Hong Kong is cementing itself as not only a competitive locale for start-ups, but it’s paving a world leading platform for the FinTech community — evidenced at Hong Kong’s latest start-up accelerator, SuperCharger Demo Day on April 7. The event was the culmination of purportedly the world’s most successful accelerator program and presented a platform for eight chosen start-ups to make their final pitch to thought leaders, moneylenders and business builders.
Addressing the audience of over 250 attendees was the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So. “With so much talent and investment joining this exciting area, our FinTech ecosystem indeed has a very bright future,” So said. “The Hong Kong Government will continue to facilitate the development of this ecosystem. Invest Hong Kong has been providing a one-stop service to assist FinTech companies. We want to facilitate our FinTech stakeholders to use Hong Kong as a lab, a showcase and a global launch pad.”
Hong Kong is proving itself to be one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in the world. According to a survey released by InvestHK in September 2015, Hong Kong saw an increase of 46 percent, compared to a similar poll the year before. The top sector was Information, Computer and Technology with 19 percent share of the market.
“I would like to congratulate all the participants pitching here this afternoon. You are part of the very first start-ups in Hong Kong to help kick-start our FinTech ecosystem. You all play an important role in enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong. You should be proud of that,” So said.
The event, held at the Maritime Museum, presented a stage of symbiotic contrasts. The atmosphere was in itself charged with a packed room of executives from financial services and the FinTech community. As a traditional junk boat passed in the background, the founder of SuperCharger Janos Barberis spoke about the importance of FinTech innovation in Hong Kong for businesses around the world.
“Hong Kong provides an Asian gateway particularly for companies looking to do business within China or those looking to expand out,” Barberis stated. “The agility, innovation and talent these start-ups are able to demonstrate will no doubt cement Hong Kong as a leader.”
SuperCharger, which took only six months from idea to execution, has been supported by a number of partners and founding sponsors including Standard Chartered, Baidu and TusPark Global Network.
Standard Chartered’s Regional Chief Information Officer, Ericson Chan, spoke about the importance of being a part of this high growth ecosystem. “I want to congratulate these eight companies who have demonstrated an extremely ambitious focus on executing results over the last 12 weeks,” Chan stated. “Right now is the right time to facilitate innovation and we are partnering with these individuals who are passionate about FinTech.”
Chan went on to talk about Standard Chartered’s involvement with the accelerator and its success. “We had great cross-industry collaboration from different players in the Hong Kong and China FinTech ecosystem and it provided the start-ups with opportunities to build on their strategies and businesses.”
Barberis, a millennial recognized as a top-35 global FinTech leader, has worked solely in the FinTech industry and recognises the need to balance passion and dynamism with the years of experience the financial industry holds. “By having older more experienced people as a part of the team helps ‘supercharge’ the ideas. Each company has come loaded with experience yet due to their size they can adapt quickly and efficiently,” said Barberis.
Each of the eight SuperCharger start-ups made it abundantly clear during their presentations how each have made significant traction within their niche and achieved significant business results. In fact, the results have been so outstanding that SuperCharger believes it to be the most successful accelerator in the world.
“We are hands down the world’s most successful FinTech accelerator when looking at the growth metric of our companies,” Barberis stated.
Considering the average age of these companies is seven months for the early stage and six years for the late stage, it’s clear that these organizations have the right formula. So where to from here? According to Barberis, they are reviewing all the elements that have made the SuperCharger so successful by understanding the feedback from the participants, sponsors and the wider FinTech community.
“This will allow us to grow stronger for the next group as well continue to provide support to our current start ups. They are our first Alumni of the SuperCharger,” said Barberis.
Start Up Quotes:
“The SuperCharger Accelerator is a great platform and the cross pollination between businesses was invaluable.” Abhinav Sinha, CEO, EKO Financial Services.
“We’ve made lots of progress and it was great working with other groups,” David Rosa, Co-Founder, NEAT.
“The Supercharger was a great accelerator program. Over the course of the 12 weeks we have been able to connect with many clients, partners and meet several investors. It was great to work with the other start-ups and with the SuperCharger team. We will stay connected I am sure,” Phillippe El-Asmar, Founding Partner.
By Claire Mclennan