Who Are Hong Kong’s Most Active Fintech & Blockchain Investors?by Fintech News Hong Kong May 10, 2022
Hong Kong, a global financial hub, is home to a burgeoning fintech industry, a sector that’s risen on the back of a favorable regulatory landscape, supportive initiatives from the government, and an active community of investors supporting the growth of promising startups.
Data from Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the government body responsible for foreign direct Investment and which supports overseas businesses to set up and expand in Hong Kong, shows that Hong Kong is now home to more than 600+ fintech companies and five fintech unicorns. The city is among the world’s biggest adopters of consumer fintech products, and 86% of local traditional banks are reportedly using fintech solutions.
To get a deeper understanding of the local fintech landscape and the players contributing to the development of the sector, we look today at some of the most active investors in Hong Kong’s fintech sector.
For this list, we’ve used data compiled by Tech in Asia, coupled with desk research, to select eight of the most prominent investors in the Hong Kong fintech industry.
Founded in 2014, Animoca Brands is a Hong Kong-based game software company and VC company. A Deloitte Tech Fast winner and one of the Financial Times’ High Growth Companies in Asia Pacific (APAC) 2021, Animoca Brands specializes in digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification.
The company develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including the REVV token and SAND token; original games like The Sandbox; and products utilizing popular intellectual properties including Disney, WWE, Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Formula E.
Animoca Brands has a growing portfolio of more than 170 investments in non-fungible token (NFT)-related companies and decentralized projects that are contributing to building the open metaverse, including Axie Infinity, OpenSea and Dapper Labs.
According to Tech in Asia, Animoca Brands has been the second most active investor in Hong Kong’s startups, having participated in nine deals over the past 24 months. Its latest bets include Hex Trust, a Hong Kong startup offering custody services for crypto assets, and Kikitrade, a social orientated crypto investment platform.
Founded in 2016, Kenetic Capital is VC firm headquartered in Hong Kong that specializes in blockchain technology.
The company invests in projects that are aimed at the development and adoption of blockchain platforms, focusing on initiatives related to scalability, payment systems and blockchain protocols for data transmission.
Kenetic Capital also offers investment, market, and trading advise related to the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.
The firm’s notable investments include BlockFi, BlockApps and Terra Money.
According to Tech in Asia, Kenetic Capital has participated in five deals in Hong Kong these past 24 months, including Formation.fi, a startup aiming to revolutionize DeFi portfolio construction; Linear Finance, a cross-chain compatible, decentralized delta-one asset protocol; and Hex Trust.
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund
The Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), administered by the Hong Kong government’s Innovation and Technology Commission, aims to increase the added value, productivity and competitiveness of the city’s economic activities.
Through the ITF, the government aims to encourage and assist Hong Kong companies in upgrading their technological level and introduce innovative ideas to their businesses.
Through its venture fund, the ITF has been amongst the most active investors in the local fintech scene. Since the beginning of 2021, the fund has participated in at least five rounds involving Hong Kong fintech startups, according to its website, backing Aigniter, the operator of Jarvix, a consumer goods e-commerce platform with proprietary logistics and digital payment infrastructure; CW Capital, the operator of Qupital, a provider of trade finance services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); Ignatica, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to help insurance companies launch and administer customized insurance products; and FP International, the operator of FundPark, a trade finance platform.
Founded in 2015, Lingfeng Capital is a growth capital private equity fund for the fast growing fintech sector in APAC, particularly in the greater China region.
The fund is based in Beijing and focuses on real applications and underlying technologies for the financial industries with a vision of becoming the leading fintech and innovative tech fund management company in China.
In particular, it’s interested in high-impact applications in the industrial Internet/IoT space, as well as companies making use of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud, data, security, and high-performing computing to drive digital transformation.
Lingfeng Capital has 32 companies in its portfolio, including Crypto Finance Group, an award-winning Swiss company providing crypto asset management, brokerage and storage solutions; JD Technology Group, a business sub-group of JD Group which focuses on technology-oriented industrial services; Ice Kredit, a provider of risk management solutions to financial institutions; and WealthEngine, a provider of wealth intelligence solutions.
Lingfeng Capital’s latest fintech investments in Hong Kong include LongBridge, an online brokerage platform; CryptoBLK, a provider of blockchain enterprises solutions for the global financial market; and Ignatica.
Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments
Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments is a VC firm based in Hong Kong that invests in high-tech industries in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area).
The firm was established in 2018 by a group of international large-scale industrial institutions, financial institutions, and new economic enterprises to support the development of the Greater Bay Area, and the establishment of an international innovation and technology hub, focusing on technological innovation, industrial upgrading, quality of life, smart city and all other related industries.
The company and the fund cover VC, private equity investment, listed company investment, M&A investment, and more.
Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments has 75 companies in its portfolio, according to its website, including ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company from the US; and Rivtower, a blockchain startup providing integrated solutions and business infrastructures to financial institutions, enterprises and local government agencies.
Its latest fintech investments in Hong Kong include Baiwang, a cloud-based invoice management solution for businesses, Qupital and CryptoBLK.
Established in 2018, HashKey Capital is a corporate venture capital (CVC) fund of HashKey Digital Asset Group, an end-to-end digital asset financial services group in Asia, offering new investment opportunities and solutions to institutions, family offices, funds and professional investors across the digital asset and blockchain ecosystem.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, its CVC fund invests exclusively in blockchain and digital assets, backing companies across the whole blockchain ecosystem, encompassing public chains, protocols, applications, and crypto finance providers.
HashKey Capital evaluates over 500 investment opportunities evaluated per year, and its portfolio includes more than 110 companies in 14 countries and territories. Its portfolio includes FTX, a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange; Blockdaemon, a cryptocurrency infrastructure firm; and Unbound Finance, a decentralized, cross-chain liquidity protocol.
In the past 24 months, HashKey Capital has been the 7th most active investor in the Hong Kong startup scene, having participated in four round involving companies from the city, according to Tech in Asia. These deals included XanPool, a platform that enables users to buy and sell crypto with local payment methods, Hex Trust, and Animoca Brands.
Liberty City Ventures
Liberty City Ventures is a VC fund and incubator with over US$1.5 billion of assets under management.
Headquartered in New York City, Liberty City Ventures invests in companies building blockchain technology solutions and companies implementing blockchain technology (seed through Series D) with a focus on fintech, Web 3.0, gaming, metaverse, and supply chain logistics.
The firm has the versatility and capability to invest in amounts ranging from US$250,000 to US$100 million+.
In Hong Kong, Liberty City Ventures has been the 4th most active investors in the city’s startup ecosystem of the past 24 months, according to Tech in Asia, having participated in six deals including those involving Hex Trust, Animoca Brands and the Sandbox.
Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund
Founded in 2015, the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund is a not-for-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group to help entrepreneurs and young graduates realize their dreams and vision. Two separate funds have been set up in Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively to support specific programs in each place.
In Hong Kong, the HK$1 billion fund invests in promising young companies with breakthrough businesses and technologies in the startup, growth and expansion phases of a company life cycle. It focuses on industries and technologies including fintech, big data, e-commerce, healthcare, security, the Internet-of-Things and cleantech.
The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund currently has a portfolio of 34 companies, including Airwallex, a payment platform for businesses; Aqumon, a wealthtech and robo-advisory startup; OneDegree, an insurtech player; and WeLab, a Hong Kong virtual bank.
Since 2021, the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund has made at least two new fintech investments, participating in rounds closed by Qupital, and Apoidea Group, an AI-driven automated financial media company.
Featured image credit: Edited from Unsplash