Tech entrepreneurs are being encouraged to consider Asia as a viable alternative to Silicon Valley, following the launch of AcceleratorHK, the first accelerator program in Hong Kong.
AcceleratorHK, launched by Steven Forte and TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 Hackathon winner Paul Orlando, is an accelerator for early stage start-ups focused on building hybrid mobile apps.
The three-month program, which is now accepting applications for its first intake, offers each start-up $15,000 in seed capital, mentorship and a co-working space.
AcceleratorHK is aimed exclusively at mobile start-ups, which must relocate to Hong Kong for the duration of the program.
“Hong Kong is a fast-paced, dynamic and exciting place for an accelerator. It is also in the centre of Asia, the fastest growing mobile market,” AcceleratorHK says on its website.
“Hong Kong is also mobile crazy with 100% mobile phone penetration and over 55% Facebook penetration, making it an ideal place to validate your mobile app.”
“We are biased toward start-ups with a minimum of two and up to four people participating in the accelerator… You will gain more by being in a cohort dedicated only to mobile start-ups.”
“You don’t have to be a registered Hong Kong business to participate… However, you can take advantage of the robust business environment in Hong Kong when you are here.”
“We provide enough of the seed funding up front to allow you to pay for your travel costs. In addition, once accepted, we will help you find housing options.”
The program will run from November 5 to February 8, ending with a demo day, but no activities will run during the two weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.
According to Orlando, one of the advantages of Hong Kong is its diversity, with a mix of people “from all over”.
“I think we should accept that Hong Kong – and most other places – are different from the Valley and that a different environment is fine,” Orlando told TechCrunch.
The launch of AcceleratorHK comes just two months after Sydney-based start-up incubator Pollenizer launched a new hub in Singapore.
Co-founder Phil Morle said in a blog post that while the incubator is “deeply committed” to Australia, it is also keen to explore Singapore, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta.
“Whilst Australian corporates have long used Singapore as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, Australian start-ups are more focused on local markets,” Morle said.
“When we do look outside of Australia, our attention typically goes east to Silicon Valley.”
“Our visits to Singapore exposed us to an impressive group of founders, investors and ecosystem builders, and opened our eyes to the amazing growth opportunities in the greater Southeast Asia region.”