An elevator convo with Casey Lau. See here for more from our Next Up series.
What do you do?
I do a number of things: co-hosting the largest technology and innovation conference in Asia called RISE, being an entrepreneur-in-residence at a startup accelerator in Hawaii, being an angel investor in tech startups, and founding the biggest startup community dedicated to startups in Hong Kong called StartupsHK.
How does StartupsHK work?
It’s an ecosystem of tech startup people in Hong Kong. If you are here to mentor startups, launch a startup or invest in startups, you are welcome in the community, which is comprised of online and offline events and access to information on the latest investment deals and pitch events. I am also launching a new mentor network called The Yodin Network that will help startups to find mentors around the world and in specific verticals.
How did your business get started?
A famous venture capital firm from Silicon Valley came to Hong Kong seven years ago and gave us the idea to kick-start a community. It grew organically from a demand from startups and investors to meet, network and share their knowledge base, and then it grew into co-workspaces, schools, pitch events, accelerators and more.
Who are your clients?
Anyone who is in the tech space — which means everyone. It is interesting to see not who the clients are, but who the clients aren’t. You can’t escape tech and how it changes business, so the smart companies are engaging us and other startups to begin the conversations on updating what they are doing to match how the rest of the world is moving.
What is a day in your working life like?
I have been able to maintain a work/life integration, and that is the best thing ever. Being able to do something I’m passionate about and have it mix with my life is very fulfilling, and I think it’s the way the future of work is heading. I’ve also been working as a digital nomad for the past few months, and it has opened up my life to new experiences and professional and personal relationships that you can’t get by sitting behind a desk from 9 to 5. It’s not just the tech person’s lifestyle, either, it will be implemented across all jobs in the coming years.
Where do you see your business in the future?
It will evolve into something more. We haven’t done as many events anymore, as I put most of my effort into the RISE conference as the ultimate event that brings people from around the world to Hong Kong. I’m scaling interaction and experience-sharing through a mentor platform that also stands to educate the next generation and take the current generation to its next step.
We never thought StartupsHK would be this big five years ago, so who knows where it will be five years from now? The thing I’m most proud of is seeing how the work we started doing seven years ago has inspired other businesses, people, and even the government to get into the startup world and help push the entirety of Hong Kong into the future. A very wise man once said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. And I’m happy to say many people in Hong Kong are doing just that.