund’ (TLF)

The TLF is structured as an collaborative program where PolyU and investors will match dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum grant of HK $1 million and applications are open to startups that are currently in, or have graduated from Hong Kong incubation programs such as the PolyU Micro Fund, HKSTPC or Cyberport. [Read more…]