On Monday 29th October, Juven was present at a talk and panel discussion, which was part of an Oxbridge KPMG series event co-hosted by the Oxbridge Alumni Hong Kong Chapter.
The talk revolved around a joint KPMG-Alibaba study called “Transforming Hong Kong through Entrepreneurship” which was conducted by Ms. Cindy Chow, Executive Director Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, and Ms. Irene Chu, Head of New Economy and Life Sciences KPMG Hong Kong. Edmond, Juven’s CEO, and one other young entrepreneur were invited to be panel speakers
According to the study, Hong Kong has aspiring entrepreneurs who have a strong sense of purpose. They recognize that entrepreneurship has much to contribute to society and economics by developing new ideas, maintaining society dynamics, addressing social issues as well as creating new opportunities. Moreover, the study shows that the motivations for people becoming entrepreneurs are often to develop new technologies, reach under-served markets, and advance the development of their communities, with less regard for monetary factors and personal career agendas.
Edmond’s sharing focused on the challenges of building a team, finding talent and finding funding. His experience has been that investors are looking not only to invest in good ideas but in good people — people who can execute.
Edmond also shared some thoughts for those entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs, “Starting your business is about taking risk and having standards. But when we are young were we not taught to learn through failing. We were taught be learn through success. Moreover, in business, there are no rules and no standards, unlike the environment in which we are educated.”
Edmund’s advice was for people to attend many different events and get help to learn how to build a business. It was also helpful to talk about your ideas and see the reaction of the listener or potential investor. If it is a good one, start to work on it further by creating a prototype.
Langston Suen of Opharmic Technology shared about his own experience heading a biomedical startup. Opharmic aims to create new means sagely and efficiently to deliver medicine to the eyes without the use of needles.
Langston shared that there is definitely also a shortage in the talent pool for the biotech and medical sector, as they are often tied up in academic settings.
The biotech and biomedical industries are quite different from most other tech industries because they take much longer than other tech companies to see the fruits of labor because of the necessity for complying with government or statutory regulations — for example in hospitals or labs — and the requirements from different users as well.
Getting funding is different because they have accelerators and incubators which guide them in specific fields in biotech. The environment that Langston was educated in meant that he would come into contact with potential investors who were already interested in the areas of biotech. Which means that, unlike most startups, they don’t necessarily have to meet a lot of people in order to secure funding. They have investors that are already interested in these things which makes the process more streamlined, as compared with investors who have no specific interests.
Returns also take longer to see. Investors are selective toinvest in the biotech industry as the runway to profits might be longer than others. That being said, the runway for biotech still tends to be shorter than medical drugs at 3–5 years, while the latter may take 10 years or more. But these are still long compared with other industries.
In an upcoming blog post, we will be looking more in depth at the Business ecology in Hong Kong as discussed in the KPMG-Alibaba study.
Juven builds complete engagement software which empowers charities, companies, associations and clubs of all sorts to build, engage and grow community. We believe that organizations should have access to beautiful, intuitive and reliable tools to create greater impact.
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