Hong Kong is home to a burgeoning fintech ecosystem that comprises over 800 fintech companies, among which startup unicorns the Amber Group, Babel Finance, Micro Connect and WeLab.
The city boasts a high consumer fintech adoption rate, with 74% of Hong Kong residents reporting using at least two fintech services and over 90% of consumers having adopted digital payments, according to the 2023 PolyU-Asklora Fintech Adoption Index.
The Hong Kong government and its regulatory bodies are big supporters of the sector, having proactively pushed initiatives and frameworks that encourage development, such as the Fintech 2025 strategy.
As the fintech sector continues to grow and evolve in the city, we look today at some of the most prominent investors backing Hong Kong’s young and promising fintech startups. For this list, we’ve used data from Tech in Asia, Dealroom and companies’ announcements, focusing on the most prolific startup investors in Hong Kong and showcasing their participations in the local fintech scene.
Founded in 2002, Gobi Partners is a leading Asia-focused venture capital (VC) firm with US$1.6 billion in assets under management (AUM). Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, the firm supports entrepreneurs from early to growth stages, with a particular focus on emerging markets.
The firm has a network of 15 locations, raised 17 funds and invested in 380 startups. Some of the areas Gobi Partners have shown interest in include fintech, artificial intelligence (AI) and software-as-a-service (SaaS).
According to its website, Gobi Partners currently has 41 Hong Kong companies in its portfolio, among which nine fintech startups including OneDegree, a local insurtech startup; the Amber Group, a digital asset company; WeLab, a virtual banking and digital finance startup; and Aqumon, a digital investment app.
The firm has been the most active investor in the Hong Kong startup ecosystem, having participated in 16 deals over the past 24 months, according to Tech in Asia.
Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund
Founded in 2015, the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) is a not-for-profit initiative by the Alibaba Group. With a primary goal of aiding Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs and the youth, the fund aims to provide the necessary support and resources to turn dreams and visions into reality.
The HK$1 billion fund invests in promising startups with innovative businesses and technologies. These companies are selected by independent investment manager appointed by AEF and enjoy access to financial capital, obtain strategic guidance and tap into Mainland China, Asia and global opportunities through Alibaba’s ecosystem.
AEF looks for companies either founded by Hong Kong entrepreneurs or those operating from Hong Kong. Although the fund has a sector-agnostic approach, it has shown a keen interest in a diverse range of sectors. These include fintech, big data, sustainability, e-commerce, edtech, healthcare, IoT/Industry 4.0, logistics, media and entertainment, and enterprise solution/SaaS.
AEF currently has 57 Hong Kong companies in its portfolio, among which nine fintech startups including AI fintech company Apoidea and. Avaron, as well as StockViva, an online trading and real time investment analysis and education platform.
According to Tech in Asia, AEF has been the second most active startup investor in Hong Kong, having participated in eight rounds over the past 24 months.
Sequoia Capital, based in Menlo Park, California, is a renowned American VC firm. The firm specializes in seed stage, early stage, and growth stage investments in private companies across technology sectors. As of 2022, the firm had approximately US$85 billion in AUM.
The Sequoia brand encompasses three distinct venture entities catering to diverse geographical focuses: one focused on the US and Europe, another on India and Southeast Asia, and a third on China.
The firm invests in all sectors but has shown high interest in areas including fintech, enterprise tech, cleantech, consumer tech, healthtech and media. It boasts an impressive portfolio, having made successful investments in tech giants such as Apple, Cisco, Google, Youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn, PayPal, Reddit, Tumblr, WhatsApp and Zoom.
Sequoia Capital currently has 19 Hong Kong companies in its portfolio, data from Dealroom show, among which Micro Connect, a financial market platform connecting global capital with China’s micro and small businesses; and Finblox, a platform that helps crypto investors buy and earn rewards on their crypto assets.
The firm has inked seven deals involving Hong Kong startups over the past 24 months, making it the third most active investors in the region during the period.
Established in 2014, Animoca Brands is a Hong Kong-based game software company and VC company. The company develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including original games such as The Sandbox, PHANTOM GALAXIES™, Life Beyond, and Crazy Defense Heroes, and products utilizing popular intellectual properties from the worlds of sports and entertainment, such as The Walking Dead, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Formula E.
Animoca Brands is, however, best known for its expansive portfolio encompassing over 450 investments in Web3 initiatives. Startups in its portfolio include Yuga Labs, Axie Infinity, Polygon, Consensys, Fireblocks, OpenSea and Dapper Labs.
Animoca Brands has been most active in the gaming, fintech and media sectors, investing primarily in startups from the US, Singapore, the UK and Hong Kong, data from Dealroom show.
20 Hong Kong startups currently comprise its portfolio, among which fintech startups OSL, a cryptocurrency exchange; Rainmaker Gamers, a gaming finance and non-fungible token (NFT) startup; and Hex Trust, an institutional digital asset custodian.
Animoca Bands has participated in six rounds involving Hong Kong startups over the past 24 months, making it the fourth most active investors in the domestic startup scene, according to Tech in Asia.
Liberty City Ventures
Headquartered in New York City, Liberty City Ventures is a VC fund and incubator with approximately US$1.7 billion of AUM. Founded in 2012, the firm invests mainly in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies in the blockchain space with a focus on financial services and regtech, Web 3.0/gaming, data, AI and supply chain.
Liberty City Ventures invests in amounts ranging from US$250K to US$100M+ and its legacy includes co-founding and nurturing two standout unicorns in the blockchain domain, namely Paxos and Lukka.
Liberty City Ventures has participated in six deals involving Hong Kong startups over the past 24 months, according to Tech in Asia. The firm counts fintech startups Gryfyn, an NFT-centric custodial crypto wallet; Aspen Digital, a digital asset management platform; and Hex Trust among its portfolio of companies, data from Dealroom show.
Founded in 2018, Dragonfly Capital is a global, crypto-focused investment firm that partners with crypto founders in all stages of development, from Seed to Series D. With a global team of over 40 professionals, the firm focuses on working closely with founders to solve their most pertinent problems on tech, product and go to market.
Dragonfly Capital has about 100 companies in its portfolio, among which Hong Kong startups Onekey, a crypto hardware wallet maker; Kikitrade, a social orientated cryptocurrency investment platform; and the Amber Group.
The firm has participated in four rounds involving Hong Kong startups over the past 24 months, making it one of the region’s top ten startup investor during the period.
Founded in 1995, SOSV is a VC firm that provides pre-seed, seed, venture and growth stage funding to startups in the technology sector. The firm operates early-stage startup development programs in New York City, Newark, San Francisco, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo, including HAX (hard tech), IndieBio (human and planetary health), and Orbit Startups (emerging markets).
Each year, SOSV selects about 100 highly promising, Seed and pre-Seed startups to join its programs. The firm makes an initial investment of up to US$500,000 and the founders spend four-to-six months working side-by-side with SOSV staff and mentors who are deeply expert in science and engineering, design and product development, supply chain and product-market fit, growth, and raising capital.
As of January 2023, SOSV had more than US$1.5 billion in AUM, and according to Pitchbook is the top ranked investor in climate and food tech.
Besides health, food and climate, SOSV is also an active fintech investor and currently has 54 startups in its portfolio operating in the field. Among these, at least four are from Hong Kong: CanCan, a financial and management accounting software for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); Chekk, a digital identity and know-your-customer (KYC) startup; Property Passbook, a predictive analytics platform for global real estate investment; and the CareVoice, a healthtech and insurtech startup.
SOSV has been among the most active startup investors in Hong Kong, having participated in four rounds involving startups from the region over the past 24 months, data from Tech in Asia show.
Founded in 2020 and headquartered in the US, 10T Holdings is a growth equity firm focused exclusively on investments in mid-to-late-stage private companies operating in the digital asset ecosystem. The firm applies its expertise from macro investing and a rigorous research-driven approach to back the blue-chip companies it believes will shape the future. 10T Holdings’ investments have included Kraken, Ledger, Figure, Deribit, Bitfury, Huobi and eToro.
The firm has been among the most active investors in Hong Kong, having participated in three rounds involving startups from the region over the past 24 months, according to Tech in Asia.