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Hong Kong’s New Hot Thing: Hardware & Internet of Things

3 Hong Kong Hardware Startups You Should Know in 2017

Known for being the world’s financial center, Hong Kong doesn’t just stop there. We are working even harder to become the nerve center for entrepreneurs to build FinTech and hardware startups. And don’t you worry, the fragrance harbor is steadily working its way up with luck on its side. With excellent proximity to Shenzhen, China — the world’s largest, most cost-effective manufacturer and support from the local government, many hardware and IoT startups opt to base in Hong Kong for the optimal growth.

Soundbrenner

You’ve been outsmarted if you thought smartwatches only served the function of tracking your heart rate or counting the number of steps you take per day. Soundbrenner Pulse — a wearable smart device for musicians (which looks like a smartwatch, but in fact) is a metronome that vibrates pulses on your body with every beat, has successfully revolutionized the musician’s experience.

Originally founded in Berlin in January 2014, Soundbrenner found its way to Hong Kong in 2015 as it partnered with hardware.co and Brinc, an IoT accelerator specializing on hardware. Their first crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo for their flagship product has secured them over US$230,000. Alongside with investors from CoCoon Ignite Ventures and Asgard Capital, another US$500,000 was raised. It doesn’t end there — Soundbrenner also won “Pitch Runner up 2015” at the international web summit RISE. Now with the total disclosed funding of US$2M, Soundbrenner has offices in Berlin, Los Angeles and headquarters in Hong Kong’s PMQ.

You can now get your very own revolutionized metronome at Tom Lee or Parkland Music that connects the device to mobile and desktop apps with extensive features such as setting custom rhythms and multi-player synchronization.

GoBee.Bike

A swift swipe of the QR code on your mobile app will take you off blasting in your very own sharp green GoBee.Bike. Quite literally jumping on the bandwagon of mainland China’s bike-sharing craze, GoBee.Bike is Hong Kong’s first service platform allowing cyclists to rent and drop off bikes around the city at HK$5 per half hour.

The startup has just raised US$9 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm Grishin Robotics, with participation by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF). GoBee.Bike’s Seed funding was led by Swiss Founders Fund along with participation from Cocoon Ignite Ventures, Lastminute.com founder, Lamivoie Capital, Goldman Sachs alumni and other angel investors.

Starting with only 1000 bikes in the New Territories, it has increased to 20,000 units in July and is expecting full coverage of the city by the end of the year. App developers are working hard expanding their users from android to including ios as well.

So, how do you use it? Download the Gobee.bike app to register your credit card. Then, find your nearest bicycle using the active map device that connects the solar-charged bikes that are paired with GPS smart locks. Unlock it by scanning the QR code. And voila — you have it!

Good Parents

Founded two years ago in September 2015, Good Parents is a children’s health technology startup. After receiving US$500,000 from angel investors in December 2015, Hong Kong’s IoT accelerator, Brinc, pitched in its venture in the following year in March. Along with contribution from Singapore’s Jungle Ventures, Fireside Ventures, Bio Sensors International, and Gaja Ventures, they have successfully raised US$2 million in its seed investment round in October 2016. The three rounds brought its total disclosed equity funding to US$2.5 million.

Their flagship product — Kiddo is a “consumer device which monitors key biometrics and can detect irregular patterns” targeted towards children aged 3–10 years old. The device is connected to a mobile app where the child’s health data insights are presented to the parents. This means measuring and reporting the child’s stress levels, emotions, activity, nutrition and sleep intake in real time.

Good Parents is propelling full speed with its funds by partnering with Samsung and Foods for Health Institute based at the University of California Davis to refine its functionalities so that parents can find out whether their child is sick. After the trade show launch at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Kiddo is officially available on Kickstarter for sale for US$99.

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