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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - December 15

5 in 5 minutes

Fintech Startup Nanopay Forms a Partnership with Canadian Interbank Interac

This month, startup Nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by Nanopay.

“We’re a good example of how FinTechs can collaborate within the industry and accelerate innovation by working with incumbent providers — the FIs — and give them the benefit of the innovation rather than running around trying to take their customers,” said Cooke. “They already have the customers; we’re just making the experience better.”

Li Ka-Shing Invests in Hong Kong AI Start-up Fano Labs to Parse Chinese Call Centre Industry’s Tower of Babel

Fano Labs, which is a specialist in natural language processing (NLP) technology, received last month an undisclosed amount of funding from Li Ka-Shing's private investment arm, Horizons Ventures, and is expected to drive its expansion plans in China’s call centre industry, including setting up new offices and research facilities.

Fano Labs currently processes calls in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Sichuanese for several clients, the startup is keen to add more dialects to meet demand in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s call centres are forecast to have the capacity to answer about two million calls at any given moment by 2020, up from an estimated 580,000 back in 2012, according to Shenzhen-based consulting firm AskCI.

It also predicted investments in China’s call centre industry will reach 262 billion yuan (US$39.6 billion) by 2020.

Kami Raises US$1.7 Million for Its Conversational AI Platform and Technology

Kami, an award-winning conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, announced an over-subscribed seed investment round of US$1.7 million. This includes investments from ARM Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator Limited, a subsidiary of Softbank, X Technology Fund (HKX) and Tin Fu Fund, set up by Founder Joe Butt, former Director of Unisplendour Technology Limited. 

As a deep-tech specialist in the space of AI and Software Engineering, Kami creates literate machines that can reason, remember and communicate. This strategic investment enables further research and development of its technology platform which combines unique neural networks and machine learning algorithms, pivotal to taking Conversational AI to the next level.

Kami's CEO, Alex Cheung commented, "We are delighted that our notable investors have validated our vision to change the conversation and disrupt the conversational AI landscape. Kami is focused on delivering the next generation AI conversational platform so businesses can reinvent their customer and advisory services. Superlative dialogue and exchange are crucial to building customer trust and meeting global business demands and Kami has the expertise to deliver this."

ZhenHub Wins USD$20,000 and Snatches the 3rd Place at K-Startup Grand Challenge

ZhenHub snatches 3rd place and a prize of USD$20,000 competing against 49 finalists at the prestigious K-Startup Grand Challenge in Seoul, South Korea. K-Startup Grand Challenge is an annual Korean government program designed “to promote the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia and to assist Korea’s evolution into a prominent startup business hub in the region.”

ZhenHub was selected out of 1,515 teams applying from 118 countries as the only Hong Kong-based startup and the only tech-driven logistics startup to participate.

“Korea is a top priority in our global expansion plan because of the country’s maturity in technology and its prominence in the global economy. With nearly a 50 billion dollar export market and over 90 billion dollars worth of imports from China - where we have a strong network of over 10 distribution and fulfilment centres - Korea is obviously the right place to be,” says Vincent Poon, CEO and Cofounder of ZhenHub.

Campfire is Launching its Flagship Location in Causeway Bay in 2018!

Campfire Collaborative Spaces, a co-working space service provider headquartered in Hong Kong, will open its twelfth site in V Point, Causeway Bay, in July 2018. This will mark Campfire’s tenth shared space opening and the largest coworking operator by committed floor space in Hong Kong.

Campfire’s rapid expansion highlights the ongoing demand for co-working space amid Hong Kong’s tight vacancy environment. According to CBRE Research, Hong Kong had a total of 692,000 sq. ft. of co-working space supply at the beginning of 2017. By the end of November, the sector grew to 1.1 million sq. ft., a 59% increase in less than a year.

By opening in Causeway Bay, Campfire hopes to attract the influx of startups and FinTech firms flocking to the area. Offering lower rents compared to Central without compromising on convenience, Causeway Bay has grown to become a hub for entrepreneurs in Hong Kong.

 

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