A few weeks ago five Startuptravels entrepreneurs decided to meet up in Hong Kong to exchange experience and network with likeminded people.
Maggie and Anita are the founders of Sam The Local in Hong Kong, Juraj is the founder of DiscoverCity (.. and also a Startuptravels co-developer), Bryan runs Velora Studios and Rishi is the founder of Incubus Ventures in London. I called them and asked them about their experience.
Maggie and Anita, can you tell us a bit about what you are doing?
Anita: Sam the Local is an online marketplace that connects travelers to locals at their destination. The locals will create a customized itinerary and take them around. Currently, we are only in Hong Kong, and hope to expand to other cities soon.
You have had a few meet-ups a few weeks back. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Maggie: Anita and I met up with Juraj at a café to learn about each other’s company and share ideas and our general passion for Hong Kong! It was fun to hear about how they started, and what obstacles they’ve already overcome. We had a great time chatting with him, and we also invited him out to a new rooftop bar later that night.
Rishi was in town for a startup forum put on by StartmeupHK, and that is where we ended up meeting him. He was able to give us a lot of insight about everything regarding startups. Riski is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the startup scene. Best of all, he is fun to hang out with too! Aside from Juraj, we also invited Rishi to the rooftop bar with us and he brought along a couple of his friends.
All in all, both meetings were helpful and insightful. I loved learning about what they are individually doing in the startup world and hearing about their experiences. I was also glad that we were able to introduce them to something that was local and something they may not have found otherwise.
Anita: In addition to the both of us meeting with Juraj and Rishi, I also met with Bryan at Teakha, which has a coffee shop feel, but its focus is on tea. Bryan was very open in giving advice and gave us some tips on our website, search and e-commerce. I also liked hearing his opinion on travel and his experience from traveling for the past four years. It helped to give us some insights as to how he liked to travel, and what works and doesn’t work for him.
Any advice for traveling entrepreneurs out there?
For traveling entrepreneurs, I recommend that they meet with other entrepreneurs via Startuptravels and find events to attend via meetup.com, where many startup events are listed. The Hong Kong startup community is very open, and people love to meet others and share their thoughts and insights, and I believe mutual learning is often the outcome of this. They could also look for locals via Sam the Local and may contact Maggie and I as well.
I managed to catch Bryan and asked him a few questions about his meet-up with both Rishi and Anita as well.
Hi Bryan. Welcome home. How was the startup scene in Hong Kong?
Thank you Anders. Up until recently, the idea of someone working in the technology industry in Hong Kong typically meant that they worked in the IT department of a major bank or wealth management firm. While the startup scene here is still young, there has definitely been a rapid expansion recently. Startmeup Week 2014 by (startmeup.hk) has just come to a close and the number of participants at all its events clearly showed that there is a quickly growing interest in startups here in Hong Kong. Lots of coworking spaces have been popping up in the past couple years here. Paperclip and Platform are just two of them that are conveniently located in the area near where I was living in Sheung Wan.
We heard you met Anita and Rishi in Hong Kong – how were the meet-ups?
Great! Shortly after coming to Hong Kong for my second time this year I met with Startuptravels members Anita Chan and Rishi Chowdhury, as well as more already planned for the future.
Anita along with her cofounder Maggie have been living in Hong Kong after moving here from California, and are building Sam the Local – a startup helping connect travelers to Hong Kong with locals who can give them a tour customized on their interests. Rishi, an entrepreneur from London, is a cofounder at Incubus – a double decker bus that has turned into an office space that provides a working environment and mentorship for entrepreneurs preparing to apply for major accelerator programs. Rishi was visiting to cover Startmeup Week 2014, and at the same time did a bit of research on the feasibility of potentially expanding into Hong Kong in the future.
What pain do you think Startuptravels solves for the entrepreneurs around the world?
Whenever and wherever I travel, I want to meet local entrepreneurs. I have always found a way to do that, but Startuptravels makes it much easier because now entrepreneurs are finding me as well thanks to Startuptravels displaying my scheduled trips. Now local entrepreneurs, or even others just passing through a destination at the same time, are able to find me too.
Any advice for traveling entrepreneurs out there?
If you are hesitant about traveling while working on a startup, I believe the best advice is to just do it. Fast internet is so prevalent around the world that staying in touch with colleagues and customers no matter where you are is easier than ever. I can guarantee that the experience you have traveling, and the people you meet, will help you to broaden your outlook and inspire you to take it to the next level as an entrepreneur.
Written by Anders Hasselstrøm in collaboration with Maggie, Anita and Bryan.