RISE Conference 2019 welcomed 16,000+ attendees, 385 speakers, 777 startups, 553 tech investors, and 828 media from around the world to Hong Kong to kick off “Asia’s Largest Tech Conference”.
Here are our highlights from day 1:
HIGHLIGHTS — BREAKFAST SERIES
Practical Advice on Pre A Venture Investing into Startups
Together with AngelHub, we organized a Breakfast Series during the RISE Conference which started with experts giving practical advice on investment into startups with Carman Chan (Click Ventures), Jude O’Kelly (Mount Parker Ventures), Vijay Tirathrai (Techstars) and Anuj Srivastava (Livspace), moderated by our cofounder Karen Contet Farzam.
One of the keywords we always talk about is whether you business has accumulated asset: digital and scaleable asset.
Our focus is the business model itself, you accumulate asset that you can leverage, e.g. the connectivity of internet helps you scale up much faster compared to the traditional business model.
Data could be one kind but apart from data, could be Facebook, it is not only storing memory, but also the real name connection, the connection is the asset itself.Twitter is more interest based, you might not know the person who has connected with you. Twitter stores you interest network. — Carman Chan, Click Ventures
For a seed stage what we look for more is early signs of engagement. If they are continuing to use the product, that’s the biggest point of validation for us — Jude O’Kelly, Mount Parker Ventures
I’m here in HK with the intent of looking for startups & bringing them to the Middle East but its really getting them access to a global network- Vijay Tirathrai, Techstars
Founders and cofounders need to have the ability to raise an institutional round. — Anuj Srivastava, Livspace
Looking for more advice: check out our Twitter.
HIGHLIGHTS – KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Uber’s road ahead
In just 10 years, the “ride-hailing behemoth” Uber has gone from defiant startup to publicly traded company valued in the billions. Thuan Pham, has been their CTO for the past six years and has been a driving force in scaling Uber’s engineering team to address the challenges that come with the next phase of the company’s journey.
He sat down with Shelly Banjo from Bloomberg to tell the compelling story of his own journey – from refugee to top engineering talent and discuss his role in Uber’s success.
“Started out humbly with ride sharing bus. Make the two sided marketplace work. And then over time we developed technical capabilities to do it at a massive scale. Every time we set up a new line of business, it gets easier and easier as we leverage our capabilities.” -Thuan Pham
Shiseido’s Digital Makeover
President and CEO Masahiko Uotani turned down retirement in Hawaii to become Shisedo’s President and CEO at age 60, at a time when the brand was in turmoil. He discussed his impact in keeping the century-old beauty brand relevant in an era of influencers and new competitors.
In the fireside chat along side News Anchor and beauty blogger, Tracey Chung, he discussed how he continues to propel the brand forward by acquiring tech startups and incorporating cutting-edge technology, like AR, to better serve modern consumers.
“I wanted to understand the core issues, so I met with the people. I talked to consumers everyday.” – Masahiko Uotani
Spotlight on Spotify: Bringing music to the masses
Spotify’s mission has remained the same since the start: to bring streaming music to the masses. The latest additions to their international empire include India, Africa and the Middle East, but the music giant isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon.
Cecilia Qvist has lead the charge and discussed how Spotify has adapted to local markets around the world and even revealed an exciting new venture: Spotify Lite.
Spotify Lite is a lighter Android app for those with limited data and storage. The app will take up only 10 MB of space, compared to the standard Spotify app’s 30 MB. The app is currently available in 36 counties including India.
“[India] Consumer sentiment changes really fast so it is necessary to have people on the ground. Because I can’t be sitting in New York and tell you what’s working and what isn’t working in India.” -Cecilia Qvist
HIGHLIGHTS – PANELS
Empowering the Entrepreneurs of tomorrow
Gary Lui, CEO of South China Morning Post, Albert Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Science Park and Janice Lee, Managing Director of PCCW Media Group discussed the challenges facing aspiring founders and CEOs today. They gave expert insight on how emerging leaders can navigate today’s tricky economic and tech environments, specifically in China and Asia.
They discussed the role diversity plays, and how diversity goes beyond gender diversity and how it is important for teams to have members from all nationalities, educational backgrounds and walks of life to build and successfully run media and tech giants.
“It is important to say that diversity is not just about gender. The general diversity of thought is crucial for the next stage of innovation.” — Gary Lui
“Hong Kong is putting a lot of resources into funding technology [ventures]. These are investments the government is putting in place to position Hong Kong as the place for entrepreneurship.” — Albert Wong
HIGHLIGHTS – STARTUP SPOTLIGHT
Our team set out to find the most interesting startups at Rise Day 1, here are a few of our favourites!
One Degree (Hong Kong)
OneDegree is a technology company that aims to be the next generation insurance industry leader in Asia. It is one of the few digital insurer candidates in Hong Kong with a fully digitalised insurance process end-to-end. It also collaborates with global leaders in insurance and health sectors to deliver new technology and user experience.
Fitternity is a one-stop destination for fitness. With 8,000 listings across Mumbai, Benglaru, Delhi, and Pune and over 65,000 users, the platform helps fitness enthusiasts find and book classes in their neighbourhood. It also works as a hyper local online discovery and booking platform and a holistic aggregator of different fitness programmes, including gym sessions, yoga, Zumba, marathon and cross-fit!
Reap (Hong Kong)
Reap is a digital platform that allows you to pay any operating expenses (rent, salaries, invoices, vendors, suppliers, taxes, loans, etc.) using your credit cards and improve cash flow, maintain liquidity and grow your business. The platform helps consumers make fast and secure payments directly on the platform. It enables you to do on-off, automatic or future-dated payments on your own terms.
HIGHTLIGHTS – HOT TAKES
Our co-founder and CEO, Karena Belin sat on the panel of judges for Pitch powered by Manulife!
Comedian and actor Hannibal Buress gives practical investment advice all while make our bellies ache with laughter!
Our COO, Diane de Beaudrap and Growth Hacker, Felix Wong pose with Saketaram, founder of Hong Kong startup MEO Air Analytics!
That wraps up Day 1 at Rise Conference. Now for a quick nap to prepare for Night Summit! Stay connected with us by following #WHubatRise on Twitter and Instagram!