Opening remarks by S for IT at Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2017 (English only) (with photo)
George (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, Dr George Lam), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join today's Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2017. I am excited to see this signature event back at Cyberport, connecting the investment community and start-ups to a win-win partnership.
When the Innovation and Technology Bureau was established about two years ago, I made it a top priority to build a more complete funding ecosystem for start-ups. The first gap that we identified and set out to plug is the pre-Series A funding gap. That is why we established a $2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. In addition, Cyberport set aside another $200 million to form the Cyberport Macro Fund last August.
The Cyberport Macro Fund helps start-ups in the Cyberport community to bridge the seed to Series A funding gap. We are glad that many start-ups are interested to seek investment from the Cyberport Macro Fund.
The Innovation and Technology Venture Fund, or the ITVF, which was launched in September this year, encourages venture capital (VC) investment in our local start-ups. VC funds, whether incorporated in Hong Kong or overseas, are welcome to become our partners to co-invest in local innovation and technology start-ups on a matching basis. For every $2 a VC invests in our local start-ups, the Government puts up $1. This immediately reduces the VCs' financial risk by one third. And then there is a sweetener. For the first five years after investment, the VCs can buy the Government out at principal amount plus simple interest, and keep all the upside for themselves. What we want to achieve via the ITVF is to leverage on the expertise, business network and wisdom of world-class VCs to help our local start-ups grow and thrive. This is what we call "smart money".
Response from the VC community on the ITVF has been good. So far, over 40 enquiries have been received. At a dedicated briefing held on October 3, over 170 participants, mostly VC representatives, showed up. Some VCs already indicated strong interest to join the scheme.
I am confident that both the ITVF and the Cyberport Macro Fund will complement the booming start-up scene in Hong Kong. As evidenced by the increasing number of private VC funds dedicated for Hong Kong start-ups, as well as the growing number of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces, including some of the internationally renowned ones setting up in Hong Kong, I am confident that the upward trend in both the number of start-ups and aspirations for entrepreneurship in Hong Kong will continue.
As our start-ups progress beyond incubation and accelerator programmes, the demand for venture capital funding would increase. Recently, we have seen a sharp increase of the investment attracted by Cyberport's start-ups. For the six-month period from April to September this year, Cyberport start-ups have attracted about HK$1 billion, or about US$130 million of investment funding. More excitingly, GoGoVan, incubated by Cyberport back in 2014, has become one of the first unicorns in Hong Kong, and is now worth more than US$1 billion. A number of start-ups here in Cyberport are looking to become the next unicorn.
I am very pleased to see that Cyberport will announce the establishment of the Cyberport Investor Network today. I believe this network will not only benefit the Cyberport start-up community but also contribute to the entire innovation and technology ecosystem in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is the most international city in China. With all the comparative advantages and opportunities from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area initiative, I am sure Cyberport will go from strength to strength to enhance our start-ups' entrepreneurship journey.
In the 2017 Policy Address delivered three weeks ago, the Chief Executive outlined eight areas in which the Government would step up its efforts in innovation and technology development. One of them is to provide investment funding for our start-ups. The Government will continue to support and fund our local start-ups and entrepreneurs at different stages of development, from proof of concept to Series A ramp-up. Over time, I certainly look forward to seeing more VCs play a bigger role in the start-up ecosystem in Hong Kong.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Cyberport on pulling together seasoned venture capitalists and stakeholders at this revamped forum, and forming the Cyberport Investor Network. A big thank-you to George, Cyberport Chairman, for his great leadership and efforts. I shall look forward to hearing more good news from Cyberport in the future. Please enjoy today's forum. Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:36
Issued at HKT 11:36