Alibaba has kicked off Jumpstarter 2017, a competition between startups with a significant investment in their business as a prize. Each of the top three contenders will receive a prize of $1 million USD, provided by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.
Winners will also gain access to industry specialists and business resources from organizers including Alibaba, Hong Kong Cyberport, and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.
The competition, which kicked off today in Hong Kong, covers ten technology areas including fintech, big data, e-commerce, AI, and robotics. To be eligible, a startup must have substantial operations in Hong Kong, be less than 5 years old and have raised less than $10 million USD in funding.
In May, competitors will be divided into eight semi-final groups and take the stage in a series of pitch events with round-by-round eliminations. The top three winners in each of the eight groups will attend feedback workshops with subject matter experts, to hone their presentations. The final competition, which will take place in late 2017, will include the top 24 teams from prior rounds. The three winners will each receive $1 million USD investment in their companies.
Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group said that as a co-founder of Alibaba, he had experience with the difficulties of getting a startup company off the ground, and that with partners Cyberport and HKSTP, his company was honored to be able to advance innovation and support the Hong Kong startup community.
“Hong Kong has its unique advantages. It has a great educational system, it’s an international city, where talent from all over the world can come and set up businesses. We believe that in Hong Kong, with a little bit of help and capital, we can help foster a culture of innovation here.”
The Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund is a non-profit initiative launched by Alibaba in 2015 to foster innovation and support the startup ecosystem in Hong Kong.
Late last year, Alibaba announced that the Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund had selected three startups for investment: Grana, a fashion e-commerce retailer, Nosh, an online to offline (O2O) food delivery service, and DayDayCook, a food and lifestyle content creator.