On Thursday afternoon, we held our third Disruptors Meeting in Hong Kong—dubbed “Disruptors Cocktails”—in partnership with incubator and cowork space CoCoon and Hong Kong’s first social innovation hub, The Good Lab.
The event kicked off with Li & Fung CFO Ed Lam introducing the program to a packed room of over 200 employees and friends, including leaders from a diverse set of nine innovative startups.
Plukka, founded in 2011, is a Hong Kong–based, online international retailer of curated collections of designer fine jewelry. The company has evolved into the world’s only international distribution platform for fine jewelry, and it features exclusive designers whose jewelry has been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Madonna. Plukka’s founder, Joanne Ooi, explained the company’s recently launched View On Demand service, which allows clients in Hong Kong and New York to make an appointment for a Plukka representative to bring a trunk show to their home or office. FBIC Global Retail & Technology recently wrote about the innovative offering in this report.
Next up was OurCrowd, introduced by Elad Goz, Head of Economic & Trade Mission of the Consulate General of Israel in Hong Kong. OurCrowd is a venture capital/crowdfunding hybrid platform for accredited investors to invest in Israeli and global startups. OurCrowd sources deals, performs due diligence and opens investments to its members, leading every investment with its own money. OurCrowd VP Denes Ban said that his team has looked at over 2,000 startups and invested in just 1% of them.
DotKids aims to make the Internet safer and more accessible for kids through technology and community partnership globally. The organization has applied for regulatory approval from ICANN to run “.kids” as a generic top-level domain (just like “.com”). DotKids must obtain the operating rights for “.kids” over two other commercial applicants, Google and Amazon, in order to be at the forefront of building a child-safe Internet ecosystem. DotKids cofounder Cheney Cheng explained that if the company can get 400,000 domains to use the .kids top-level domain, it can earn up to $10 million to return to charities that support children’s interests.
Blue Sky makes conserving energy simple and fun. Through an easy-to-install power sensor and web platform, people receive insights on their energy consumption and personalized tips to live or work comfortably with less energy. The platform also runs saving competitions across companies, departments and properties. Founder Christina Tang explained that Hong Kong businesses spend $31 billion on electricity each year, or 2% of the total GDP. With Blue Sky’s panels (think of them as Nest for business), businesses can reduce these costs by up to 10%.
Grana is a fashion brand that has been completely reimagined from the ground up. Its mission is to create timeless wardrobe essentials made from the world’s best fabrics at the most disruptive prices ever seen. Grana opened its first Fitting Room, a brick-and-mortar showroom space, in Hong Kong in September 2015. Founder Luke Grana said he chose to relocate from Australia to Hong Kong based on Hong Kong’s textile tradition and the fact that it has the largest single air cargo terminal in the world.
PAKT bills itself as “Your Wardrobe on Demand!” The startup offers a climate-controlled clothing storage solution. From wedding dresses to baby clothes, PAKT cures consumers’ space and clothing care headaches. Founder Barbara Yu Larsson explained how customers can digitize their wardrobes in their smartphones to better manage them, and how the service allows for items to be easily swapped and traded.
Established in Hong Kong in December 2014, Rumi Yoga Wear is an active lifestyle brand focusing on apparel that is ethically engineered and designed to make customers feel good. The brand utilizes high-performance and sustainable fibers such as recycled plastic bottles and upcycled coffee grinds in its garments. Founder Melissa Chu demonstrated the yoga pants, and introduced us to the soon-to-be-released sports bra, tank top and long-sleeve additions, as well as the upcoming men’s line.
Advwhere provides influencer marketing intelligence to change the way influencers and marketers collaborate. The team is only two months into its work, but founder Edwin Yuen showed how Advwhere will use advanced dynamic algorithms to determine the right marketing influencer for any brand and any budget.
BessUP is a social media company in Asia that provides inspiring content and builds various interest communities. BessUP is redefining online media and content marketing by leveraging its in-house technology, which includes trend-centric, modeling and machine-learning systems. Founder Ryan Cheung explained that, although it is just a few months old, BessUP has already amassed 100,000 Facebook “likes” using its proprietary technology.
We enjoyed the opportunity to hear from these amazing startups and look forward to hosting future events in New York and Hong Kong!