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Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and HSBC present JUMPSTARTER 2020

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: asia.nikkei.com
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Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, a non-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group, announced today that HSBC will be the title sponsor of the third edition of its start-up event JUMPSTARTER, called Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HSBC JUMPSTARTER 2020 (“JUMPSTARTER 2020”).

For the first time, JUMPSTARTER will feature a global pitch competition that covers eight cities in premier locations worldwide. InvestHK, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX), Hong Kong Cyberport and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) will also partner with Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and HSBC to further promote the competition in local and global start-up communities.

Cindy Chow, Executive Director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, said, “the market in Asia for cutting-edge technology is booming. The region is home to over 4.5 billion people, presenting tremendous opportunities for young entrepreneurs to innovate and create. We are glad to leverage Hong Kong’s strategic position to create a springboard for top JUMPSTARTER companies and gain access to the talent, opportunity and funding critical to their success.”

Diana Cesar, Chief Executive, Hong Kong, HSBC, said, “Hong Kong remains one of Asia’s economic and financial powerhouses with strengths in world-class education, professional services and international trade. It is also home to over 2,600 start-ups, which provide over 9,500 jobs. Over the years, we have been a trusted partner to small businesses. As of today, over 80 per cent of our new business accounts in Hong Kong are for start-ups with less than three-year in history. We not only see the value and potential of thriving start-ups, but also tomorrow’s unicorns. Together, we build a prosperous and sustainable future.”

As a leading trade bank, HSBC is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and innovative companies to flourish in its home market and globally. HSBC expands digital solutions, offers a wide range of banking services, as well as initiates financing support to high-potential, early-stage companies to help them sprint and grow in the new economy era.

JUMPSTARTER 2020 is going global, with a series of pitching events in Hong KongShenzhenShanghaiBeijingKuala LumpurLondon, the San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, teaming up with key partners in each location. It will work with PKU-HKUST Shenzhen-HongKong Institution and 36Kr in China, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in Malaysia, Level 39 in the UK and Berkeley SkyDeck in the US.

JUMPSTARTER aims to build a global network that connects local and overseas start-ups, small businesses, larger companies and investors through the global pitch competition. The Hong Kong Grand Finale is scheduled for February 11-12, 2020.

JUMPSTARTER has pledged to invest as much as US$5 million in the winning start-ups, in addition to a total of US$100,000 cash prizes to the top five Grand Finale winners. In addition to the investment commitment, JUMPSTARTER winners will also get the chance to plug into the Alibaba Digital Economy, which will help them obtain valuable insights, experience and resources. As a part of InvestHK’s StartmeupHK Festival, JUMPSTARTER 2020 will also provide additional benefits to its participants, such as access to different ecosystems and international tech hubs.

JUMPSTARTER has drawn strong participation since its 2017 inception and has successfully raised public awareness of Hong Kong’s vibrant start-up community. JUMPSTARTER 2019 attracted over 10,000 attendees to its events and 600 proposals from 35 markets around the world.

Appendix 1 — Quotes from Global Co-organizer and Co-organizers of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HSBC JUMPSTARTER 2020

Global Co-organizer:

Stephen Phillips, Director-General of InvestHK, said: “With the enthusiastic responses of global track applications of JUMPSTARTER last year, we look forward to welcoming more start-ups from diverse industry backgrounds to apply for the JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition, and join us in the annual Hong Kong Fintech Week and StartmeupHK Festival. We also look forward to working closely with the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund to support start-ups and strengthen Hong Kong’s position as the leading international business location in Asia.”

Co-organizers:

Charles Li, Chief Executive of HKEX, said: “Entrepreneurs and start-up businesses are essential for the long term sustainability of a vibrant economy. They are also the big listed companies of the future. We are therefore very excited to be supporting JUMPSTARTER in helping them showcase quality start-ups and talent, and look forward to welcoming these young enterprises to Hong Kong, one of the world’s best locations for starting a new business. ”

Peter Yan, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Cyberport, said: “Cyberport is glad to be the co-organizer of JUMPSTARTER for the third consecutive year since its launch. This year we are delighted to take a step further to leverage our resources by co-investing with Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund in the outstanding start-ups. I would encourage Cyberport digital tech start-ups to actively participate in this global event and hope to see winners putting the entrepreneurial support to good use, and better capture the opportunities of digital tech wave through the international platform of JUMPSTARTER.”

Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer of HKSTP, said: “Our support of JUMPSTARTER is part of our drive to fast-track innovative start-ups in Hong Kong by connecting them with investors and business partners, and transforming laboratory innovation into commercial success. Alibaba is a great partner – we are also working together to incubate AI-focused start-ups at the HKAI Lab. HKSTP is now grooming 250 start-ups at Science Park through a range of initiatives including our accelerator programmes LEAP and the Global Acceleration Academy (GAA). These initiatives are fuelling the growth and sustainability of Hong Kong’s vibrant I&T ecosystem and to co-organizing JUMPSTARTER will simply further consolidate Hong Kong’s unique position as an International I&T hub for global companies and talent.”

Appendix 2 — Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HBSC JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition Timeline

All eight pitching events are opened for application now.

Location

Deadline for Application

Startup Shortlist Announcement

Semi-Pitch

Grand Finale

HONG KONG

Shenzhen

Jul 27, 2019

Aug 6, 2019

Aug 19-20, 2019

Feb 11-12, 2020

Kuala Lumpur

Aug 7, 2019

Aug 14, 2019

Aug 27-28, 2019

London

Aug 26, 2019

Sep 3, 2019

Sep 16-17, 2019

San Francisco

Sep 10, 2019

Sep 24, 2019

Oct 9-10, 2019

Toronto

Sep 18, 2019

Sep 30, 2019

Oct 16-17, 2019

Hong Kong

Oct 2, 2019

Oct 15, 2019

Oct 30-31, 2019

Beijing

Oct 22, 2019

Nov 5, 2019

Nov 19-20, 2019

Shanghai

Oct 28, 2019

Nov 12, 2019

Nov 26-27, 2019

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Experian A/NZ acquires Australian fintech Look Who’s Charging to bolster open data offering

Alexandru Marginean

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Source Photo: www.experianplc.com
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Consumers and financial institutions to benefit from richer data

Experian Australia & New Zealand today announces its acquisition of Look Who’s Charging, the Australian fintech startup which has solved the everyday frustrating problem of unrecognised bank transactions by providing instant clarification on the merchant behind a transaction.

Look Who’s Charging is integrated with a number of Australian banks, with their data available to millions of Australians directly within existing digital banking applications.

The move will combine Experian’s global open data solutions with Look Who’s Charging’s advanced enrichment capabilities. Following the recent legislation of Open Banking as the first stage of the Consumer Data Right (CDR), the deal will create a market leading open data platform in the Australian market that will have wide ranging benefits for consumers, businesses and financial institutions.

Experian’s present open data solution, built in the UK, facilitates 40% of all UK Open Banking application program interface (API) requests.

Andrew Black, Managing Director of Experian A/NZ explains how the acquisition enables Experian to provide organisations with a sophisticated aggregation and categorisation solution and granular insights for them to apply across their business:

“If a transaction is unable to be categorised accurately, it is often classed as ‘unknown’ which can result in decisions impacting consumers being based on limited data. This can have a big knock on effect if, for example, banks are using one platform to help a customer understand their own income and expenditure, and another to decide what loan they can afford.

With Look Who’s Charging’s enriched data integrated into our open data platform, we will be able to provide a uniquely accurate and comprehensive solution for the Australian market. This will help our customers lend more responsibly while enhancing their fraud checks and reducing their call centre traffic for unrecognised transaction queries, as well as ensuring consumers have a greater understanding of their financial situation.”

Over 1 billion transactions are enriched every single month through Look Who’s Charging’s platform to provide Australian consumers complete clarity on their spending.

“Look Who’s Charging’s forward-looking and problem-solving nature is aligned with our business and approach to innovation,” adds Mr Black. “We share the aim to help businesses and consumers make better and more informed decisions, and we are delighted to be working with a company who is truly having a positive impact on not only our financial services industry but Australian consumers too.”

Ben Elliott, CEO of Experian APAC commented: “The acquisition – our sixth investment in Asia Pacific since 2017 (following venture investments in Grab, Jirnexu, C88 Financial Technologies, BankBazaar.com and CompareAsiaGroup) – demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in this region and using our advanced data and analytics expertise to remove complexity from the lending process. Bringing Look Who’s Charging and our innovative solutions together will help Australian organisations, and ultimately consumers, as Open Banking standards are adopted in Australia.”

Founder of Look Who’s Charging, Stuart Grover, said: “We are extremely excited to combine the technology and data we have built to support the Australian banks with Experian’s market leading open data technology. We are very proud to have built Look Who’s Charging from an idea, born from the frustration of unrecognised transactions to a product which helps millions of Australian consumers, in under 4 years.

With Experian’s scale, we have an opportunity to help solve more of the immediate problems faced by Australian consumers and financial institutions, whilst the Look Who’s Charging solution is also rolled out to other key markets around the world.”

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Canadian Fintech iCASH Surpasses $100M in Loans Funded

Alexandru Marginean

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Photo Source: www.apple.com
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Company Celebrates Three Years of Revolutionizing Consumer Lending in Canada

Canadian financial technology company iCASH is celebrating three years of successful lending operations by surpassing $100 million in consumer loans. In this short time, the company has funded more than 200,000 loans and helped thousands of people to obtain support and alleviate financial stress.

“Reaching this milestone with the help of our customers has helped us fulfill our pledge to provide an improved financial experience for Canadians,” said Rachel Birtwistle, Director of Operations at iCASH. “Almost 50 percent of Canadians live pay-cheque to pay-cheque, and many of them are shut out of mainstream banking due to poor credit, a thin credit file, or income volatility. We understand that consumers are not simply a credit score, and that past financial mistakes do not necessarily affect their capacity to repay a loan. iCASH’s primary goal is to help Canadians break their debt cycle in a fair and affordable way.”

iCASH was the first lender in Canada to offer both a real-time loan application and the settlement of funds via e-transfer within two minutes of approval. They were also the first to offer instant loan assessments, providing customers with an immediate approval and eliminating the stressful waiting period typical for other creditors.

Currently, the iCASH app has been downloaded more than 125,000 times, while the website is regularly visited by thousands of Canadians. The company aims to offer a reliable escape from a cycle of debt.

“It’s all about helping people to better cope with and manage their finances, including the very real financial struggles that many Canadians face every day,” said Birtwistle.

The iCASH app is available on Android and iOS. For more information, visit icash.ca.

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BridgeMark Strategies Forms Strategic Alliance With Chalice Financial Network To Deliver Comprehensive Advisor Transitions Support And Services

Alexandru Marginean

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Photo Source: https://www.bridgemarkstrategies.com
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Leading Third-Party Transitions Consultancy and M&A Advisory Firm for Independent Wealth Management Space to Provide Solutions Designed to Maximize Preparedness in Post-Reg BI Regulatory Environment for Chalice’s Member Financial Advisors

BridgeMark Strategies (BridgeMark or “the firm”), a leading third-party advisor transitions consultancy and M&A advisory firm for the independent financial advisory space, announced today that it has formed a strategic alliance with Chalice Financial Network, a Software-as-a-Service-based member-benefit organization. As part of the new strategic alliance, BridgeMark Strategies will offer its services and solutions on a discounted basis to Chalice’s community of over 48,000 independent financial advisor members.

Led by Jeff Nash, a 25-year wealth management industry veteran, BridgeMark serves as an unbiased source of guidance and support for independent financial advisors, encompassing those looking to move between independent broker-dealer or RIA platforms, establish their own RIA, sell or buy a practice, or maximize growth opportunities by recruiting new advisors to their business. The firm leverages its extensive experience and unparalleled connections across the financial service space – spanning over 80 IBDs and RIAs – to help advisors make the most informed decision possible about the best steps to take to meet the current and future goals of their businesses.

Mr. Nash, BridgeMark CEO and co-founder, said, “BridgeMark is proud to partner with Chalice Financial Network, whose mission of providing independent advisors with access to the best possible services is completely aligned with ours. We look forward to a long collaboration with the Chalice team and their advisor members.”

Chalice’s members will gain access to BridgeMark’s comprehensive set of transition support and solutions, which are especially relevant to financial advisors managing between $50 million to $750 million advisory and brokerage assets, an often overlooked and underserved segment of the industry. Such advisors typically struggle to find unbiased consultation and advice, since most of the information they come across is provided by the firms attempting to recruit them.

BridgeMark’s entire set of services include:

  • Broker-dealer research and transition support: For advisors actively seeking to transition, BridgeMark helps them to understand their needs, wants and dislikes, then narrow down their list of options to a handful of possible destination firms. BridgeMark helps evaluate pros and cons of firms and then negotiates the most favorable transition incentives.
  • RIA transition support: For advisors considering starting or joining an RIA, BridgeMark helps to evaluate the pros and cons of the move and, if advisors choose that route, it assists in custodian evaluation and negotiations.
  • M&A support: For advisors actively looking to sell their businesses or merge them into other practices, BridgeMark uses its broad industry networks to identify potential acquisition or merger partners, then negotiate terms and help advisors close deals when the time arrives.

With the SEC recently having adopted Reg BI, advisors can rely on BridgeMark to serve as a trusted ally and counselor as they contemplate what the new regulatory landscape means for their business.

Chalice CEO Keith Gregg said, “We are thrilled to make the transition services that Jeff and his team provide more accessible to our members. Particularly for smaller practices that may not command the scale and attention that bigger offices do, having a resource like BridgeMark in their corner gives them crucial information that levels the playing field and ultimately empowers them to make the best strategic decisions for their business and their clients.”

Media Contacts:

Joseph Kuo / Andrew Wang

Haven Tower Group

424 317 4851 or 424 317 4859

jkuo@haventower.com or awang@haventower.com

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