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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 15 November 2020


Hong Kong insurtech startup Coherent gets $14 million Series A led by Cathay Innovation

Based in Hong Kong, Coherent helps insurance providers go digital. With their services more relevant than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup announced it has raised $14 million in new funding. The Series A round, led by Cathay Innovation with participation from Franklin Templeton, will be used to grow Coherent’s  client base in Asia, including insurers who want to add more digital services to their usual sales processes because of the pandemic.

Founded in 2018, Coherent’s platform, called Product Factory, allows insurance providers to digitize their backend operations by uploading Excel pricing models, which means their IT departments don’t need to write new code or re-haul their IT infrastructure.

The company also offers three tools for working with customers. Coherent Connect is a social media marketing campaign manager; Coherent Explainer is a sales tool for breaking down quotes; and Coherent Flow allows agents to sell policies to customers remotely with features like video chat and electronic signatures.

HKSTP's First-Ever Virtual Elevator Pitch Competition 2020 Opens New Investment and Partnership Opportunities for Global Startups

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) held its annual Elevator Pitch Competition 2020 (EPiC) virtually for the first time to unveil new and exciting pitching, investment and partnership opportunities as global startups face a challenging business landscape. US-based biotechnology startup, Mi Terro, topped other finalists to be crowned champion and claimed the top prize at the competition today.

HKSTP’s annual flagship event this year expanded to a week-long virtual programme. It garnered a great response with over 77,000 live views at today’s pitching competition. This year, EPiC attracted 476 entries from 37 countries and cities across five continents. A total of 170 contestants from 31 different markets entered the semi-final round, with nearly 70% of them coming from overseas.


McDonald’s to launch a McPlant vegetarian option

McDonald’s is developing what it calls a plant-based platform called the McPlant that will debut in markets around the world early next year, according to a report in USA Today.

In an investor meeting, McDonald’s announced that it had worked to develop its McPlant formulation exclusively. “McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” Ian Borden, McDonald’s international president, said at an investor meeting, quoted by USA Today.

The company’s special formulation could extend across plant-based products, including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches, according to Borden.

Hopin raises $125M for its online events platform on the back of surging growth

This morning Hopin, a startup that provides online events software, announced that it has closed a $125 million Series B round of capital. The new funds come mere months after Hopin raised a $40 million Series A this summer.

According to Hopin  CEO Johnny Boufarhat, the new capital was raised at a $2.125 billion valuation, making Hopin a double unicorn. IVP, a prior investor, and new investor Tiger Global led the round. A host of other investors took part in the round, including Northzone, Salesforce Ventures, Seedcamp, Accel, DFJ Growth and Coatue.

That the startup raised more capital is not a surprise, this being the third round in 2020 that Hopin has announced. Its virtual events technology caught a tailwind when COVID-19 cancelled travel and in-person events all around the world. Suddenly, Hopin’s vision of hosting events online was the only way to hold confabs. (TechCrunch is a Hopin customer, which had no bearing on our choosing to cover this funding event but felt worth mentioning.)

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