By nearly any metric, Hong Kong is amongst the world’s best when it comes to global investment, quality of life, corporate taxation, and per capita income. All of these metrics intersect to create a haven for global entrepreneurs aiming to get their big idea off the ground in a big way. Current figures show there are over 3,000 startups in Hong Kong, up 42.8% from 2017.
There is of course one other thing that attracts startups and entrepreneurs to Hong Kong, and that’s the venture capital firms and angel investors ready to invest their capital and wisdom into the next big thing. We take a look at the top venture capital firms and angel investors in Hong Kong.
The Top Angel Investors in Hong Kong
Angel investors are typically private investors who inject capital into early stage startups in exchange for a substantial share in the company. An angel investor can either be a single individual, or perhaps more commonly, a group of individuals working towards a common goal.
Whether or not an angel investor also offers operational support or business expertise to a startup will depend on the investor, so that’s worth considering beyond just the capital requirements.
Because angel investors are using their own capital, they are typically less averse to risk, so a high risk/high yield opportunity will be more attractive to them as opposed to venture capitalists who are generally safer in their approach.
1. Hong Kong Venture Capital & Private Equity Association
The Hong Kong Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (HKVCA) was set up in 1987 to encourage economic development within Hong Kong by connecting innovators with its member companies.
With more than 460 corporate members, HKVCA manages US$2 trillion in assets, and provides networking opportunities for members to share ideas, and put forward views to government departments. They invest in venture, growth, buyouts, pension funds, and more.
2. Business Angel Programme
The Business Angel Programme of Hong Kong is an entrepreneurial drive by the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Launched in 2007, it tends to concentrate on helping entrepreneurs become ready for investment, and then connecting them with the right people to get their startup off the ground.
The Business Angel Programme will generally hold two to three meetings per year, where startups are invited to present their pitch in an effort to seek angel funding for their fledgling businesses.
3. Hong Kong Business Angel Network
The Hong Kong Business Angel Network (HKBAN) was created in 2010 with an eye to connecting interesting projects from Hong Kong educational institutes with angel investors. The network includes Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity (HKVCA), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (POLYU).
HKBAN provides a platform for angel investors to join Investment Matching Gatherings (IMGs) where student entrepreneurs can present their startup business plans.
4. Venture Investors Alliance of Hong Kong
The Venture Investors Alliance of Hong Kong (VIA) is a group of both angel investors and active venture capitalists. It was created with a long term vision of making Hong Kong a global hub for business and technological innovation in Asia, and has invested a total of US$3.2 billion into over 450 companies.
VIA meets once a month, and makes a point of connecting young entrepreneurs with experienced Hong Kong investors to receive advice and funding.
5. Big Bloom
If the whole venture capital funding process seems daunting or intimidating, Big Bloom might be worth checking out. With a thoroughly modern approach, Big Bloom eschews the somewhat stuffy reputation for venture capital firms, and believes that entrepreneurs are heros that will “save the world”.
Big Bloom will consider almost any innovative idea, as long as (beyond the financial necessities) they feel that you are a good match with each other for a working relationship moving forward. While they prefer Hong Kong local investments, they are also open to other geographical areas.
Related Read: How to setup a Hong Kong company as a foreigner »
The Top Venture Capitalists in Hong Kong
Venture capitalists generally invest using capital belonging to their investor clients, which means they are both looking to be safer, and have more hands on with a start up than angel investors.
To protect their investment, they will usually insist on providing proactive advice and leadership when it comes to increasing profitability, and perhaps operational matters if required. Startups that involve breakthroughs in technology and medicine etc. will often seek out a venture capitalist firm to help them navigate the technicalities of intellectual property.
For the sake of simplicity, we will focus on early stage venture capital funders, however it should provide a good starting point for entrepreneurs across all industries looking for funding.
While having offices in Hong Kong, Nest seeks innovators from around the world, to connect them with startup experts. Their aim is to “empower founders worldwide with our strengths in marketing, strategy, and access to global industry networks from our headquarters in the heart of Asia – Hong Kong”.
In total they have helped over 170 startups with more than US$180 million invested overall. Of particular note, they do not ask their startups to give up any ownership in their companies, saying they would rather invest fairly in their next round of funding. They also have offices in Bangkok, Bahrain, Nairobi, and London.
2. Alibaba Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation
The Alibaba Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation, as the name suggests, was created to help young Hong Kong entrepreneurs open and grow their startups within the huge Alibaba ecosystem.
In total they have a HK$1 billion fund to help support young Hong Kong entrepreneurs, which is provided in the form of financial capital, technical assistance, and training. Profits from the venture investments get reinvested back into the foundation to be further distributed amongst other young entrepreneurs.
Finally, the foundation aims to select 200 young entrepreneurial individuals per year from Hong Kong universities to intern at the Alibaba Group and other businesses that fall under their umbrella.
3. Click Ventures
If your startup is a technology industry disrupter, Click Ventures may well be the venture capital firm you are looking for. They focus on disruptive ideas in technology that are designed to change the way people live, work and interact with each other.
Featured as ‘Consistent Top Performing Venture Capital Fund Manager by Prequin Global Private Equity, Click Ventures are a venture capital firm focusing on “highly scalable technology startups’. To help ensure the success of their tech startups, they have over 200 global technology and media partners to help advise as well as promote their innovators.
4. Horizon Ventures
Another venture capital firm specialising in disruptive technologies, Horizon Ventures have been based in Hong Kong since 2006, however have since expanded into 10 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Amongst this list, they probably have the best known names in terms of former startup clients, such as Siri, Facebook, Skype, and Spotify. They also manage some investments for the Li Ka Shing Foundation, belonging to the famous Asian business magnate. Profits from the investments in this foundation go towards the foundation’s goals of nurturing reform initiatives in education and medical research.
5. Nova Founders Capital
Nova Founders Capital may well be your first port of call if you are a startup in the fintech arena — they focus on building and supporting large scale internet businesses that operate in the financial sector.
A smaller venture capital firm than some others on this list, they are specialists in their niche, and have started more than 30 online businesses all over the world.
There are always new ideas for world changing businesses and initiatives — but it’s putting them into action that is the critical factor for success. And that initial action is often dependent on not just funding, but getting advice from experts that understand your unique needs as a startup.
As Hong Kong’s premiere company incorporation service provider, HKCR knows how to maximise your chances of success when you start your new business. If you’d like any advice on building your startup, please do contact us, it’s both our job and pleasure to help.
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