According to a recent report, digital tech start-ups in Asia have increasingly become the magnet for international venture capital firms so much so that the total amount of investments is set to surpass those for start-ups in the United States and Europe in a few years.
The Asian region has caught up fast in the competition for global venture capital investment and tech investments stand out as the strong driver for venture capital growth.
In 2017, global venture capital investment surged 49 per cent to a record high of US$164.4 billion as compared to 2016, with the majority of growth from Asia, instead of the United States as in previous years.
Venture capitalists from around the world are increasingly eyeing up Asia’s digital tech start-ups because of their great diversity: notable investments have been poured into leading-edge technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics, e-commerce, mobile payment and financial technology (FinTech), medical technology (MedTech), education technology, and ride-hailing and sharing platform. The Asian region has matured substantially over the past few years into a structurally larger market.
A growing percentage of the 25 most active venture capital firms in the world, 18 of them headquartered in the US, have established their presence in Asia to increase their reach to start-ups in budding innovation hubs. China is the most popular country after the US, as 7 of these topmost active venture capital firms have at least one office there.
Hong Kong emerges as digital tech innovation hotbed
Innovative digital tech start-ups in Hong Kong have attracted the attention of international venture capitalists and seen stellar fundraising achievements recently. For instance, a Cyberport incubation programme’s alumnus, raised US$115 million in venture capital last year, valuing the company at more than US$500 million and is now planning for an initial public offering.
For Hong Kong start-ups seeking funding from Asia, experts believe that those companies in financial services, logistics, shipping and real estate enjoy the strong historical backdrop.
These are the exact areas that AI and blockchain could make the most difference.
Thus, to promote the development of the venture capital ecosystem for digital entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, the Cyberport’s Macro Fund, an investment fund with an initial size of HK$200 million, aims to co-invest with other private and public investors in seed to Series A stage funding in Cyberport digital entrepreneurs.
Last year, Cyberport launched the Cyberport Investors Network (CIN), a structured platform that engages worldwide investors of leading venture capitalists, angel investors and private equity funds, to enhance the fundraising and deal-making capabilities of Cyberport start-ups.
CIN comprises over 100 investors of different categories including angel, Pre-A and Post-A rounds, who are interested in new economic opportunities. Their diverse practices and investment aptitudes complement the needs of the Cyberport start-up community. Cyberport’s incubation programme, in addition to financial assistance, also offers a range of services including fundraising training and investor matching opportunities for the incubatees to accelerate their growth.
Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2018 connects innovators with investors
The insights and trend forecasts of the global venture capital market and the digital technology arena from these thought leaders will be shared with participants at the annual Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2018.
Executives from leading venture capital firms, accelerators and tech corporations will provide their tips about smart digital tech investments.
A diverse line-up of programmes, including Investor Workshop, Start-up Workshop, Investor Matching, Pitching and Digital Tech Showcase, is available on this holistic platform designed to connect investor icons, industry professionals and start-up founders.
CVCF has a track record of being effective in fostering partnerships focusing on early-stage tech investments, particularly in Fintech, AI/Big Data, Blockchain, as well as Smart City/Living.