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5 in 5 minutes - April 07

Hong Kong Startup News Round Up

1. #EventRecap: Fintech O2O Insurtech Meetup

The recent FinTech O2O Meetup hosted by NexChange on March 28th at Cyberport was regarding the vertical “InsurTech”.  The event saw a wide variety of attendees, ranging from startups, law firms, insurance firms, recruitment firms and venture capitalists. Besides Nexchange, other startups at the event included WHub, AD Medilink, Entersoft, NexChange, E-Learn2grow, Agorize, Seasonalife, CXA, and Convolab. Law firms present included Duff & Phelps, and Bird & Bird. Large insurance firms were represented by AIA, AXA, and FWD Life Insurance.

The first half of the evening featured speakers such as Mr. David Ng (Director of Commercial Digital Strategy, AIA) and Mr. Padraig Walsh (Partner, Bird & Bird), among others. The speakers highlighted key issues that need to be addressed by regulations: Data disclosure and Disintermediation, i.e. the change in insurance distribution channels. Given the huge amount of data being collected, interesting questions arise such as: "What if the insurer knows more about you than you yourself due to access to multiple data points?" While there are no ready nor simple answers, the consensus arose around the fact that the most important thing is to have a community that works together to address these issues. Startup firms Seasonalife, CXA, and Convolab also gave a short pitch about their product and answered questions from the audience.  

This was then followed by a panel discussion which included again Mr. David Ng (AIA), Ms. Marine Boris (Head of Innovation and Partnerships, AXA China Region), Ms. Christina Cheung (AVP Digital Commerce, FWD Life Insurance) and Mr. Gary Meggitt (Director, Asian Institute of International Financial Law, The University of Hong Kong). Moderated by Mr. Lapman Lee (Duff and Phelps), the panelists highlighted some of the ways in which large insurance firms are partnering with startups to re-engage customers. While Ms. Cheung shared how going digital was enabling a higher level of customer centricity, Ms. Boris underlined one of the key technology challenges that insurance firms face: Leveraging technology to not only increase customer base but also their loyalty. Regarding partnering with startups, Mr. Ng mentioned that given the large amount of data that insurance firms need, startups that address these pain points and can work well with data will be looked upon favorably by the incumbents. With the large insurance firms adopting different digital strategies, there certainly seems to be a lot of areas where startups can collaborate with incumbents to add value within the Insurtech/Regtech space.

2. Side by Side launches Kickstart Campaign for its Power Packer

The POWER PACKER from Side by Side is a slim pack for all your cords, plugs and tech essentials. The POWER PACKER has three major compartment which allows users to keep their electronics and cables nice and tidy. Starting the idea in mind back in June 2016, the Side by Side team started prototyping in January 2017 and has officially launched their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in April 2017.

Side by Side set the goal to pledge HK$50,000. With 27 more days before the campaign ends, Side by Side has successfully raised HK$59,985 from 208 backers.

Click here to support the project

3. ActiMirror launches AR virtual make-up app

The Hong Kong-based IoT startup actiMirror has launched an AR virtual make-up app for smart mirrors at Insight Retail Live Sydney. The app enables users to connect smart mirror with an upgraded camera and touch screen capabilities. ActiMirror can deliver both real-time customized experiences to consumers and data analytics insights to businesses.

“With data, you do not need an opinion, without data, you just have an opinion,” said Victor M. Ruiz, CEO at actiMirror

4. AdAsia raises US$12M, sets eyes to IPO

AdAsia Holdings, a Singapore-based AdTech startup has raised US$12 million Series A funding led by the Tech-focused venture capital firm JAFCO Asia. The deal is one of the largest rounds in Southeast Asia in 2017. The startup units marketing, advertising and publishing all on one platform.

The funding will be used for business expansion into China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, and Malaysia this year. The startup also wants to grow its team to a team of 400 by the end of 2018.

5. China's FinTech startup Wecash raises US$80M

Wecash, a Beijing-based FinTech startup, has raised US$80 million Series C funding in a round led by China Merchants Innovation Investment Management, Forebright Capital Management, and SIG.

Founded three years ago, Wecash is the first online credit evaluation platform in China. It has raised US$6.6 million in a Series A round and US$20 million in Series B prior to this round of funding. The funds will be used to power its artificial intellegence as well as to build a research team in machine-learning chips, in addition to fuel its oversea expansion.

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