The farewell talk I gave in Hong Kong after running Startups Unplugged and AcceleratorHK. Summing up the last year, some observations, suggestions and opportunities for startups in Hong Kong. Updates provided at: startupsunplugged.com
Farewell, Hong Kong Startups!
It's hard to make predictions,
especially about the future.
You can observe a lot just by
If you don't know where you're
going, you might not get there.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
-- Yogi Berra
Startups Unplugged #1
Startups Unplugged #2
Startups Unplugged #3
AcceleratorHK #1 AcceleratorHK #2
One year ……..What I did this year.
We Are HK Tech list
13 Startups Unplugged startups.
4 traveled to HK for the program.
12 AcceleratorHK startups.
6 traveled to HK for the program.
250 one-to-one first-time meetings with other startupers.
50 were HK visitors. I lost track of other meetings (500?)
One year .…….What I did this year.
Startups Unplugged sponsor
Thank You, Mentors! (as of July 2013)
Steve Forte Po Chi Wu Dominic
Jason Li Nick Ho
What Didn’t Work What Happened
Nanofund: HK$1,000 to
talk about work, get help.
Got questions, not applications.
Group to talk to parents
to let their kids join
Lots of attention and volunteers.
No students asked for help.
startup services together.
Attention, but few sales. Didn’t
have right mix? Revisit in future.
HK Startup Survey: 40
responses to long survey.
Collected data, needed more time
to write it up.
WeAreHKTech (version 1) Original name for a HK
accelerator. Without funding,
turned into Startups Unplugged.
Being too nice. People drink too much, go to
Lots of Startup news…
But do your customers
read these publications?
How your customers feel when you
read too much TechCrunch
Lots of Startup Events…
But when did you last go to
your customers’ events?
The pitch event should
exist to serve you.
Provide the test markets.
Startups need to test their ideas with others, often with
specific backgrounds. Within this large room of attendees,
our combined networks should be able to get any startup in
the door of any test customer segment. This shortens the
runway needed for startups to learn. It’s good for everyone.
I’ll leave this up to someone else to organize in Hong Kong.
The VC-backed model does not currently work in HK, but I
like the corporate backed model. Let me know if you want to
build a tech startup accelerator that plays off the strengths
of HK, or your current location. (AcceleratorHK is corporate
With a limited tech investment community in HK, crowd-
funding is another option.
And a word about some
investors in small markets.
Startup desperation enables a few bad actors to survive
within the tech investment community. Interview your
potential investors and ask to talk to their portfolio
Group source any lacking
design or development skills.
The skill set gaps among early-stage startups in HK that are
testing ideas can keep a few designers and developers
employed fulltime. Better than lots of early-stage teams
struggling to find and interview talent for each project.
In comparison to neighboring geographies, HK looks great
as a location for environmentally-friendly products and
Get 100 new founders to HK
every six months.
This would have a huge impact in a small market. HK has
enough going for itself in terms of lifestyle to make this
Know someone who has delayed their new release again
and again? Use peer pressure to force action. By that I mean
use threat of embarrassment to get them to act faster. While
you’re at it, you can do the same for yourself. Commit to
something publically. We have been doing this by
messaging a group of mutual contacts their stated release
dates. And we also choose earlier release dates when
people set them too far in the future.
(At this point during the talk, nine people in the audience
publically committed to release, get paid users etc. Very
cool to see.)
Hello, Los Angeles! (new home)
Book: Building new tech communities (a commitment I’m
making to write)
StartupsUnplugged (continuing), AcceleratorX (will get back
to you on what this is), advisory (continuing)
One Year, Part 2… (check back in one year)
Farewell, Hong Kong Startups!