Cyberport probably is the startup hub of reference in Hong Kong. A lot of Hong Kong startups are based there and if you get in, you get free office space, one of the most valuable things you can get in Hong Kong. Cyberport-based Hong Kong startup Gaifong and its founder Elliot Leung spoke to GrowthKungFu co-founders Wai Hoi Tsang and Pritish Sanyal about whether applying for Cyberport is worth it.
This blog has been written based on the interview with Elliot Leung, founder of Gaifongapp.com
You have been incubated by Cyberport. Cyberport, obviously, one of the biggest government-funded incubators in Hong Kong, a lot of startups incubated here. If you come into Hong Kong, this is probably one of the first places you look to coming.
Elliot: Our experience has been great. Cyberport is actually related to the government but not part of the government. It's a private company wholly owned by the government. Meaning that it's actually profit-making. It actually has a shopping mall and office space, which it leases out at regular market rates to normal companies like Microsoft, Samsung and McDonalds.
Any profit they glean from that, they put to use by helping startups. You can apply to this incubator and if you get accepted, you get a free office - you have to pay management fees, but it's pretty cheap - or you can apply for an even earlier stage grant, which is just a check that gives you a certain amount, around US$12,5K, which goes into your concept development.
The cool thing about this is that they don't actually take equity. Unlike other incubators who take maybe like, 10-12 percent, Cyberport doesn't take equity. It's really just helping local startups get started. It's been amazing for us.
In terms of advantages and disadavantages, what does that mean?
Elliot: Advantages, it's great, free office space and there's some cash involved. That's definitely good. In the beginning when we were just starting out, we didn't have anything to show. We couldn't raise any funds yet. It was really just a spreadsheet. With this spreadsheet, I got that small check of US$12,5K, which allowed us to run a few MVPs.
Disadvantage, if you ask ten people who've applied, ten people will tell you that the application procedure is pretty bad. You actually have to submit a bunch of forms and the deadlines to meet nor the questions are that user-friendly. To their credit, they're actually reforming this right now in the coming batch. That's the main disadvantage though.
To read more about the Cyberport startup program, see their website.
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