Now that our startup accelerator programme is up and running, we took some time to analyse our applications to gain some insights about Hong Kong's startup ecosystem.
It was first and foremost, a great experience to read through all of the applications and it was an honour to speak with all the talented founders about their visions and aspirations to build exciting companies.
But what did the application process teach us?
The entire Betatron team gained tremendous insights into how diverse and vibrant the startup community is in Hong Kong and beyond.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the applicants were based in Hong Kong. However, we were surprised that 23% of applicants came from overseas. Especially, because we didn't target any of our marketing efforts outside of Hong Kong.
We wanted to focus on Hong Kong startups, but word obviously spread to other countries, as we received applications from USA, Australia, China, Spain, Kenya, Italy, Canada, UK, Singapore, and several others.
On average, the applicants had four team members, which typically comprised of two founders and two full-time employees. In terms of gender, 72% of applicants were male and 18% were female.
Regarding the startup's previous funding history, 65% were bootstrapped, 25% were funded by friends and family, 8% were funded by angels, and 3% already had VC funding.
Betatron didn't have an industry specific focus, as we allowed startups from all sectors to apply. So it was interesting to see which industries the majority of applicants came from. The three biggest sectors we received applications from in were IT & Enterprise, ECommerce, and Finance.
Within IT & Enterprise, there were many companies focused on app development, retail (POS systems), recruitment, and logistics solutions. The majority of ECommerce startups were focused on fashion, beauty and marketplace applications for goods and services. And Fin-tech, not surprisingly, was also a popular category, with many startups focused on payments and investment tools / platforms.
The below graphic gives an in-depth look at the industry sectors.
In terms of the applicant's customer focus, 54% were B2C, 38% were B2B , while 8% combined both B2C and B2B business models.
Why did the startups apply to our programme? We asked every applicant this question. The most common answer for the majority was to gain the ability to access funding. Not only the initial US$30,000 investment, but also having access to our VC and investor partners, who can help them optimize their startup for later rounds of fundraising.
The strong network of our founding partners was also a big appeal to our applicants. As many of them stated that they wanted to receive hands-on mentorship from our team of industry experts and successful entrepreneurs to help them effectively build their businesses.
If you didn’t get accepted into the programme, don’t be discouraged. This is Betatron’s first cohort of many which we will run in the future. IC Studio will be giving free consultation sessions to all interested
applicants to give them feedback on their businesses.
Our goal at Betatron is to provide ongoing support to all Hong Kong startups and to strengthen the Hong Kong entrepreneurial ecosystem.
On that note, keep working hard and focus your efforts on building an amazing product / service which adds tremendous value to your customers. And don't forget about building your team either - develop your startup's culture and focus on attracting the best talent to join you on your mission.