Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Startup Mistakes

“If you are building a consumer application, do not outsource the coding. Building the right consumer application requires many iterations. If you outsource the development, the app will work according to your initial specifications, but the structure of the code is very poor most of the time, which means it will cost a lot/take a long time to make iterations, costing you precious time/resources that could have been utilized to run tests and learn user behaviors.”

Kenneth Lee, Director, CLINK

“After a decade spent building startups, I feel that underestimating timelines and overestimating potential revenues is the biggest mistake a startup can make, especially the anticipation on what could, would, or should happen. In other words, a deal is not done until it is done, signed, paid, sealed and delivered.”

Philippe Joly, Co-founder, ClickSUMO

“One of the main mistakes I’ve made in starting up previous ventures was not choosing the right business partners. Starting up a business [together] is like getting married, but we didn’t do any ‘due diligence’ or assess how we’d complement each other, what level of commitment was needed, how we would split responsibilities, etc. Oh, and we did not put anything in writing. Big mistake!”

Pol Fabrega, Co-Founder, Rooftop Republic Urban Farming

“Not placing an emphasis to the talent acquisition function was very costly to our business. When we first started, we screened candidates solely by resumes and did not take the time to understand their personalities and career goals. By acknowledging the fact that our employees are our greatest asset through countless trial and error, we were able to refine our processes and recruit talented individuals through various channels –  such as our internship program – who not only check all the boxes on the job description, but share our passion and fit in with our company culture.”

Ivan Ng, CEO &  Founder, FindDoc

“Our biggest start-up mistake was underestimating how much we could undermine our own progress. As first time co-founders of a start-up in the social space, the learning curve was really steep. Overthinking and perfectionism only postponed the necessary discomfort involved in learning; they didn’t eliminate it.”

Belinda Poole & Sarah Fowler, Co-Founders, LocalMotion

“My biggest startup mistake was not putting the right governance in place when it comes to partnerships. When forming a partnership, even if you are working with your best friends, it’s best to err on the cautious side by clearly laying down shareholding structures, responsibilities and KPIs. Not having them at the beginning causes difficult discussions down the road and risks losing the company all together.”

Xania Wong, CEO and Co-Founder, JOBDOH


“To work too long on a product, trying to make it ‘perfect’, before putting it into the hands of customers.”

Patrick Kosiol, Co-Founder & CEO, Swapit

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