Learn about angel investment, venture capital, and more forms of startup funding in Hong Kong for early-stage and growth-stage funding.
Hong Kong is a hub for startups and innovation. With over 3000 startups in 2021 alone, the city is quickly becoming a global leader in the tech industry.
Funding is a constant concern that keeps many local entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential. Fortunately, there’s also many individuals and groups looking to invest in new ideas. So what are some of the options available for startups looking to secure funding?
In this article, we explore some of the options available to startups for early-stage and growth funding in Hong Kong, including seed accelerators, individual angel investors, and angel investor groups for early-stage funding.
We’ll also touch on the various venture capital firms in Hong Kong that offer different funding rounds for growth-stage funding.
Let’s get started!
Seed accelerators are startup incubators that offer funding in exchange for equity. The idea is to provide young companies with the resources they need to get off the ground, including mentorship and networking opportunities.
Let’s look at five notable seed accelerators in Hong Kong.
LimeHK is an acceleration program that offers seed funding to startups in the digital or technology industry that have some traction.
LimeHK program includes mentorship, direct investment, financial advisory, legal consultation support, and business development.
Program length: 3 to 6 months
Funding amount: USD 100,000
Zeroth is an accelerator program for machine learning and artificial intelligence companies in their early stages. The program provides funding, mentorship, network, and discounted online tools, including popular online tools such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, Microsoft, Hubspot, and SendGrid.
The Zeroth program has five phases: kick-off, remote, demo-day prep, demo day, and continued support. These phases give startups the flexibility to grow while getting maximum support from the program.
Program length: 3 months
Funding amount: USD 120,000
Supercharger is a fintech accelerator program for start-ups in categories such as blockchain, crowdfunding, and asset or wealth management programs.
The program offers funding, publicity, workspace, mentors, events, and workshops. The program also helps businesses to identify joint venture opportunities.
Funding amount: Unknown
Brinc provides various paid accelerator programs across different verticals. Here are some Brinc Hong Kong programs:
Funding amount: Varies
Betatron is a venture capital firm that invests in B2B startups building products in various sectors. The special focus is on companies that specialize in maritime, logistics, e-commerce, health tech, and sustainability & adaptation.
Betatron team also offers support in business issues such as hiring, legal, design, and business development.
Funding amount: USD 250,000 to USD 2M
Particle Accelerator Limited or widely known as ParticleX is a tech-based startup investor and innovation enabler based in Hong Kong that provides a hyper-acceleration to tech startups, colliding them with different aspects of the field, in order to generate new leads, concepts, and technological development.
These are just few of many innovators across the globe that were successfully funded by ParticleX through various funding stages :
AI Technology Retailing Concept
Date Founded : 2013
Location : Hong Kong
Digital Technologies For Sustainibilities
Date Founded : 2021
Location : Canada
World’s Largest Virtual Interactive Gallery Collection
Date Founded : 2014
Location : USA
AIoT Platform For Veterinar Cardiology
Date Founded : 2016
Move It | Eggplant
World’s First Smart Home Gym
Date Founded : 2015
Location : Hong Kong & Guangzhou China
First’s Vision- Based Interaction Sports, Fitness & Gaming Applications
Date Founded : 2017
Location : USA & Hongkong
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One of ParticleX’s successful programs aim to help early-stage startups to win cross-border opportunities across Asia, one being The ParticleX Urbantech Global Challenge (PUGC) which it offers the opportunities for Direct Investment And Business Matching with prospective corporate clients from Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region. PUGC also adding Incubation And Onboarding Support as perks of the accelerators program.
Applicants must be innovators fostering the urbantech revolution in one of these six key areas :
Angel investors, also known as angel funders, are high-net-worth individuals who invest in early-stage companies. They invest in companies in exchange for equity.
To get funding from an angel investor, you need to know how to pitch your business effectively.
Usually, you need to go through a formal process where you present your idea to them, explain the market opportunity, and discuss why you’re the perfect person to lead this venture forward.
Here are some of the well-known angel investors in Hong Kong.
Alex Banh is the managing partner of IPV capital, with extensive experience in venture capital and internet business. His main focus is in assisting early-stage businesses in China, and has served as the Chairman of the Asia Regional Advisory Board since December 2018.
Carman Chan is the founder and managing partner of Click Ventures. Click Ventures invests in startups in consumer internet, mobile, and SaaS industries. Carman is also the vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Business Angel Network.
Melissa Guzy is the managing partner and founder of Arbor Ventures. Arbor Ventures invests in the Big Data, FinTech, and Digital Commerce industries. Melissa has previously invested in various startups, including iWatt and Pure Digital, the latter of which was acquired by Cisco.
Richard Chan is the managing partner of Berkeley Frontier Fund and Iron Fire Ventures. Iron Fire Ventures invests in startups in enterprise software, artificial intelligence, marketplaces, and consumption upgrades categories.
Tytus Michalski is the managing partner of Fresco Capital. Fresco Capital invests in early-stage businesses in the technology industry.
Angel investor groups are bands of investors who pool their money together to invest in startups. The goal of an angel investor group is to help entrepreneurs get funding for their startups.
Here are five angel investor groups for Hong Kong startups.
Angel investment network Hong Kong has over two hundred thousand active investors. To get funding, entrepreneurs should to follow these steps:
There are four plans on the site with varying rates, shown below.
VIA is a group of active angel investors interested in funding businesses in the information & technology, cleantech, health care, and financial technologies sectors.
The leaders of VIA are business executives with track records:
Nisa Leung is the managing partner of Qiming Ventures Partners, and she is also a board member for several organizations such as Nurotron and Zai Laboratories.
Jon Bond is CEO of Bond Ventures and has 20 years of experience in financial services. Jeffrey Cheung has investment and management experience in various industries, and he is the founder of Crossgate Advisors Limited.
Frederick Demopoulos was a senior executive at The News Corporation and Netease. Andrew Teoh was Head of Corporate Finance at Alibaba Group, and he co-founded Ikaria Capital Limited. Denis Tse has 15 years of experience in fund investment and private equity.
TiE is a non-profit venture founded in 1992 by senior professionals, business entrepreneurs, and corporate executives. TiE funds business in all industries and stages and has five foundational programs: mentoring, funding, incubation, education, and networking.
Big Bloom investors are always looking for businesses of all industries to invest into. Big Bloom has a simple five-step process that entrepreneurs should follow to get funding.
HKBAN was founded in 2010 and is an investment matching platform for university start-ups. HKBAN holds investment matching groups every two months where start-ups present their business plans for the chance to be selected.
The network has several partner groups including but not limited to the Hong Kong Design Centre, Hong Kong ICT Awards, and The University of Hong Kong.
Growth stage funding mostly comes from venture capital (VC) firms, where VC firms typically invest in companies that have a product or service with some early customers. There are often multiple rounds of funding offered by VC firms.
The first round is seed funding followed by series A, B, and C. Seed funding is critical for early financial support that helps companies to finance activities like product development and market research, where series A to C funding is for companies that are past the development stage and are looking to take their businesses to a higher level.
Let’s look at some of the venture capital firms that offer growth stage funding in Hong Kong.
Apax Partners has been around for over 50 years funding business in the tech, internet, consumer, healthcare, and services sectors. Apax firm seeks to inspire teams, support transformation improvements, and accelerate growth in new companies.
Apax has invested in a number of tech companies such as T-Mobile Netherlands, Coalfire Systems, and Azentio.
Golden Gate Ventures was founded in 2011 and has funded over 60 companies since. The company invests in businesses that offer technology products and services, including B2B SaaS services and apps.
Golden Gate portfolio includes companies spread across many countries like Stripe, AngelList, and Tradegecko.
Nova Founders Capital is an investment company that invests in businesses in the financial services sector. The company has partnered with investment firms such as Stem Financial and the Pacific Century Group.
Nova has invested in companies such as StartechAsiam Edirect, and the Compare Group Asia.
Founded in 2013, Vectr funds entrepreneurs looking for seed to series A rounds of funding. Vectr provides support beyond funding to businesses through their studio and growth teams, such as commercialization support and product development.
Some of the notable Vectr investments include Accern, Dirty Labs, and Paradigm.
MindWorks Ventures funds businesses that create new ecosystems looking for Series A and B funding. The company has an investment team of 8 investment professionals and a management team of five professionals.
MindWorks has invested in companies such as ABC fintech, Dolphin, Chain of Demand, and PanexWD International.
Gobi Partners is one of the longest-standing venture capital firms with a Pan-Asian presence across North Asia, South Asia, and ASEAN. Founded in 2002, Gobi Partners invested over 320 startups and has raised a total of $440.5M across 13 funds, their latest being Gobi SuperSeed II (Gobi SSII) Fund to which it successfully closed a US$ 10million Malaysia – focused fund following the participation of Allianz Malaysia as a Limited Partner (LP).
Gobi Partners were honoured with various recognitions such as Investor Of The Year for two consecutive years (2020 & 2021) at Global Startup Awards.
Finding the right investment partner and package is often a matter of weighing different options. As a business owner, you should look at what types of investors you prefer working with, as well as which type of investor can best support your needs, and consider the right amount of funding you think you need to take your business to the next stage.