For people that are keeping track of me on FourSquare, a check in at The GoodLab regularly appeared. The majority of times it was to visit participants in Cohort 2 of Hong Kongs only accelerator program, called indeed AcceleratorHK. A program setup by Steve Forte and Paul Orlando to help early stage startups moving towards the right direction.
This cohort has six teams in it, and they could not be more different. Participants do come from many corners of the globe to maximise what Hong Kong has to offer. (By the way, there are a few interesting programs available for if you are considering Hong Kong as a base.. check out Invest Hong Kong their venture program here). Their offerings are varied as well, which we will see in a bit.
Anyway, most of my efforts went into mentoring around strategy, how to make it all happen and a little on business models and presentation. I love doing that sort of stuff as the passion and energy that comes out of it is brilliant. Many startups do have this good vibe to make stuff happen without major red tape to be dealt with. A change often takes a short time to be implemented. On the other side, that makes it easy to really get caught in the trap of being tactical without having a clear view where you are going.
A key focus area during the program is on customer development as described by Steve Blank. Followed by tools and techniques around the Lean Startup approach. Seeing people being surprised that for the begin of the program NOTHING will be coded, no development will take place other than understanding if there is a problem and a market that are interesting enough to work on.
As a mentor I love to ask questions to get the teams to look at their work from a different angle and free themselves from their fixed thinking patterns. A number of participants in the cohort have been "brainwashed" during their time in the corporate world, and it is exiting to see the change in behaviour with them. Then there are fresh-grads or people with limited working experience that are showing some good progress.
Teams that are currently in the accelerator program are:
- Taking the pain out of trip planning - Captain Planner
- Converting customers to advertisers - Dood Here
- Bringing mum and pap shops to the next level - Gyaan Tel
- Securing your Online Currencies Offline - Ice Vault
- Rocking the 2nd Screen space - So Fly
- Real food by real people for real people - Very Bite
Anyway, all their hard work, learning, successes and other experiences are being rounded up soon for their demo day. This is where they will showcase where they are and where they will be going. A short presentation will be followed by time to interact with the teams to learn more about what they have to offer.
The schedule for Demo Day (next Tuesday 13 August) is as follows:
- 18:15-19:00: Registration and networking. Free beer and pizza at the Good Lab's Kitchen.
- 19:00-20:15: Demo Day!!! Welcome by AcceleratorHK and then 6 startups present. At the Good Lab's theatre. If you come late then there should be an overflow room with a live stream.
- 20:15-22:30: Networking: visit the 6 startups at their booths spread about the entire good lab and get free drinks and other goodies. You can use at least two of the startups live production apps during the networking and sign up for the other's betas. Meet other startup people, engineers, investors, and the like.
- 23:00-----> Afterparty! At Zinc in LKF. 30-32 D'aguilar St
See you there! Please register so the team knows how much beer and pizza to buy.