JUMPSTARTER 2021 Global Pitch Competition (“JUMPSTARTER 2021”), the world’s largest online startup pitch contest organized by Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, has concluded its Grand Finale. After a series of intense pitching sessions, Rice Robotics, an autonomous robot company from Hong Kong, and Lingxi AR Technology, an optical display and AR technology solution company from Beijing (in no particular order, see Appendix I below for details), were named as winners among the top 10 startups.
The two winning startups are entitled to an investment of up to US$4 million in total. Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (“Cyberport”) and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (“HKSTP”), co-organizers of JUMPSTARTER 2021, are also exploring the possibility of co-investments, so as to step up their support to the startups.
Due to the pandemic, JUMPSTARTER 2021 moved the entire contest online for the first time. It received an overwhelming response with over 2,000 applications from 100 countries and regions around the globe. Startups from Greater China and Asia Pacific are the most active among the applicants. With the support of collaboration partners, more than 220 semi-pitch sessions were held online, attracting more than 126,000 fans and supporters worldwide. The scale of the event was the largest since its inception, showing the passion of startups and their supporters, even amid the pandemic.
The competition has been opened to startups in the retail, fintech, smart city and deep tech industries. Among the top 200 finalists, retail startups made up a relatively high proportion of entries. The judging panel of JUMPSTARTER 2021 believes that due to the popularity among fintech in the last few years, participants in this area will face fiercer competition in the market. By region, startups in the Mainland are concentrating on deep tech such as biotechnology, while startups in Hong Kong are focusing on retail and fintech. Startups in Southeast Asia meanwhile are showing strong interest in the retail sector.
Cindy Chow, Executive Director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, said, “The Hong Kong and global markets have faced severe challenges over the past year. We are happy to see that many startups still hold on to indomitable, innovative and flexible thinking during their journeys. The support from enterprises is crucial to the growth of startups. With the help of Cyberport, HKSTP, as well as other sponsoring companies and institutions, we will have abundant resources to match startups with mentors to share relevant experiences in entrepreneurship and management.”
Peter Yan, Chief Executive Officer, Cyberport, said, “Under the new normal, innovative technology has become an important driving force for the global economy. In face of current challenges, I look forward to seeing more startups solve real world pain points in innovative ways to create value for society. We are committed to providing comprehensive support to promising startups, and will work with institutions and investors to promote the development of Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem.”