Casey Lau from StartupsHK + Softlayer Catalyst on the Hong Kong Startup Scene

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Case Studies, Podcast2 Comments

plugged into hong kong startup scene with Casey lau startupshk

Today’s episode I’m lucky enough to catch an interview w/ Casey Lau, co-founder of Startups HK and also the Asia Pacific Community manager at Softlayer Hosting. I get some time to chat about the Hong Kong startup scene and how those who have a Hong Kong company but not in the local area can get involved.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Brief introduction on how StartupsHK started, its mission, and where its headed
  • Listeners who may have a HK company but not based here in Hong Kong – is it OK for offshore HK startups (based outside of HK, but in China / SE Asia, etc) to get involved w/ StartupsHK
  • Introduction of Softlayer catalyst program and how do Hong Kong companies take advantage of it
  • Recommended tips for a new Hong Kong startups to get involved or “plugged in” to the scene

People / Companies Mentioned in this Episode

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Podcast Transcription

Below we had this podcast converted to text, as it is a top listened episode, enjoy!

Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business from Hong Kong is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.

Mike: Thank you listeners for tuning in to another episode of Global From Asia. We’re at episode 3 today. As kinda live it earlier because my internet is not working today in my home and office, here in Shenzhen and coming frustrations for us doing business here, there’s the internet rather than me getting more stressful and annoy, I record a podcast sooner so. Last week I was in Hong Kong, I got a chance to sit down with Casey Lau from startups HK and this guy is the man to know he is the super connector in Hong Kong with start ups community so, we’re lucky to have him on the show. Afterwards, after short interview, I kind of this is some ways that I catch him with the amazing things that Casey has done with community and some of his program, so stay tune after.

And we are here with Casey Lau from startups HK and softlayer. Thanks for being here with us, Casey.

Casey: Hey! How is it going, Mike? Nice to see you again.

Mike: Sure. So we got few questions here for you and we’re gonna start with you know, the history of Startups HK, how it start with, your mission, and what is your plan in the future?

Casey: Well, basically it started few years ago. My support in Hong Kong, he basically suggested that we get together, had some coffees and met every week and kinda talk about our startups and that number of group from 6 to 5000 now 4 years later. So some sort of it’s just a typical thing but we’re able to copy and replicate here in Hong Kong, and it’s just been fantastic. What we do is we call networking events, conferences and workshops and basically we help people connect, with startups here in Hong Kong. That’s non-profit organization.

Mike: Okay, good. And yeah, I’ve been to bunch of events like this and it’s getting better and better so it starts on Saturday, was just asked to connect and yeah.

Casey: We actually do quarterly now. The demands is quite. So the next one we do when you, and so kick start and you hardware and create we thought that would be an interesting topic, topics would be hardware, and create things interesting topics and the one after that that would be in January and next March would be about games, this sort of.

Mike: Okay, so how should people update that?

Casey: Okay. The one that I’d the like the best was the newsletter because it’s weekly and you you don’t to bar a lot of messages. You join our Facebook group maybe in your time with Facebook group, we have Linkedln, Twitter is the main source of our group, the whole group is on Twitter, we have Google plus and Instagram. So all these different platforms. So I think the best is the switch on to and sign up for the newsletter and get down on how we can assist and as well why you’re there, sign up for start base on Hong Kong startups. It’s a new kind of directory and it start up with creating long side, side report that will basically list it all the startups in town and be a vehicle for investors and media to talk to and can connect with.

Mike: Thanks, Casey. So I think our listeners are thinking about, but this here you now, are they, you know, it’s what part of tips.

Casey: We would like to have anybody, to start up community, welcome to Hong Kong and share and enjoy with us, if they think they just can hook up with the newsletters, or actually we just launch a new calendar, google calendar, just tap into your phone and show up and have like to talk about umm people just have to contact me and discuss how, we can talk about what they’re doing, as you know, in startups the most important part is sharing you know and all the rest of the community.

Mike: Okay, and then one of my friends, he is actually working in a restaurant in Hong Kong company, so I think it would be great, think about it.

Casey: Oh, yeah. Definitely. It’s a good idea to share like utilize resources and how they use. We’d love to know, you know, on a good technical designs on what can we do to extend and reach out to them. ‘cause yeah, in Hong Kong, you know talented not in town but it seems hard to find.

Mike: I was actually just thinking the same thing.

Case: Exactly.

Mike: And then software catalyst would be a startup socialize, I’m just graduate program, you guys help me a lot would be good for our listeners interested though.

Casey: Sure. Yeah, so I have a day job, Community Manager for Asia Pacific Software Catalyst, which is basically for virtual incubator so for 1 year. You and your program, you get thousands US dollar a month, mostly credit you, get mentor support from myself and my colleagues around the world and you can tap into software connections and emails so those may or may not help you a lot but the access is there for your credit so you can have for a year, buy that software right now, newly acquire IBM, the connection network opens up a lot, and we’re able to give those connections back to startups, so if you’re interested in that just email me, start doing and it’s really simple process they can get on board.

Mike: Great! and the my last question for today is so up again, i think the audience, you’ll be startups in Hong Kong soon, so what would be that one tip?

Casey: To start, like are they starting already?

Mike: Maybe if doing something like prototype, they wanna get involved to see, event or marker on your calendar.

Casey: I really think that startups working in vacuum to create it. I think that Hong Kong sometimes to create it, a resort networking right , so this is very important things, I think. So if you do some startups few months will get into the system right now because people like myself Gene Soo my co-founder, John Buford we’re all very open to investors, partners, whole world, even we don’t know about, we are planning these things over time cool new stuff they’re doing, we got expanded, moving for a year, it’s a huge thing, and it’s a lot of resources, but, yeah, as you know, startupsHK gets equal system, 4 stars, we’re not connected to government, we’re not connected to any private companies, so you just gotta really need a help, so if you don’t get advantage on that, and i feel that easier, it seems weird, like you wouldn’t want to because it’s free, and once you come out much be equal for what everybody admits in gather and growing stronger in Hong Kong community.

Mike : Cool and thanks Casey for your time today, and I think that’s about it.

Casey : Thank you, Michael.

Mike : Okay. Thanks for coffee.

Casey : Okay. Enjoy your coffee.

Mike: Okay. So now, for some key take away from Casey’s interview here, so started few years ago, I was kind of around the scene when it was happening. I was all over the South East Asia and Mainland China. Whenever I go to Hong Kong, I always try to take advantage of some of their amazing events and this gotten bigger and better as I said in the interview but to startup on Saturday and startup on Saturday is a full day event of speakers and panels and I got there was right in Hong Kong, central Hong Kong, it was right in Hong Kong in Wanchai and opening speakers from talking about mobile scene in Hong Kong and there was panelist of invest local, investors, lots of questions and answers. Steve was talking about hybrid half development versus native app development, sort of all kinds learning things going on small fees entrance fees and the networkings are really amazing afterwards, social mixed where you can talk to the speakers and all other participants, so it was about 2 or 300 people there in attendance, just get an idea you really get to, get a good idea of the scene and a lot of more connections every time. So definitely come in to register a company or, and come into do some kind of taxes and banking, trial check out that calendar, that Casey mentioned that link to the website in our episodes notes, so check out that. Definitely take advantage of this amazing events to go to your network here in Hong Kong. Another thing is you know he did mentioned that he would love to connect with other startups all over the world, or in Southeast Asia, so I think there’s a lot of opportunities maybe we get some talent or similar, or Philippines, or other parts, into Hong Kong and speak, a lot to do come in and they don’t know Casey, they don’t know this full startups scene definitely there’s a huge opportunity to bridge this South East Asia to Hong Kong, world of startups and technology, there’s a lot of energy that need to be done there, that, so we should try to do something about that, and also, like he said, Casey has a day job, more on networking in community development for startups scene, and which is software and the catalyst program, to those who don’t know, catalyst program, like he said it produce thousands of US dollar credit per month, so USD12,000 postings in their system, but in addition to that, he does pretty much helpful to hook you up into community even more, i just said graduated in my 12 months for social limited. And during the program we organize a focus group and help us get a conference room, which is really hard to do in Hong Kong, so expensive, at least, we ended our start up team was able to leverage that, about 8-10 people in a conference room to get feedback about our start up so that was another amazing thing that you guys can look into while talking to Casey. Okay, that’s a wrap. Thank you guys for tuning in to another episode of global from asia and please subscribe to our itunes channel was just approved at See you next week.

To get more info on running international business via Hong Kong, please visit our website at that’s Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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2 Comments on “Casey Lau from StartupsHK + Softlayer Catalyst on the Hong Kong Startup Scene”

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