After finalizing those complicated company registration process as well as the intricate procedures for setting up a business account in Hong Kong, we eventually come to the most exciting and exhilarating step for your start-up, the fund-raising process. Every startup has to go through the tough and zero profit-earning period in the beginning or mid-stage of their business while quite a number of startups are not able to survive due to lack of funding.
The important turning point is the stable and continuous support from trustworthy investors who play the most influential role during your initial stage. As mentioned by Shing Chow (founder of a startup, Lalamove), ‘finding an investor to back you is like finding a girl who will marry you.’ The relationship between startup and investor is just like a marriage which is built on compromise and dedication. A startup founder makes a promise to her investor who trusts it and pays for its future.
Although this relation seems to be glorious, there are still external factors affecting your fund-raising process, especially in Hong Kong, such a competitive market where consists of sufficient but limited resources. Therefore, as a startup founder, you should always enrich yourself and be ready for any opportunities to expand your business.
Stay Focus, Keep Passionating, Show Ambition
Coming to this step, as a startup founder, you should have completely understood the potential of your own business ideas. Your passion and motivation on the project should be kept on endlessly since your enthusiasm is one of the most important criteria to attract investors. Your ideas may not be feasible at the moment but your belief to achieve it is what the investor is looking for.
As a startup founder, you have nothing to lose so you should never limit your own creation by any boundaries. Understanding the preference of different customers while searching for a “no-one’s land” for your own business. The uniqueness of your plan is vital in beating out the other participants during the pitching session. Furthermore, the most common mistake made by a startup in Hong Kong is the lack of confidence and eagerness to develop a global business. A sound local business may be hard to be comparable to a future global enterprise in the eyes of investors.
Throughout your starting up process, you ought to be proactive and treat networking as your daily task. You can not only spread and introduce your business ideas to different potential investors or strategic partners, but you can also constantly revise your business plan and make appropriate changes. Earlier you show your aggression to improve, the more chances you can achieve it.
Budgeting and Timeline of your business
A fancy idea is only the key to enter the market while a carefully prepared financial plan can lead you to the finishing line. After you have completely understood the direction of your startup, you should be able to estimate the number of resources required in the upcoming years for maintaining a stable development. There are several areas that may be reasonable for you to take into account:
- Office Requirement
- Labor Cost
- Legal Expenditure
- Taxes / Insurance
- Marketing & Advertising
Working in a coworking space can significantly lower your cost in office requirement. WYND coworking space is always assisting startups to facilitate their development with economical working place, you may check out more here.
In addition to your overall budgeting, the timeline of your business should also be mentioned clearly. A well-organized timetable is essential to the growth of your business and it can enhance and facilitate the productivity of your team by pushing them towards the deadline. Even though the development should never be stopped, you should also define the optimal stage for your business so that the development is much more goal-focused.
During the demonstration of your own business, apart from the innovative ideas, a comprehensive proposal with a good budgeting and well-arranged timetable will make your business be more persuasive and convincing to investors and judges.
Hong Kong is filled with investors and supporting organization for startups as we encourage innovation among our societies. As a start-up founder, you should carry out inclusive research concerning your potential investors. A medium or low-interest group with matching nature should also be your targets as they can become your stepping stones to the pool of greater investors.
The focus is to gain as much as possible experience from different programmes and pitching sessions so that your business plan can further be refined. Based on your industry, culture and budget, there are always suitable programmes for your business. Below, there are several great startup campaigns operated by governmental departments and private organizations while you may match with them potentially, GOOD LUCK!
There are two major fund-raising programmes provided by the Cyberport for digital tech startups in Hong Kong:
a. Cyberport Creative Micro Fund – Hong Kong (Next Deadline: 2 Dec 2019)
Three sections combined including screening, vetting and presentation are needed. This programme is designed for startups while it provides HK100,000 grant seed funding for participants to use over six months to prove their ideas and products. Besides, during the process, Cyberport will fully support those startups with working space, mentorship, investment connection, networking opportunities and promotion. Past successful cases include GOGOVAN, oneCHARGE and lulio.
b. Cyberport Incubation Programme (Next Deadline: 2 Dec 2019)
This programme is targeting a bit more mature startups in digital tech while it consists of the similar procedure as above and provides up to HK$500,000 funding for participants to further develop their business to the next stage. This acceleration process lasts for over 24 months providing an even more comprehensive platform to enhance startup business development, like Klook and Shopline.
Applying for the programme and Register here.
Connecting with amazing partners from R&D, investment, marketing to business support, HKSTP provides an excellent combination of infrastructures and facilities for boosting the development of science-related startup business in Hong Kong.
Incu-App: A 2-year programme for electronics, green and information technology includes workplace and connection with top performers in their field providing up to HKD$860,000 financial support to startups.
Incu-Tech: Similar background as Incu-App, but this programme provides a more professional service for enhancing the startup’s escalation with a longer, 3-year commitment, but a larger funding size up to HK$1,290,000.
Incu-Bio: This campaign is designed for biomedical tech startups in Hong Kong with all-round business and network support giving up to HK$6,000,000 over the 4-year of the incubation period.
Applying for the programme and Register here.
Apart from the incubation programme, HKSTP also provides lots of opportunities for startups to search for their investment via events and collaboration with other service providers, here are two recent fund-raising events held by HKSTP:
Elevator Pitching Competition (8 Nov 2019)
100 innovative startup finalists from different countries will come to Hong Kong and compete for the opportunity to meet with individual investors getting up to US$150,000.
Partnering with pwc, this 2-year fund-raising programme between 2019 and 2021 covers up not only popular industries, like finance and real estate, but also some underestimated one, for instance, entertainment, lifestyle and healthcare. Mentorship, fund-raising training as well as advertising resources are distributed with experts during the process. It aims at assisting all the participant to find the most suitable investors for their startups.
🚩JUMPSTARTER – Global Pitching Competition
Initiated by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, it is a non-profiting earning global events for providing an enormous funding and development platform for startups in Hong Kong. Four major industries for this event are retail, fintech, smart city together with deep tech. This amazing event is giving chances for quality startups to showcase and deepen their network. Pitching your mind-changing ideas to global investors for winning up to US$5,000,0000 investment as well as a US$100,000 cash prize. Wholly backed up by HSBC, InvestHK and other giants in the market, it is absolutely a great opportunity for startups to meet with international investors and gain valuable experience from them. You may check out more with this leaflet and visit their website for further information.
Applying for the programme and Register here.
HKTDC aims at creating as many as possible opportunities for Hong Kong companies, especially SMEs and startups while it helps them to explore the market and search for investment and cooperation opportunities. It holds international conferences and exhibitions for startups to introduce their concepts to the world and all the upcoming activities are listed here. The most recent one:
HKTDC SmartBiz Expo (4 – 6 Dec, 2019)
Grouped with startups and SMEs, this event is created for participants to meet up with potential investors, partners and suppliers. There will be seminars about business development and multiple areas for specific industries – smart city, smart living and commerce or other business. Reserve your position in the exhibition now and make your idea become well-known.
Startup Impact Summit 2020 (SIS#20)
Although it is not targeted to be a fund-raising event, it is a meaningful event for startups’ founder to attend. Under the StartmeupHK Festival, the whole event is packed with local and foreign startups who are eager to share their success and look for collaboration. Since all the three organizing companies have been working in the startup industries for many years, their charisma and networking power are impressive. What you can earn from this affair is valuable experience and investment opportunities in the form of partnership.
Don’t miss any chance to upgrade your business and find for possibilities, join it now here.
📝Other than these fund-raising programs, there are other opportunities provided by the HKSAR government under its funding scheme, further details can be found out in the last blog here.
Your time is precious, so as your investors After investigating the above programmes and events for funding, have you picked one of them for your business? WYND believes that every startup has its own potential to stand out in the crowd and the determining point is whether you have paid extra passion for it or not. If you are eager to make your dream come true, come and join us at WYND, we are always here to explore the world with you and your startup.
Come and join us, check out more in WYND and we’re ready to help for start-up all the time.