Hong Kong-headquartered Infiniti, the luxury division of Japanese automaker Nissan, has launched a three-part initiative to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong.
“This accelerator programme is not about having a black box of money with available cash,” said Dane Fisher, managing director at Infiniti Asia-Pacific. “We’re actually creating a home for entrepreneurs.”
The initiative includes:
- The Infiniti Lab, a co-working space situated on the first floor of Infiniti’s flagship showroom in Hong Kong
- The Infiniti Accelerator, a startup development programme driven by early-stage investment company Nest
- The Infiniti Speaker Series, a thought-leadership programme involving global and local speakers.
According to Infiniti, 145 startups from around the world applied to the programme and up to eight will be selected to join the accelerator and receive support from Infiniti and Nest. This support includes mentorship from specialists in the areas of smart cities, hardware, manufacturing, transportation, technology and marketing.
The startups selected to join the Infiniti Accelerator will have access to the Infiniti Lab and, at the end of the 12-week programme, an opportunity to pitch their business to investors for further funding.
“This is not just an accelerator for today and a headline for tomorrow,” said Simon Squibb, CEO of Nest. “These startups are getting the opportunity to work with a billion-dollar company with resources and expertise in this area of technology.”
Commenting on the startup and innovation space in Hong Kong, Squibb said that numerous accelerators are now all within a few kilometres of each other. “You have accelerators from AIA, DBS and now Infiniti," he said. "So that’s three billion-dollar companies all within walking distance.”
Fisher sees an opportunity for cross-pollination between the accelerators, which could lead to further innovation. “Each accelerator is focusing on a different thing and area of expertise,” said Fisher. “If we bring them together, some really interesting things will emerge.”
Some of the executives confirmed for the speaker series are Simon Loong, founder and CEO of lending platform WeLend; Clive Jackson, founder and CEO of on-demand jet charter service Victor; and Timothy Oulton, founder and creative director of the eponymous UK-based furniture brand.
This article is part of the Campaign Innovate series, a collection of articles that examine the way innovation, startups and technology are affecting the advertising and marketing industry.
Campaign Asia-Pacific has also launched the Campaign Innovate competition, an event that aims to provide a platform for Asia-Pacific's startups to pitch to some of the world's biggest brands.