In recent years Hong Kong has become home to a growing and vibrant startup scene. As we have written previously (here), its reputation as a truly global city has attracted entrepreneurs to start new ventures in fields such as fintech, education and healthcare, to name but a few. With an enormous population at its doorstep, we thought we should examine some of the Hong Kong startups doing great things in the region. Here are three of our favourites:
Initially launched as EasyVan in late 2013 by founder Shing Chow, the company subsequently rebranded as lalamove to support its expansion in the region (although it still operates as EasyVan in Hong Kong). Described as being the ‘Uber for logistics’, lalamove offers a smartphone app (available in both iOS and Android) that make it easier for customers to move items across their city via a network of contract drivers. The company claims to have more than 10,000 drivers registered in Hong Kong alone. In just over 12 months of operation, lalamove has expanded their services to also include Singapore, Bangkok, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Taipei. Earlier this year it was announced that the company had raised US $10 million in VC funding to further expand their footprint across SE Asia.
MoneyHero is a financial comparison site launched two years ago by former Morgan Stanley investment banker Alister Musgrave. Backed by US $3 million in seed capital, MoneyHero provides consumers with access to an independent comparison portal that contains the most up-to-date information on a wide range of financial service products, including:
- Credit Cards
- Personal Loans
- Travel Insurance
- Health Insurance
Billed as the first site of its kind in the Hong Kong market, Musgrave says that “I lived in the UK for many years and used comparison sites for all my banking and broadband needs. Travelling to Hong Kong a lot, I spotted the potential for a price comparison site here. The consumer is presented with a huge number of different financial products but there was not one portal to compare them all together…”. MoneyHero has filled that gap.
Launched by university students Ben Chan, Leo Wong and Conrad Lo in August 2014, Sensbeat seeks to overcome a perceived shortfall with social media. The company was founded on the premise that the future of social platforms lies in their ability to better communicate emotions.
In the words of Co-Founder and CEO Leo Wong, “I was thinking: we have Twitter to share messages, and Instagram to share photos – but what about the emotions associated with music? Music expresses emotions better than words and pictures…We want to change how people express themselves as innermost thoughts can be better expressed by music”.
Sensbeat seeks to enable users of their mobile platform to express their emotions via musical storytelling – “music speaks a thousand pictures and voices our hearts” – perhaps one day becoming the equivalent of Twitter for music lovers. Users are able to send ‘beats’ (not ‘tweets’), accompanied by music and images to people in their network, who can then elect to ‘echo’ what has been shared with them.
Earlier this year Sensbeat’s founding team travelled to Silicon Valley where the company was accepted into the Plug & Play International Accelerator Program.
Wong and the rest of the Sensbeat management team have their sights firmly set on improving their product and growing its reach.