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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 12 April 2021

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Explorium Hong Kong will be suspending their operations

Recently Explorium announced that as of May 11th 2021, they will be suspending the programs and operations in Hong Kong. Explorium is an innovation hub in Hong Kong with the purpose of learning, experimenting and scaling the ideas, opportunities and business models that will shape the future of supply chains. 

Explorium, powered by the Fung Group, works with a community of incubators and accelerators in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Although you will not find them at their usual Lai Chi Kok space, the Explorium community of innovating through exploration will live on.


Chinese startups rush to bring alternative protein to people’s plates

In three major Chinese cities, McDonald’s introduced five new breakfast items, one being a luncheon meat substitutes produced by Green Monday. As eating less meat has become one of the simplest ways to reduce an individual’s carbon footprint and help fight climate change, alternative meat companies are striving to catch the eye of the young, trendy, and eco-conscious urbanities. 

Partnering with fast food chains has allowed companies to promote alternative protein to the masses as these products are often pricey and aimed at the wealthy. Alongside KFC and local competitor Dicos which introduced their own plant-based products last year, McDonald’s hope its pea-and-soy-based, zero-cholesterol, luncheon meat substitute will carve out a piece of China’s dining market.


Hydrogen Plane Startup Boosted by Gates and Li Ka-shing Funds

ZeroAvia Inc., a startup working to make hydrogen-powered airplanes, raised $24.3 million from investors, including funds backed by Bill Gates and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. 

The startup aims to use its funding to scale up their hydrogen-powered propulsion system to work with large planes, ones that could carry at least 50 passengers. The company aims to run its planes entirely on hydrogen rather than use a hybrid of battery-power and hydrogen. In aviation, hydrogen can be seen as the key fuel to cutting emissions. 


SoftBank, BlackRock Lead $640 Million Funding for Startup Trax

Trax, a Singapore-based startup serving the retail industry founded in 2010, recently raised $640 million from investors, led by SoftBank, currently the largest shareholder of the company, and BlackRock Inc. to bankroll its global expansion. This round has valued Trax at more than $3 billion. 

Trax aims to use this recent round to expand its so-called service, dynamic merchandising, which combines computer-vision and machine-learning platforms with Uber-like on demand workers to help customers keep their shelves stocked. 


Self-driving sensor startup Innoviz rallies in Wall Street debut

On Tuesday, Innoviz Technologies (INVZ), an Israel-based self-driving car sensor startup founded in 2016, rallied 10.6%, close to $10.79 a share on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. 

The company has a partnership with BMW to sell its first generation of sensors, which cost around $1000. The second generation senor plans to ‘disrupt’ the industry as its price would be halved to less than $500. 

CEO, Omer Keilaf, believes that ultimately the sensors would become smaller and cheaper and over time cost less than $100. In Q2, Innoviz hopes to ramp up production at its plant in Michigan to meet the growing demand from the auto industry for lidar technology. The startup projects its revenue growth will be about $237 million in 2024, from about $9 million this year.


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