The Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (the “Fund”), a not-for-profit initiative of Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), which was set up last November to support entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, today announced the selection of three early-stage companies as the first batch of companies to receive minority investments from the Fund.
The three companies are YEECHOO, Shopline and GoGoVan. YEECHOO operates an online designer apparel rental business; Shopline provides cloud-based computing solutions for small and medium-sized companies to launch and manage ecommerce operations; and GoGoVan offers intra-city logistics services through a real-time platform that connects customers with a network of delivery service providers. The three companies are based in Hong Kong with significant local operations.
Mr. Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group and director of the Fund, said: “These companies embrace technology to create value for the society, and we are excited to work with them and help them grow their businesses with resources available from the Fund and Alibaba Group. The entrepreneurs behind these companies also exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit in Hong Kong. We look forward to supporting more aspiring entrepreneurs in Hong Kong in the future.”
In addition to funding, the companies will have the opportunity to leverage resources from Alibaba Group’s vibrant ecosystem in order to scale and accelerate the expansion into other markets.
Since November 2015, the Fund has received more than 200 applications from entrepreneurs whose companies were in different stages of development. The three companies were selected after several rounds of management interviews and extensive due diligence reviews. The Fund will continue to look for promising entrepreneurs and engaging them through discussion of their business plans.
Mrs. Cindy Chow, executive director of the Fund, commented: “The response and overall enthusiasm from applicants from a wide range of sectors were very encouraging. Over the past few months, we have been working closely with incubators and universities in Hong Kong to identify qualified entrepreneurs as we hope to be more supportive of the growth and expansion of startups in Hong Kong.”
Abby Zhang and Shan Shan, co-founders of YEECHOO, noted: “We see the partnership with Alibaba as a major milestone in YEECHOO’s expansion plan and are very excited about it. It will enable synergies to be created between YEECHOO and other players in the Alibaba ecosystem. With Alibaba’s strong support, YEECHOO will have a deeper impact across a wider audience as we promote a whole new lifestyle. It will also help more and more Hong Kong women create fashionable experiences at an affordable cost.”
Tony Wong, co-founder and CEO of Shopline, said: “We believe the Fund’s investment presents a huge opportunity for Shopline to learn from the best. Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company with expertise in payment, logistics and cloud services that are all core to e-commerce. This will help us strengthen our market positioning in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and fuel the next stage of our growth.”
Steven Lam, founder of GoGoVan, said: “With the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund’s support, we look forward to growing our enterprise in Hong Kong to other markets and countries. We aim to continue our MOVE IT business philosophy by leveraging resources of the Alibaba ecosystem to our advantage in the logistics sector.”
Parties interested in learning more about the investment program may visit www.ent-fund.org for details.
(Please refer to the appendix below for the three companies’ background.)