The Difficulties (Not) of Starting A Business in Hong Kong
I have recently been asked by the Institute of Directors in Hong Kong China to detail the difficulties of starting a business in Hong Kong. I have been starting businesses from scratch pretty much for my whole working life from my recent firm NEST, an early stage startup investment firm, to my earlier business, agency Fluid www.fluidhk.com. I had to think long and hard about the challenges.
For example, I hear from many that raising money for a business idea is hard in the region. In equal measure, people in Hong Kong say to me, “It’s much easier to raise money in London right now!” But on a recent visit to London, I spoke to founders there who said that they had heard it was easy to raise money in Hong Kong right now!
My view (and experience) is that if you have a good idea in Hong Kong, there will be a queue of people waiting to invest in it. Therefore the truth is that only bad business ideas cannot get funding — or that the founders are not trying hard enough or not talking to the right investors. Interestingly enough, my investment firm Nest recently funded a startup by two Israeli founders who live in San Francisco called Merchantz, who said that they found it easier to find investment in Hong Kong than in Silicon Valley or Israel! So everyone seems to have an opposing view on this subject.
Another issue often discussed is that there is no talent in Hong Kong and a lack of business know-how in China, so it’s hard for companies to scale. Again, I have not found this to be the case.
Read more: Simon on Hong Kong startup issues
Simon Squibb is the Hong Kong-based founder of angel investor and accelerator firm Nest Investments and founder of Investable.vc, a platform to connect entrepreneurs and investors. See www.nest.vc.