Betatron Startup Accelerator | Demo Day Review: Cohort #1
After four-months of hard work and dedication, it was finally time for our cohort to pitch their startups at Demo Day, which held on Thursday 15th June 2017 at Metta.
It was a private, invitation-only event as we wanted to focus on a quality audience which could add the most value to our startups. The venue ended up being filled to max capacity as we had 147 attendees who were either investors, strategic partners, or press. Thanks to everyone who came!
Betatron wasn’t vertical or industry-specific. The focus, however, was on Hong Kong-based startups and building a unique accelerator for the local ecosystem.
The objective was to optimize the startups’ business model, position them to scale, and then help them raise their first institutional investment round.
Pakpobox is a network of smart lockers that solves all the existing problems for logistic operators, consumers and e-merchants.
For Pakpobox, all the objectives of Betatron were already achieved, even before the program finished. As Betatron helped Pakpobox close investment from a strategic partner, 4PX, who are China’s #1 cross-border e-commerce solutions provider by revenue, orders processed, and overall scale of operations.
4PX is recognized as a ‘Preferred Partner’ by e-commerce leaders such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, and others, which adds tremendous value to Pakpobox’s growth potential.
As well as investment, Betatron helped Pakpobox close over US$750K in revenue during the program and also expand into several new countries in South East Asia.
Pakpobox is now well positioned to scale globally and are in the process of raising their next funding round to facilitate the expansion.
It’s important to note that Betatron focuses on the long-term success of each startup, as the accelerator invests US$30,000 into each startup at the beginning of the program.
Therefore, the objective isn’t to produce ‘vanity’ metrics, just so that the program and startups look attractive to the outside world. Betatron’s goal is to ensure that the startups aren’t rushed through the program to the detriment of their long-term success.
The next startup to present was Off Menu which is a smart O2O marketing platform for bars & lounges. Off Menu had a strategic pivot early on, as they found a way to enhance the business model which they initially joined the programme with.
After conducting in-depth research with all of their customers (end users, bars and large alcohol brands), they uncovered a unique way to capture data, which was previously inaccessible and is tremendously valuable for the industry.
Off Menu’s founder, Cassie Mak, has several years of experience in the industry, and with the help of her lead mentor, Tony Zander (VP of Product & Development, Vectr Ventures) presented the new platform which they’ve structured, which is specifically designed to collect this data for both the bars and alcohol brands.
Cassie also explained the consumer side of Off Menu, which adds value to the end-users by allowing them to discover bars in their local area and also access special offers, while also gamifying the process, using virtual currency.
They’ve already got great feedback from the industry and have 30+ bars signed up for their upcoming launch in Hong Kong.
For Vmind, a strategic pivot was also made to their business model early on, after Betatron and their lead mentor, Kevin Kwong (CEO of Aria Group) encouraged the founders to spend time conducting in-depth market research with their target users.
From the research, Vmind identified a unique gap in their market to enhance the ‘pre-dining experience’ for restaurants. The founders (Lhimark Lau and Paul Chu), are two ex-portfolio managers who have impressively taught themselves to code, after leaving the finance industry a couple of years ago.
With their high technical development skills, they managed to develop an impressive platform over the course of the program, while also managing to successfully beta test it with five clients. They’re now close to finalizing their launch strategy with over 30 restaurants, who have already signed up in Hong Kong.
LogFlows is a cloud-based, all-in-one platform for the logistics industry and have made significant traction throughout the four-month program. After analyzing their business model and target market in-depth, Betatron helped LogFlows to add additional value to their clients with the launch of a new feature in their platform.
The improvements, with the help of their lead mentor, Joe Chan (Partner, MindWorks Ventures), have enabled LogFlows to increase the orders which are processed through the platform from 6,000 to 15,000 per month, from trucking companies in Hong Kong and China.
MindWorks Ventures’ experience in the industry, after their early-stage investment into Lalamove, has been an invaluable asset to the LogFlows’ team which is headed up by Felix Wong.
LogFlows are now well positioned to scale after optimizing their business model, and are now in the process of raising an investment round to scale even further into the large, untapped market in China.
I’d like to say a big thank you to our founding partners (IC Studio, MindWorks Ventures, Vectr Ventures, CoCoon Ignite Ventures, Aria Group, and Incu-Lab) for their hard work over the entire application process.
“It was a pleasure to work with this talented group of founders who have given it their all over the past four months. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the partners, mentors, and the Hong Kong community for their constant support.”
Michael Kerr, Betatron’s Programme Manager
“We truly believe that Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem needs an accelerator like Betatron to produce more high-quality startups and to help them raise funding.
The success of cohort #1 validates the concept and our mission. We’re delighted to see the traction our startups have made throughout the four-month programme, through their impressive hard-work and determination.
The plans for cohort #2 are well underway, and we’ll soon be announcing when our applications are opening.”
Rafal Czerniawski, Betatron’s Co-Founder and CEO of IC Studio
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About the Author
Sam Ameen is the Head of Digital Marketing at IC Studio, one of the founding partners of Betatron. He’s passionate about helping startups acquire new customers using unique growth hacking and user acquisition strategies. Sam is also a contributor to Forbes and covers entrepreneurship & startups in Hong Kong.