In the construction industry, delays and disputes during building projects can often result from a lack of coordination. To help solve this problem, Hong Kong start-up Skyland Innovation developed a data collection system that uses real-time 3D modelling technology.
“It enables property owners, developers, engineers and contractors to communicate and collaborate better,” Jessy Wang, human resources business partner at the proptech company, says of the system, which consists of a handheld scanning device paired with artificial intelligence (AI) software. “The modelling uses AI and a robotics-backed system to record complete 3D information throughout a project’s lifetime, making data backtracking possible at any point.”
This idea saw Skyland Innovation win the title of overall champion at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation’s (HKSTP’s) seventh Elevator Pitch Competition (EPiC).
The annual event is a global pitching competition in which mid- to late-stage start-ups from the fintech and proptech sectors vie for cash prizes, as well as investment opportunities of up to US$5 million from the HKSTP Venture Fund.
During the EPiC grand finale, which took place April 28 in Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre, 50 semi-finalists pitched their business ideas during a 60-second elevator ride to the skyscraper’s 100th floor.
“EPiC is a mega-event in which you have 60 seconds to present your idea. But it’s about more than just pitching,” says Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP. “It’s also a big mingling event with investors. We want to connect start-ups with users.”
This year’s competition had the biggest international turnout yet, with 618 entries from 55 economies. The judging panel, which included investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders, evaluated the start-ups according to the uniqueness of their ideas, the potential market size for their products and the strategies for achieving their business goals.
Wang says she and the team at Skyland Innovation decided to enter EPiC in order to practise their pitching skills and showcase the company’s product to potential investors.
“What differentiates EPiC from other competitions is that it finds targeted VCs [venture capital firms] and industry clients for business matching,” she adds. “It’s a networking opportunity we haven’t experienced before.”
The start-up won a total of US$90,000 in prize money in the competition, which Wang says will help take its innovative solution to the next level. “We want to do more R&D on our AI software platform. We will also use the money to continue to build the team so that we can grow faster.”
She calls EPiC “the best available platform for start-ups to make a real business impact”, because it connects them not only with users, but also big corporations such as MTR Lab, HSBC and Cathay Pacific, so they can test their solutions directly.
All 50 of the competition’s semi-finalists have qualified to be considered by the HKSTP Venture Fund for additional direct investment deals of as much as US$5 million, and they will also receive support from the HKSTP ecosystem to help them expand into the Asian and global markets.
Everyone at Skyland Innovation is excited about the growth opportunities that Asia has to offer. “I believe Asia has the potential to lead the future for innovation and technology,” Wang says.
HKSTP’s Wong believes that Hong Kong’s start-up landscape is only going to become more vibrant going forward. “The government has put a lot of resources into technology innovation,” he says. “We have to grow exponentially. We have 3,000 to 5,000 technology companies in Hong Kong, but we need to expand to tens of thousands.”
In line with that ambitious growth target, EPiC is also set to expand, with plans to hold preliminary rounds of the competition outside of Hong Kong for the first time. Wong says: “Next year’s event will be much bigger.”