Reply to article: Hong Kong Housing vs the World, a Startup’s Real Real Estate Cost

I wanted to share my reply to this article: Hong Kong Housing vs the World, a Startup’s Real Real Estate Cost because It really hits me. I really agree a lot with this post and wanted to share my response to this article and others from the startup community who have questioned the sense or believes it is just a rant from a dissatisfied expat.

I would like to share my humble opinion on the article as someone who came here from SF Bay Area. I must say that I agree with the author of the article.

I came here for Paul’s Startup Bootcamp and AcceleratorHK and ultimately decided to stick it here some more. I feel that HK’s startup ecosystem will rather benefit from having outside entrepreneurs come here, as Hong Kong’s mentality is still somewhat traditional. The more entrepreneurs you have, especially from different background and experience, the better the community.

I too live in a little “shack” that I call Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs (my room is even smaller than the one in the article, 6 stairs to climb and no AC…summer I’m looking forward.) I rent a room in a shared flat partly because it is what I can afford and partly because I don’t know how long I will stay here. Every time that I come home, I’m reminded how my one room in US is 3 times the size of my current place and that’s a shocker from many American entrepreneurs trying to create something here. It’s not something you can get used to overnight. The conveniences here actually become inconveniences and you start missing things such as having a car, driving and able to do grocery shopping in one go.

 The reason a lot of people choose to seek housing in Central (I don’t know any entrepreneur living in mid-levels), CWB, HK side compared to NT etc… (I live in Kowloon) is because as a non-Cantonese speaker, there are shared flats and even some landlords who will rent on short-term basis because they are used to foreigners. Startup founders do not have the means and knowledge of the future to sign a one-year contract, throw two months deposit and one month prepaid. Its absurd! NT is daunting to some of us because of two reasons. 1. Transportation time, not so much cost. Time is money. Spending 1.5 hours commuting to HK Island and back is wasted time doing something else. 2. Communication. There are likely fewer English-speaking people there, which make going to eat rather a challenge.

 I think the author is trying to shed some light for people who may want to come to Hong Kong and give a fair warning. Thank you for that.



Continue Reading

What you feel like the day after your demo day and the last social gathering

We killed it (again) at demo day! 😛


We had the tough job of going first and we kicked it off to a good show. The rest of the cohorts did an amazing job as well. Of course, we had to have an afterparty and I want to thank those of you who came out and congratulated us. 

I also hope that the startup community got to feel that the bar can be higher for startups in Hong Kong and don’t settle for less. Great demo days can happen, great companies and great teams and I think we are just beginning to see startup talents coming to light.

Now that we have finished demo day and AcceleratorHK program, it does feel like weights have been lifted off my shoulder. I feel…happy and sad, both at the same time. Why? Imagine you are learning how to ride your bike for the first time. Without assistance, one would most likely fall down a lot, get bruises, and cuts but AcceleratorHK is like your parent putting training wheels on your bike. They stabilize you, guide you, and make sure you stay on the road and not ride to the dirt.


But at some point, the training wheels have to come off. It’s sad because you are on your own but great because you know can ride by yourself and its up to you to choose where to go. I’ve come to think of the cohorts and Paul (dad) and Steve (mom) as our family. We have been through a lot, helped, criticized, and shared this journey together. Thank you 100village, Gonnect, PayAllies, Dynamino, and SurroundApp for this family trip.

When the program first started, I started to plan weekly dinner dubbed “Social Nights” every Thursday night where Steve and I came up with the cheering phrase Social for bumping drinks. We would often go eat at all you can eat or cheap local food since half of our team are not from Hong Kong then head out for a drink to blow stress away. Once a week, just social. I’m sorry to say that tonight will be the last AcceleratorHK Social for our group. Some people will leave the next day back to their home countries and since Chinese New Year is also starting Sunday, there may not be a lot of activities happening. 

What’s going to happen to my startup Taxiwise and us? Well its time to push the envelope higher, now that we have our training wheels off, its time to win the bike race. At some point in life, you get accustom to have support but know when you need to grow and be independent. But always remember to enjoy the bike ride. The journey is all worth it.




Continue Reading

What startup life feels like two days before demo day

Oh no! Demo Day is just two days away! Arg it feels like the world is about to end while it also feels like a new world is about to be born. Yes this conflicting is the result of months of preparations, anxiety, stress, happiness and expectations. 

Now, this isn’t actually my first demo day so I wasn’t as stressed as the first one. But the stakes and expectations are higher. One of my mentors told me that I could do better during an early rehearsal and that my last one was more fun. Oh boy…

One of the benefit of being in AcceleratorHK is that we have been practicing presentation for demo day since the first week so we are better prepared. It still is nerve racking when presenting but we have been critiqued to present better. The format will be different then most demo days as there will not be any Q&A, rather each team presents then we all go into our room where we serve an alcohol beverage of our home city to bring people to chat with us. 

Reading this post by Kyle Wild on How to write your demo day pitch has also been helpful. 

Its interesting because we are all anxious to get demo day over with and show everyone what we have been working on but its sad because we know the program ends on that day and our startup family will have to split apart. Some will go back home to their respective country and others like us will stay here in Hong Kong.

Stay tuned and if you haven’t, sign up for our demo day




Continue Reading
1 2 3 5