The Skolkovo Foundation, and Hong Kong’s equivalent, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation (HKSTP) held an online business mission, giving eight Skolkovo startups working in the biomedical field the opportunity to pitch their solutions to investors. The Skolkovo companies were Bio Zet Lab, Biomicrogel, Botkin AI, Brain Beat, Gero, EMG, Pirogov.AI, PiterSoftwareHouse, Third Opinion, and Sensortech. The mission was organized by the Skolkovo Foundation with the support of the HKSTP.
Vladimir Sakovich, the CEO of Skolkovo Ventures. Photo: Sk.ru
Hong Kong’s history, geographical location and level of autonomy has allowed it to develop into the so-called “Gateway to Asia.” Due to its past as a British colony, much of its population still speaks English as well as Mandarin and Cantonese. Its geographical location places it on the doorstep to Guangzhou in mainland China as well as Southeast Asia and much of the rest of the Far East. Since relatively few foreign business owners speak Chinese but speak English, Hong Kong is an appealing market not just in terms of linguistic practicalities but also in terms of its business-friendly government and a business community that understands the mainland-China market. Like the Russian government with regards to the Skolkovo project, the Hong Kong government saw the benefits of supporting a technology innovation hub, which is how the HKSTP came into being. Like Skolkovo, the HKSTP does not just support local companies but also offers its services to foreign companies.
Vladimir Sakovich, the CEO of Skolkovo Ventures opened the session with an overview of the Russian venture capital market and gave his thanks to the participants and investors.
“Historically, the Russian tech market has a very low level of cooperation with Asian investors and Asian startups have very little cooperation with Russian capital. However, I do believe that both of us can pay more attention to this opportunity. Today’s mission is a good step in this direction and I wish all the participants, startups and investors today to have a good discussion. Thank you,” said Vladimir Sakovich, CEO of Skolkovo Ventures.
The HKSTP speakers were Sammi Wong, the associate director of HKSTP Ventures, and Professor John Kao, the head of the HKSTP Biomedical Technology Cluster. Leonid Orlov, the senior consultant for Russia, CIS and the Baltic countries at Invest Hong Kong, also offered support to companies seeking entry into Hong Kong’s market.
Founded in 2015, HKSTP Ventures has fifteen portfolio companies (Hong Kong, UK, US, Taiwan, Canada); these include firms from Silicon Valley. HKSTP Ventures is deep tech focused, prioritizes value creation and utilizes combined resources in the form of regulatory funding support, upfront grants, and financial subsidies. Mr. Wong encouraged Skolkovo companies to seek investment from HKSTP Ventures should they wish to enter the Chinese market.
Likewise, Professor Kao of the HKSTP Biomedical Technology Cluster outlined the services his institution could offer to Skolkovo startup companies. According to him, HKSTP acts as a connector; it is a link to universities, research institutes, the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), venture capital and private equity, government and industry associations, and strategic corporate partners. Having connections to the aforementioned institutions is crucial for a company seeking to build its business in any given market.
The HKSTP Biomedical Technology Cluster focuses on diagnostics, stem cell and regenerative medicine, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and others. It also has an Incu-Bio Program that offers professional services, professional coaching, fundraising and financial support, regulatory support and shared equipment & facilities, which many small companies cannot afford.
The Skolkovo startups pitched their solutions to the audience and, following the format of previous business missions, will conduct B2B meetings with Hong Kong companies during the last day of the mission.