RISE 2017 Inspires, Delights and Boosts Asia’s Startup Ecosystem

Image credit: RISE

RISE conference* in Hong Kong is an amazing opportunity for tech innovators and investors to meet, make connections and be inspired. It’s a platform for startups looking for high-quality exposure, and a place for new leaders to get valuable advice from world-class founders. It’s also a fun three-day celebration of entrepreneurship that spreads out from the official conference halls into the restaurants, bars, karaoke lounges and tourist hotspots of Hong Kong.

By the numbers, alone, RISE 2017 was a huge success. Now in its third year, the conference attracted more than 14,000 attendees from 90 countries, including 580 of the world’s most exciting startups and 565 bloggers, writers and reporters. More than 240 expert speakers took to the stage, with leaders from Alibaba Group, Airbus, Stripe, SCMP, JD.com, WeChat, Razer, Trivago and Google among the many who shared their stories and insights.

Here are just a few of my top takeaways from RISE 2017:

  • Lifelike robots are a part of our future. The centre stage debate between two Hanson Robotics’ robots, Sophia and Han, was an amazing demonstration of what robots are already capable of. They teased each other and joked about reality TV and taking over the world, and also raised serious issues about ethics and ownership.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) in general has entrepreneurs and investors excited. Throughout the conference, speakers talked about how they are applying AI across financial services, media, autonomous vehicles, online retail and more, with high-energy discussions and high-profile investments in the fintech space.
  • Digital marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk also discussed intelligence: emotional intelligence. A masterful speaker, he told a packed crowd to value emotional intelligence above all else when hiring staff or choosing partners. And to purge the miserable immediately! This is the only way to succeed in a faster-moving world where skills are commoditized.
  • Asia continues to get a lot of attention from global VCs. The region has surpassed Silicon Valley in funding for the first time, and the future looks even brighter. China and India now have many times the STEM graduates of the US, and many more new unicorns (billon-dollar private companies) and investors. But a new global hot spot is emerging, too. Investment in Africa is surging, according to Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell, and the region has a young, tech-savvy and highly entrepreneurial population.
  • For entrepreneurs everywhere, it is important to know that the pitch is, above all, a chance for potential investors to get to know you, the startup founder. While you should show the calibre of your team and the strength of your product, your personal ability to make an impact and influence people is even more important. We saw this play out in the live on-stage PITCH competition this year. Sixty-six of the 250 applicants made the cut and faced off in three rounds of intense live competition. Singapore’s Zap Zap Math took with crown after CEO Henry Chui fired up the judges with his vision of helping kids worldwide achieve math excellence and a lifelong love of numbers and learning.

Watch this amazing video to see the energy of all the participants in Hong Kong!



Look forward to RISE 2018, which is set to take over Hong Kong next year from July 9 to 11.

*RISE conference is FH client.

  • Patrick Yu

    Patrick Yu, the general manager of FleishmanHillard’s Hong Kong office, provides expertise in the areas of investor relations, as well as executive communications and crisis management. A financial expert, he helps lead FleishmanHillard’s financial and professional services sector. Yu has...

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