HKSSG: Hong Kong’s first decentralised open-source startup community

Initially started from a single LinkedIn post by a startup founder looking for help, it brought other startup founders together to pool resources together into helping each other grow through contacts and help. With that initial seed, within 5 weeks Hong Kong Startup Support Group (HKSSG) grew to 300 startups and has continued to gain traction ever since.

The reason for this growth is that startup entrepreneurs found the stripped back nature and honest sharing a refreshing change from the public social network platforms where most founders curate a version of themselves. Members are able to more honestly relate to other startups and find the support they need in terms of morale or knowledge in HKSSG.

This is almost certainly the result of the core members; Gary Ng (Customindz), Simon Wong (FundKernel), Hugo Cheuk (botzup), Brad Emery (Aimviva) and Benson Lau (Zencode) who rallied the typically fractured Hong Kong startup community into a Whatsapp group.

From sharing investor profiles to sharing latest schemes from the government to even barter trading for various services, the HKSSG group is allowing startups to do what they do best; find unconventional bootstrapping methods to improve their businesses. All the while sharing the core values of HKSSG: helping members gain exposure, sharing knowledge and collaboration between members.

This culture is almost certainly borne from the majority of Hong Kong technology startups that reside in HKSSG, which constantly pivot and develop their product in short sprints on an agile basis and so are used to this method of operating. And with the diversity of the types of members from major incubators and accelerators, investors (angels and VCs), mentors and of course to startups (both early stage and growth stage) it leads to very spirited and wide ranging discussions.

Speed is the primary decision tool of HKSSG, just like the startups under them, constantly iterating to suit the market and conditions around them. It’s in-built into the mindset of its companies, that need to be better than the competitors around them. This leads to very robust and innovative businesses in Hong Kong. In such a manner HKSSG has also been very active to help bring the community further along.

HKSSG celebrated its first event partnered with HKSTP to give a talk on their incubation programs with one of HKSSG’s members sharing about their recent entrance into HKSTP’s incubation program. And a second event “Investable Ideas” including Clarence Ling (Ztore), Rafal Czerniawski (Betatron), Rudy Chan (Angel Investor) and Emanual Breiter (AAIC Ventures). And a third initiative being 10 booths over 3 days at RISE Conference for selected members (with Principal as the sponsor) of HKSSG. ALL these events have happened WITHIN 3 WEEKS.

 

HKSSG could only come about in a city like Hong Kong, with it’s fast changing society that disrupts itself constantly and stands out amongst other cities. From re-inventing itself in the 1970s with the world’s most admired public transport network, the MTR, to being a financial hub of along the likes of New York and London, Hong Kong will continue to change in the new Industry 4.0 and develop some unconventional startups borne out of disruption.

It is hoped that a non-aligned community like HKSSG will accelerate that growth and help consolidate the spread out nature of Hong Kong startups and communities, especially helping investors to connect via a single point to numerous startups that exist in Hong Kong. Creating a startup building within the virtual world.

Endless change in a world of possibilities, that’s what Hong Kong has always been about. The ability to innovate comes naturally amongst the population of over 7 million people, especially with the very competitive nature. It is the hope of HKSSG that more Investors will come into Hong Kong and see the potential of ideas and execution from Hong Kong.