“Coming to Hong Kong is so far one of the best decisions that we have made.”

Mayuko Yamaura, Co-founder

Brand Pit was founded by TT Chu and Mayuko Yamaura in Tokyo in 2013. The partnership helps brands to “see” who is using their products on social media. In 2014, Brand Pit was selected as one of the winners of the StartmeupHK Venture Programme organised by InvestHK. During StartmeupHK Week in November 2014, Chu was introduced to blueprint, Swire Properties’ B2B tech startup accelerator, and was admitted to the six-month long programme in end 2014. Brand Pit is now based in Hong Kong, in the co-work space provided by blueprint.

Brand Pit uses image-based analytics tool to identify logos, products, people as well as the environment in photos, thus providing brands with insights and the means to engage with their customers. “Nowadays 1.8 billion photos are posted on social media every single day and 80 percent of them are not hashtagged,” Chu explained. “Brand managers are interested in these photos because those photos often show how their customers are using their products. But it’s hard for them to find them since existing analytic tools are all keyword based,” Chu explained.

Brand Pit came to Hong Kong for two keyreasons. First, one of its main potential client groups is advertising agencies and there are hundreds of them in the city. Second, many of these agencies are headquartered in Europe or the US where Brand Pit also wants to expand its business.

According to Yamaura, business in Hong Kong moves much quicker than Japan. “People are willing to try new things and this is important for B2B startups since it is essential for us to be able to work with pilot users to optimise products,” she said. “Also, Hong Kong is a great hub to expand business in Asia as well as Mainland China. Coming to Hong Kong is so far one of the best decisions that we have made.”

According to Chu, the Hong Kong startup scene is similar in terms of development to other Asian cities like Tokyo or Taipei. “The Hong Kong Government and the private sector are pushing hard to build the startup ecosystem, and the public’s approval and acceptance of startup culture is much better than it was 10 years ago,” he said.

“Legislation is favourable to business: registering a company is fast, easy and cheap. Accounting and tax treatments are also very agreeable. For startups wishing set up in Hong Kong, there are plenty of co-work spaces and startup centres provided by the incubators and accelerators,” he added.

After spending two months in Hong Kong, Yamaura already loves the city and wishes to stay. “Things are much more diverse and people are more open-minded here than elsewhere. I really enjoy the cultural diversity and the food in Hong Kong,” Yamaura said.

About the Co-Founders

TT Chu has a background in engineering. He worked in various international investment banks across several major financial hubs in the world while honing his programming skills as a hobby. Mayuko Yamaura studied marketing at Portland State University followed by seven years in IT/marketing research companies in the US and Japan.

Fast Facts: Brand Pit

  • Established in 2013 in Tokyo, Japan
  • Its ambition is to revolutionise branding and advertising
  • Won numerous awards around the world: Winner of StartmeupHK Venture Programme 2014, Gold award winner of ICT Award 2015, Winner of Ideas Show Taiwan 2014, Top 62 in Echelon Singapore 2014, voted as most liked in Seedstars World 2014 (Geneva), voted as most innovative in Singapore Six-a-pitch 2014, Winner of Tokyo Stock Exchange 2013, Winner of Slush Japan 2013, finalist of Innovation Week Finale Japan 2013, finalist of SF Japan night 2013