Accelerator and Incubator Programmes in Hong Kong You Need to Know

The ultimate list of accelerator and incubator programmes available for Hong Kong startups to scale their business

Just like any other startup hub, Hong Kong has accelerators and incubators focused on different verticals for startups to scale their businesses. Here is the full list of accelerators and incubators you can find in Hong Kong. (Or if you want a quick summary, check out our Hong Kong Startup Ecosystem white paper 2017, which gives you an overview of each programme!)

I will update this post regularly to give you the most information on each programme, clap your hands 👏 to show your support! Any updates you would like to include in the post? Send me updates here with a private note!

FinTech

DBS Accelerator

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Powered by Nest, the DBS Accelerator is a 12-week integration geared towards FinTech startups from seed through Series B stages, this programme is breaking away from traditional time-based accelerator models by having applications open year-round.

The new programme format will be accepting applications all year-round and is particularly interested in startups with innovative solutions in: Credit Digitisation, Customer Engagement, Cybersecurity, Compliance Monitoring, and Digital Channel Experience.

Selected companies receive mentorship from across various business units at DBS as well as from Nest, dedicated workspace for 3 months and opportunities to showcase their idea during a demo day.

Click here to learn more.

Fintech Innovation Lab

(Updated on April 10, 2018)

Facilitated by Accenture, Fintech Innovation Lab runs 12-week mentorship programmes annually in New York, London, Dublin and Hong Kong that helps early to growth stage startups.

The Asia-Pacific lab is running its fourth year in Hong Kong — up to 10 finalist startups will get access to mentorship from leading firms and VCs, insights from senior figures and user groups in the financial sector, free workspace at Cyberport and weekly workshops. Participating startups will also join the demo day where they will showcase their business to financial service executives, investors and journalists.

The Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific collaborates with a number of leading financial institutions — for the 2017 cohort, the principal financial institutions include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Macquarie Group, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Société Générale, Sun Life Financial. In addition, supporting financial institutions and investment firms include China CITIC Bank International, China Construction Bank, Manulife, Maybank, Point72 Asset Management, Siam Commercial Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG). The programme also offers the chance to partner with Accenture, access to Cyberport’s Venture Fund of US$25 million and exposure at FinTech Finals 2018.

The programme supported a number of startups including 2015 alumni Sybenetix which was acquired by Nasdaq in July 2017 and 2016 alumni TNG Wallet which raised one of the largest Series A funding globally at USD$115 million in Sept 2017.

Applications open from April 9 — May 11, 2018.

Click here to learn more.

SuperCharger (Medium:SuperCharger)

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

SuperCharger is a 12-week FinTech accelerator programme dedicated to both startups and scale-up global FinTech companies that aim to penetrate the Asian market.

The 12-week programme runs every year, hosting 8 companies per year. Participating startups get free access to a workspace for 12 weeks, mentorship, weekly workshops, corporate network, media exposure and opportunities to pitch to investors and potential partners at the Investor Demo Day and the invite-only Demo Day. The programme does not take equity from participating startups.

Powered by Standard Chartered Bank, Fidelity International, and supporting organisations like Baker McKenzie, VISA, Microsoft, HKEX and Thomson Reuters, SuperCharger has supported FinTech startups, for example, Gatecoin, Neat, Clare.AI, Squirro and Bambu.

What is worth noting is that, alumni Squirro has raised US$10 million from Orange Growth Capital, Salesforce Ventures and other existing investors in July 2017. Another alumni, Bambu has recently secured funding from Franklin Templeton Investments, Wavemaker Partners and renowned FinTech investor Robby Hilkowitz.

“Through SuperCharger, our alumni have collectively complete 16 POCs and production deals with Hong Kong financial institutions. FinChat’s deal with UBS is a validation of our ability to generate results for our startups,” said Brandon Chung, Project Manager at SuperCharger & FinTech HK.

The 3rd cohort will start on March 19, 2018. For the 3rd programme, SuperCharger will introduce a new Sandbox approach — a technical solution to simultaneously test similar technologies provided by multiple FinTech companies.

Click here to learn more.

IoT/ Hardware

Brinc Global IoT Accelerator

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Powered by Brinc, the Global IoT Accelerator programme supports early-stage startups from concept to sustainable commercialisation, operating in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Barcelona, London, and Bahrain.

The programme operates with three pillars: education and tools, hands-on support, and a deed operator network. It is a 4-month programme with a 1-month trial period. Brinc will invest $100,000 in exchange for 8–13% equity for you to prototype with speed, coupled with follow-on funding opportunities. A $30,000 participation fee will be charged for the full acceleration program

29 teams have graduated from the connected hardware program. Brinc has invested in 20 startups and supported over 20+ hardware founders through production in their studio.

Applications open multiple times per year, ideal startups will have 2 co-founders, 6+ months runway and a functional prototype.

Applications for the Hong Kong programme will re-open in June 2018.

Click here to learn more.

Readwrite Labs Hong Kong

ReadWriteLabs (formerly Wearable IoT World Labs) is a 6-week accelerator programme in boot camp style that focuses on IoT and the Connected World.

Readwrite Labs Hong Kong is located within Cyberport, providing startups with education and expertise on APAC manufacturing and prototyping. The programme also offers startups the exposure and connection needed to scale their business. ReadWriteLabs takes around 2–6% equity stake, depending on the stage of the startup, and does not provide direct funding capital currently.

Participating startups will take part in a 2-week bootcamp to learn best practices in marketing, branding, crowdfunding, APAC fundraising and more. Founders can also take the chance to build new connections with mentors, investors and partners from ReadWriteLabs. Startups have two weeks after the boot camp to build and speed up their business. Throughout the programme, startups can get access to local and globally meet-ups and industry events to further expand their network and scale up their business.

The bootcamps occur three times every year in each location, including San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. It has nurtured over 100 startups with over 90% funding rate.

Click here to learn more.

B2B & SaaS

The Cage

(Updated on January 22, 2018)

Powered by The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, The Cage is a full-time, 12-week ignition and development programme for startups developing technologies that apply to fashion and lifestyle retail, including but not limited to IoT, personalization, image recognition, AI, AR, gaming and blockchain.

The programme focuses on early-stage startups with a customer tested prototype. The Cage does not take equity in selected startups but the Group is open to investment opportunities.

Selected startups will receive commercial guidance and mentorship from leading fashion and retail experts,direct access to key decision makers within The Lane Crawford Joyce Group ecosystem, 12-week co-working space and supporting infrastructure and HK$50,000 prize money. Upon completion of the programme, startups will present to one or more of the Group’s companies for a commercial agreement.

Click here to learn more.

Social-Tech/Green-Tech

JC COIL Incubation Programme

The Jockey Club CarbonCare Open Innovation Lab(JC COIL) Incubation Programme is an 8-month programme that equips climate innovators with necessary knowledge and skills to develop their green projects.

With the support from CarbonCare Asia, the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and Education For Good (EFG), participating startups and innovators will receive coaching on Lean Startup techniques, opportunities for product testing. 4 selected InnoTeams will enter the final pitch to win up to HK$50,000 cash award to kick start their green project.

It is required to take part in the 2-day-1-night CarbonCare Innovation Boot Camp to be qualified for the incubation programme.

Click here to learn more.

SoInSoGood

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

SoInSoGood is a 6-month social-tech incubation programme that focuses on early-stage social-tech and green-tech startups. SoInSoGood supports entrepreneurs looking to tackle social issues, including healthcare, environment, education and elderly. The incubation programme will select 6 to 12 startups per cohort.

Selected startups will receive workshops, mentorship, access to global and local networks and free co-working space. SoInSoGood does not take equity from participating startups.

SoInSoGood is powered by INCO, the first global network of green and social startup incubators. The programme is in partnership with Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation and Hong Kong Children & Youth Services, with the support from Hong Kong Jockey Club. SoInSoGood has accelerated 13 startups, including GoGenie, Mindvivid, MedEXO, iSEE Mobile and uHoo.

Click here to learn more.

SOW Asia’s i2i accelerator programme

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

SOW Asia’s i2i (“Incubation to Investment”) accelerator programme supports social businesses clarify their social impact, improve their business models and refine their pitches for investment. The accelerator programme is powered by SOW Asia, a Hong Kong charitable foundation focused on venture philanthropy.

It is a 5-month programme that runs twice per year. During the programme, startups will execute necessary changes, then showcase their improved business to investors during investors’ pitch nights.

Participating startups have access to workshops, one-on-one business consultancy sessions, peer-sharing sessions, practice pitches and a final pitch.

SOW Asia has accelerated close to 60 social enterprises, including HK Recycles, Eco-Nutrient Biotechnology Limited, and Snapask. A number of past acceleratees has received monetary and non-monetary support from SOW Asia.

Click here to learn more.

Artificial Intelligence

Zeroth.ai

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Zeroth.ai is a Hong Kong-based accelerator that focuses on working with early-stage AI startups in Asia, particularly startups that are working on Edge Computing, Agtech, Ethical Computing, Natural Language, Autonomous Vehicles, and Human-Machine Interface Technology.

Startups will receive mentorship and funding opportunities. Zeroth will invest $120,000 USD in the startup, in exchange for 11–12% equity.

Zeroth.ai has accelerated 23 startups in its first cohort, including Rocco, Clickful (previously Designjar) and Clare.ai.

Click here to learn more.

HKAI Lab accelerator programme

(Updated on May 31, 2018)

HKAI Lab has a six-month accelerator program for early-stage AI projects. The accelerator focuses on commercialising AI projects and technologies. The programme hosts 10 startups per cohort, and two cohorts per year.

HKAI Lab is a not-for-profit artificial intelligence lab that is funded by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and SenseTime(Hong Kong-based AI startup that raised over US$1B), with support from HKSTP, Alibaba Cloud and the Alibaba DAMO Academy.

Startups will receive a seed funding of US$100,000 in exchange for 6% equity. Startups will also have access to meet venture capitalists and strategic partners, as well as chances to work with Alibaba Group and SenseTime. They will also have access to GPU-powered supercomputers, including a deep-learning platform called Parrots, which is powered by SenseTime. Selected startups can work at the office space at HKSTP during the programme.

To apply for the programme, you must have a Hong Kong-registered company younger than 3 years, a founding team with members hold more than 50% of company shares, 2 full-time staff. Also at least half of your team should be engaged in AI-related work.

The programme will be opened for application in mid June.

Click here for more information

Others

Ablaze

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Ablaze is an accelerator programme that focuses on promoting innovation in media, marketing and consumer segments.

Run by Ablaze Idea Lab in partnership with New Media Group, Ablaze is a 6-month full-time programme that helps startups build traffic and adoption.

An ideal startup would have a multi-disciplinary teams of 2–4 founding team members working full time.

Selected startups will get HKD500K+ media exposure in the New Media Group’s network, and will have access to co-working space, mentorship from experts in digital media and marketing, and also connecting to funding source.

Ablaze takes applications all year-round, applications will be reviewed in three intake batches. The third intake starts on July 1st, 2017 and closes on October 31st.

Click here to learn more.

Betatron

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Betatron is a 4-month non-vertical accelerator programme that provides funding and mentorship to help startups make a viable and investable business.Betatron focuses solely on the startups and founders, with the aim to accelerate technology-driven companies.

Each startup will receive US$30,000 funding via a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) note. Startups will also be provided mentorship, free co-working space at the Betatron Lab, as well as the opportunity to pitch during the Pitch Day which gathers investors, potential partners and media.

Betatron’s founding partners are IC Studio, MindWorks Ventures, Vectr Ventures, CoCoon Ignite Ventures, Aria Group and Incu-Lab.

Applications are open for cohort 3 until March 15th, 2018.

Click here to learn more.

Cyberport Incubation Programme

Cyberport Incubation Programme is a free incubation programme for early-stage Hong Kong startups.

Participating startups can get up to HK$330,000 support over 24 months. Incubatees will also have access to a rent-free workspace at Cyberport for up to 24 months, subsidised legal consultancy services, 
monthly salary subsidies and networking opportunities.

The incubation programme has supported over 180 startups, including NexChange, AfterShip and Snapask.

Application for the Cyberport Incubation Programme opens all year round, applications received will be processed in three batches each year. Application deadline for the latest batch is October 3rd, 2017.

Click here to learn more.

EF (Entrepreneur First)

(Updated on May 31, 2018)

Entrepreneur First is a three-month full-time programme designed for aspiring individuals looking to start up a company. The programme helps individuals to find co-founders that is a right fit with complementary skill sets.

Backed by Reid Hoffman (founder of Linkedin), Greylock Partners, Founder’s Fund, Lakestar, and more great entrepreneurs, EF has been running programmes in London and Singapore, helping entrepreneurs find the right co-founder, identify scalable idea and develop products.

The first cohort for EF Hong Kong will kickstart on 30th July, 2018. Applications are open now until 30th June, 2018.

Click here to learn more

FbStart

FbStart is a global programme that offers startups with year-round technical support.

The programme consists of two tracks to help startup bootstrap and accelerate their business. Startups that are building a social good app or a game will receive additional benefits and support from the programme.

Teamed up with StartupsHK, Metta and Cyberport, the programme offers mentorship, training, networking events and free tools.

Click here to learn more.

Founder Institute

Founder Institute is a 4-month part-time accelerator programme for idea-stage startups. It provides startups and entrepreneurs with training, mentorship and a global network to kick start their business.

Founder Institute has helped over 2,000 companies launch their business with a survival rate of 72%.

Click here to learn more.

Hong Kong Design Incubation Programme

Powered by the Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Design Incubation Programme (DIP) is a 2-year programme that aims to nurture early-stage design startups with hardware and software support.

Selected startups will get access to a free office space in the first year, mentorship, trainings and financial assistance in operation, marketing and development.

Click here to learn more.

The INFINITI LAB Future Consumer Accelerator Program

Powered by Nest, the INFINITI LAB Future Consumer Accelerator is a 10-week programme that offers startups premium brand insights and access to mentors from the INFINITI executive team at their global headquarters in Hong Kong. Startups receive exposure to the world’s fastest growing consumer market, POC collaboration opportunities with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and a pool of high-quality investors.

Startups will get one-on-one intensive mentorship from INFINITI’s executive team of subject matter experts in Product Strategy, retail Network Development, Sales Operations, Premium Customer Experience, Business Intelligence, Brand Strategy, Digital Marketing, Launch planning, Brand Engagement and Aftersales. They will also have access to the INFINITI network, introductions to quality investors, dedicated work space, education and resources to help streamline the business. INFINITI does not take any initial equity stake.

Click here to learn more.

Lime HK

Lime HK is a customised acceleration programme for all startups with the aim to help startups validate their idea.

The programme can run from three to six months depending on the stage of the startup. The programme provides one-on-one mentorship on topics including fundraising strategy, presentation skills, marketing, corporate management and investor relationship. Startup will also be provided with workspace, legal advice and a demo day for investment opportunities.

Click here to learn more.

The Mills Fabrica

Powered by Nan Fung Group, The Mills Fabrica is a 12-month incubation programme for techstyle startups, companies at the intersection of fashion, textile, and technology.

Up to 10 startups will be selected to join the programme and will be provided access to The Mills complex, a multifunctional incubator space equipped with fabrication lab, media studio and a co-working space, as well as connections to local and international industry and partners.

Set to launch in 2018, The Mills Fabrica is currently running a pilot incubation programme, helping techstyle businesses including EONIQ, Orii, Snaptee, and Goxip.

Click here to learn more.

Start-up Express

(Updated on March 22, 2018)

Powered by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Start-up Express is a programme that targets startups with products or services ready for market. The 10 selected startups will get access to mentorship, overseas trade promotion opportunities, brand promotion opportunities, as well as a series of workshops to equip the startups will vital business skills.

Start-up Express is open to startups that are younger than 5 years old, with core operations in Hong Kong.

The programme opens for application now until April 16th 2018. 40 startups will be shortlisted to join a close-door pitching session. 20 startups will be selected to join a pitching competition during HKTDC’s Entrepreneur Day 2018 on May 18th 2018. The 10 finalists will be invited to participate in the programme.

Click here to learn more.

Startup IO x naked Hub Pre-accelerator Programme

Startup IO x naked Hub Pre-accelerator Programme is a 3-month programme dedicated to helping non-technical founders to grow from the ground up to becoming investment-ready ventures.

The programme opens to a diverse range of industries, selected startups will receive a full-time 3-person dedicated programming team for prototyping and product iteration, free workspace at naked Hub, and access to the naked Hub and Entrepreneur HK community.

The pre-accelerator programme does not take any equity and does not provide seed funding. However, the team may connect startups with fundraising opportunities whenever they see a fit.

Application for the pre-accelerator programme opens all year round.

Click here to learn more.