StartmeupHK Venture Forum

StartmeupHK Venture Forum

StartmeupHK Festival 2016 is part of the department’s ongoing initiative to promote the city as one of the fastest growing start-up hubs in the world. The StartmeupHK Venture Forum is the highlight of the week-long Festival where startups and key participants from the four industry verticals as well as international speakers will gather under one roof and share new ideas.   


StartmeupHK's flagship conference with inspiring keynote speakers and panel discussions


26 January 2016, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

By invitation only.


Conference Room, 2/F, Government HQ, Tamar

Webcast link:
(Accessible at 9:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Hong Kong Time (GMT +8) on 26 January)

Confirmed speakers

Fireside Chat - Elon Musk on Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Kristi Lu Stout, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN International


Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Tesla Motors, Inc. 

Driving Innovation in Hong Kong: Alibaba’s HK$1B Fund


Cindy Chow, Executive Director, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund

Panel: Hong Kong Success Stories
Moderator:  Deborah Kan, New Media Entrepreneur
Panelists:  Kevin Chan, Co-founder and CEO, Insight Robotics
Eric Gnock Fah, Co-founder, Klook

Paul Tomes, Co-founder and CEO, PassKit

Panel: Innovation in Asia and the Role Hong Kong Can Play
Moderator: Shery Ahn, Reporter, Bloomberg Television
Panelists: Fred Mouawad, Chairman and CEO, Synergia One Group of Companies
Fritz Demopoulos, Founder, Queen’s Road Capital
Mitchell Presnick, Founder, Super 8 Hotels (China) Co Ltd
Grace Xia, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy and Development, Tencent

Confirmed speakers's bios :

 Elon Musk (Speaker)

As lead designer at SpaceX, Elon oversees the development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit, in 2008. Following that milestone, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft won the NASA contract to provide a commercial replacement for the cargo transport function of the Space Shuttle, which retired in 2011. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch and recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft. In 2012, Dragon achieved the distinction of being the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth. In 2014, SpaceX won a commercial crew contract from NASA to carry astronauts in 2017. By pioneering the development of reusable rockets, SpaceX is pursuing the long-term goal of making humans a multi-planetary species.

At Tesla, Elon serves as product architect, overseeing product development, engineering, and design for the all-electric vehicle range, which is manufactured in Fremont, California. The Tesla Roadster sports car debuted in 2008, followed by the Model S Sedan, which was introduced in 2012, and the Model X SUV, which came out in 2015. The Model S was named Consumer Reports’ Best Overall Car in 2014 and 2015 and earned the highest-ever safety rating awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From the beginning, Tesla’s mission has been rooted in accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy economy, in which compelling electric transport will play a crucial role. In that spirit, the company opened its patents to all in 2014. 

In addition, Elon is the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create. SolarCity is now the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States. Previously, Elon co-founded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and served as the company's Chairman and CEO.

 Shery Ahn (Moderator)
Shery Ahn is a reporter for Bloomberg Television. Based in Hong Kong, Shery covers business and economic developments bringing broad journalism experience and a wealth of knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to Bloomberg Television, Shery was an anchor for NHK World in Tokyo where she hosted the network’s weekday news programme, Newsline. Shery began her broadcast career with ArirangTV in Seoul as a Diplomatic and Business Correspondent. She received her degree in Political Science and Communications from Seoul National University. Raised in Bolivia, she speaks Spanish, Korean and Japanese.

  Kevin Chan (Panel Speaker)
Kevin Chan is Co-founder and CEO of Insight Robotics where he drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. Under Kevin’s leadership, Insight Robotics stands at the forefront of helping industry qualify risks through robotics, sensor technology, artificial intelligence and data collection. Insight Robotics technologies currently protect more than 6,000 square kilometers of high-value and high-risk land area. Prior to Insight Robotics, Kevin founded several successful startups throughout southeast Asia and Mainland China. He has a Professional Diploma of Enterprise Directorship from the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Institute of Directors.

Cindy Chow (Speaker)
Cindy Chow, Executive Director, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, has served as the qualified accountant of since joining the company in 2007. She was responsible for managing the company’s public compliance and instituting’s financial operations outside of Mainland China. Subsequent to the privatisation of in 2012, Chow was responsible for the financial operations of all overseas offices of the Alibaba Group. Prior to joining Alibaba, she served in a number of finance roles at various listed groups in Hong Kong. Chow is a qualified accountant in the US and Hong Kong, and holds an MBA from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

  Fritz Demopoulos (Panel Speaker)
Fritz Demopoulos has been involved in a number of internet and media projects in China.  He co-founded Qunar, which was listed on the NASDAQ; and Shawei, which was acquired by Hutchison Whampoa affiliate Tom Online. Demopoulos also held senior executive positions at Netease and The News Corporation. Demopoulos coordinates his investment and entrepreneurial business activities through Hong Kong-based Queen’s Road Capital.  He was educated at UCLA, Karls-Ruprecht University in Heidelberg, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Cal State Fullerton.

  Eric Gnock Fah (Panel Speaker)
Eric Gnock Fah grew up in Mauritius, an exotic travel destination, and grew up speaking seven languages. He is a cultural explorer at heart and received his BA degree in the US. After graduation, Fah moved to Hong Kong and began working at Morgan Stanley, specialising as an advisor to consumer and travel companies in Asia. He became very familiar with the travel sector and decided to make it his career, pursuing his passion to travel the world. Fah is the co-founder of Klook Travel, a one-stop shop where travelers can explore and book a curated selection of fun things to do. These experiences are verified and vetted by Klook’s team of travel curators, and made easily bookable online, on-the-go, at the most affordable price.

  Deborah Kan (Moderator)
Deborah Kan is a new media entrepreneur, speaker on media, and an award-winning news anchor and journalist. Previously Executive Producer at The Wall Street Journal, Kan launched the paper’s video operation in Asia and enlarged it into a substantial operation reaching from Japan to Australia. She also spearheaded the production of several documentaries and multimedia projects in Asia. Prior to joining the Journal in 2011, she was a news anchor with Reuters Insider, a Thomson Reuters proprietary news channel, where she reported extensively on Mainland China’s massive economic stimulus package in 2009. She began her broadcast career in San Francisco with KPIX-TV, a CBS affiliate, before relocating to Hong Kong as host of TVB’s “News at 7:30”. Kan studied broadcast journalism at Stanford University. In 2010, she attended the Young Global Leaders programme at Harvard University. She is currently launching a multimedia-content site focusing on health and technology.

  Kristie Lu Stout (Moderator)
An anchor and correspondent at CNN International, Kristie Lu Stout grew up in Cupertino and studied journalism as an undergraduate at Stanford University, writing for The Stanford Daily and KZSU. In the early 1990s, she travelled to Mainland China in order to learn Standard Chinese at Tsinghua University, freelance for the South China Morning Post, and worked at Sohu. In 1996, she started working as an editorial intern at Wired, and before 1997 she graduated with a master's degree in media studies from Stanford. In 2000, a senior producer for CNN invited Stout to work as a "television and dotcom reporter". Starting from 2001, she hosted the daily World Report which earned her a 2006 Asian Television Award as Best News Presenter or Anchor when it was still called CNN Today. She also hosts the talk show Talk Asia occasionally. 

  Nissa Marion (Master of Ceremonies)
Nissa Marion is the Co-founder, Editor in Chief and Event Director of Ecozine, Asia’s premiere guide to modern sustainable living, which produces a quarterly print magazine, a daily-updated website (, a weekly e-newsletter and world-class events such as Hong Kong’s own Zero Waste Week, successfully launched in 2015. She is committed to using popular media to focus the world’s attention on environmental issues and inspire change for the better. An active member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Sustainable Development Committee and Business Environment Council, Nissa's business achievements have been recognised in the media as well as the Women of Hope Awards, Spirit of Hong Kong Awards and InvestHK’s Canada Success Stories.

  Fred Mouawad (Panel Speaker)
Fred Mouawad, Chairman and CEO of Synergia One Group of Companies, is a portfolio entrepreneur and founder of the Synergia One Group of Companies. Synergia One is an entity grouping all the firms that he founded, including his family’s jewelry business of which he is the fourth generation. The group operates in 16 countries across several industries, encompassing gems and jewelry retailing, watchmaking, food-service franchising, food manufacturing, interior fit-out, IT development and consulting, as well as publishing and trade shows. With experience in private equity, in incubating and growing several ventures internationally, and in co-managing with his brothers the century-old family business, Mouawad has developed comprehensive management systems that seek synergies across his portfolio to maximise value-creation. Grown up in Geneva, Switzerland, Mouawad is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America and has co-authored articles in gemology. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  He is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, is ISO 9001 trained, and a member of the Young Presidents' Organization.  

  Mitchell Presnick (Panel Speaker)
Mitchell Presnick is founder, and former CEO and Board Chairman of Super 8 Hotels (China) Co Ltd, a brand operated in Greater China under a master license granted by Wyndham Hotel Group Super 8 China. It entered the market in 2004 and has more than 900 franchised and lease-managed economy hotel properties in operation or under development in Mainland China. Presnick is also an active venture capitalist and angel investor in Greater China and India, and holds board positions with startups in both areas. He is an American expatriate in Asia and a permanent Hong Kong resident with more than 27 years of on-site Mainland China entrepreneurship, market/brand development, and early stage, private equity investment experience. Prior to establishing Super 8 China, Presnick served as China manager for Edelman, a US-based public relations agency, as well as founder and former China managing director of APCO Associates, a Washington, DC-based public affairs firm. 

  Paul Tomes (Panel Speaker)
As PassKit Inc’s CEO and Co-founder, Paul Tomes is responsible for identifying and directing new mobile wallet opportunities all over the world. Tomes is leading the charge in the mobile wallet revolution - inspiring interest, unlocking understanding, and providing companies the technology and capabilities to confidently and effectively realise the potential of the mobile wallet. He is responsible for developing new business opportunities and for articulating PassKit's business value as the only company in its space offering secure, scalable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure to key business partners, enabling them to embrace the mobile-wallet market. He oversees PassKit's overall business strategy and has responsibility for the technology systems, solutions and business services. He has provided strategic consulting to major business partners, empowering them to drive every type of mobile campaign.

Grace Xia (Panel speaker)
Grace Xia, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy and Development, Tencent, has 10 years of experience in business development, corporate strategy and management consulting in top tier technology companies (both Fortune 50 and Start-up companies). She has proven track record in developing new business models, new product/features, new geographic market via partnerships and strategic alliances as well as extensive experience negotiating and closing deals. An expert in conducting complex analyses and researches, she has experiences in delivering quantitative based strategic and tactical solutions in the US and overseas emerging markets.