Lessons delivered by Cyberport

City talk | Siu Sai-wo 20 Apr 2021

I visited start-ups at Cyberport last week, including Find Solution Ai, SyZyGy, Bull. B, Aqumon and Roborn.

Although new companies, some of them have quickly made their names, like Aqumon, which employs artificial intelligence to offer investment advice, and Roborn, which specializes in robotics products.

Cyberport's incubation program nurtures start-ups for two years, during which time it releases financial subsidies to them in accordance with their business proposals. And after the two years the enterprises strike out on their own.

Some of these companies are able to establish a stable mode of operations but need capital injections. At this stage, Cyberport will consider taking stakes in those operations it sees as having potential.

An investment by Cyberport will not only provide financial resources but can also create a brand name effect that attracts additional capital of nearly HK$12 for every dollar Cyberport invests.

One operation that has recently received Cyberport investment is online tutoring service Snapask, which was founded by Timothy Yu Yau-him, a graduate of the University of Hong Hong's business school.

Yu started to tutor students when he was 17, identifying very early on that education would be his career path. To prepare, he read quantitative finance and risk management science.

Some tutoring schools tried to recruit him, making very generous offers. But Yu was steadfast in following his own path.

His online tutoring service is especially helpful for students who are relatively passive in class, for among other things it offers after-class homework consultation.

The operation has expanded to places like Taiwan and Singapore and has stepped up advertising after receiving investment from venture capitalists.

Cyberport is bullish about Snapask's future, which could include going public.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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