The Future is in Hong Kong!

It’s that time of the year again! Time to say goodbye to the good old USA and head east! I think I’ve traveled at about this time of year for the past 6 years!

The Pearl of Asia, the famous nickname of Hong Kong, is our next destination on the map. A funny thing happened last week, we got accepted to’s startup boot camp that runs for 3 months starting July 9th!

We pondered for hours (we only had a few days to decide), whether to embark and attend this class or do our own thing. We were already planning on heading to Hong Kong in August to promote the app and use HK as a testing ground for it. This pushed our plans forward by a month.

We have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that HK is where we need to head to launch the app. It is also one of the most metropolitan places in the world and with smartphone penetration at 35%, it’s an ideal place to test CityWise

Several thoughts came into our heads as to accept or decline the offer. First, this is, in a sense, a pilot program as they have not done this before but it’s headed by competent people in Hong Kong with previous startup experience: Jonathan Bufford and Paul Orlando.  

Also, do we really need to attend a boot camp? After all, this is our second startup and we are essentially heading to Hong Kong for our own ‘boot camp.’ In a sense, do we need a boot camp within a boot camp? Of course, there’s also the program fee which runs about 3670USD for the three month period and which includes a shared working space. Now that may not seem like a lot for 3 months worth of knowledge but for a startup, that’s $$$ that we can’t spend carelessly. Of course, being lean and bootstrapping also means spending money where it is useful and holding off on unnecessary expenses. However, we do have to keep in mind that we are damn poor and will be living like hermits for the next 3-4 months! We already talked about the overall amount that we are willing to spend on this project before it’s time to really go back and find a job…otherwise we won’t be able to eat! What’s more impactful is knowing that this is our second try and we have already wasted a lot of $$$ on the first one, so we better do the second one right. 

Would we learn and get help on what we needed? Is this the right program for us? It may be perhaps one of the toughest choices we need to make. We also have to tell ourselves not to lose focus; we are there to learn, test, and market the app.

Ultimately, we decided to go with our guts and give it a shot. And here’s why:

Although $3670 is a lot (not including airfare and rent which is $900 for a one way flight and about $750/month for rent), would we regret it later if we chose not to go? We may learn alot of things, instead of being too cocky and think we know everything there is to know. We may even make friends or gain valuable connections and advisors. It might be one of our greatest experiences and plus we can add it on to our startup’s resume. 😛

The other thing that prompted me to join the boot camp is that after we are done with the program, we become part of the alumni network. Being from Silicon Valley, we are taught and live the essense of: pay it forward (the expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it done for others instead). This is one of the reasons why the Silicon Valley Startup scene is thriving. If it’s possible for me to help out future startups with advice, my experiences, ideas or encouragement, then being part of this network is worth it to me. Especially, since the startup scene in Hong Kong is still developing and it needs all the help it can get. 

So with 3 weeks left in the States, we are doing everything to get ready as well as the app which should be done a few days before we take off. It’s both exciting and scary as i’ve never been out of the US for that long (but I’ve been to Hong Kong several times). Let’s see what’s in store for us in Hong Kong! Stay tuned for more. 

On the side note, my cousin and i will soon be launching the world’s first automatic and touchscreen pet feeder on kickstarter. More info soon!



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