March 5, 2019
Hong Kong Convention Center
Asia-based accelerator Zeroth.ai celebrated its fourth cohort (#Z04) with a jam-packed Demo Day of 15 startups who pitched to investors and the media. The AI-focused program opened its doors in Hong Kong in 2017, and has grown every year with Founding Partner Tak Lo and an experienced team.
#Z04 was the first cohort since Zeroth expanded the program to India and Japan; five startups from the new locations were flown in to pitch out of the total 30.
With so many teams presenting, the tightly-packed schedule left no room for delays. Lo took the stage after a brief introduction from Partner Raymond Yip.
“We’ve achieved some of the most amazing things in this cohort,” said Lo, adding that in the past few years of Zeroth’s operation, he’s seen startups “turn critique into conviction, and doubt into determination.”
Hong Kong Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nick Yang also gave a brief speech, highlighting what appeared to be the theme of the event: internationality. The Hong Kong cohort already boasted teams hailing from Europe and the U.S., and with the addition of Indian and Japanese teams, the #Z04 event was the most global Demo Day yet.
“Hong Kong, contrary to what many people think, is actually developing very fast,” he said. “The ecosystem for innovation and technology has flourished. I’m happy to say about 30% of the startups in Hong Kong are [founded] by entrepreneurs coming from outside Hong Kong.”
All the teams on stage had impressive pilot contracts or user stats under their belts. The overall quality of the teams in #Z04 was something Yip commented on as an example of the program’s growth over the past years.
His hope for #Z05, which will start in summer 2019, is for Zeroth to continue on its track of becoming more international, and to attract the innovators and creative visionaries–the “crazy ones,” as Lo referred to them.
Zeroth isn’t looking for “something that’s just[…]another app, or another game,” but companies that “actually make a lasting impact–10, 20, or even 50 years down the line.” –NB