Indian Start-up Shines in Start-up Express International 2023

New Delhi (India), April 24: India has earned its place as the third largest ecosystem for startups globally, boosting an impressive count of over 112,700 government-recognized startups by the close of 2023. The country has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, with startup funding soaring 15 times from 2015 to 2022.

While the Indian start-up landscape holds immense potential, the fierce competition presents a challenge for newcomers aiming to establish a lasting presence. Statistics reveal that one-fifth of projects fail at the end of their debut year, while 9 out of 10 new businesses eventually meet the same fate. Entrepreneurs have attributed these failures to factors such as inadequate financing, a wrong product-market fit, and poor marketing strategies.

In light of these hurdles, it becomes crucial for businesses to enhance their visibility and attract investors. An effective way to achieve this is by joining internationally renowned start-up development programs like Start-Up Express International, whose 2023 edition concluded successfully with 10 global winners including an outstanding Indian green tech firm. Their stories serve as a testament to how start-ups can truly stand out by swiftly addressing global challenges and introducing tailor-made solutions for specific markets.

Start-up Express at a glance

Start-up Express is Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)’s signature start-up development program that targets local start-ups offering innovative and tech-driven products or solutions, as well as demonstrating a strong desire to enter the international market. Designed to bolster their capabilities, connections and branding, Start-up Express provides a launch pad for start-ups to thrive. Each year, 10 winners will be selected as the annual cohort that benefits from vigorous marketing activities garnering attention from investors, media, and potential partners.

The program’s international counterpart, Start-up Express International, was launched in 2022 to foster global collaboration. This international series serves as a platform for start-ups around the world to establish valuable connections with potential partners in Hong Kong. Moreover, it acts as a gateway for these businesses to expand their horizons in the thriving Asian market and beyond.

The 2023 edition of Start-Up Express International was joined by start-ups nominated by 35 partners from 15 countries. It focused on innovative technologies including FinTech, Health Tech, Web 3.0 & Metaverse, Smart City and Green Tech.

Let’s take a closer look at how the 10 exceptional winners from across the world have excelled in the competitive entrepreneurial landscape. 


Ambiator (India): Revolutionizing Cooling Solutions

The surge in air-conditioner usage has caught the attention of Ambiator, an innovative climate technology firm launched in India in 2022. Projections show that 10 new air conditioners will be sold every second for the next 30 years, demonstrating the huge demand for cooling solutions. In India alone, the market of air-conditioners is growing at a remarkable CAGR of 15.8%, and by 2050, the amount of electricity needed for air-conditioning is projected to expand nine-fold, surpassing the total power consumption in Africa today.

However, traditional air-conditioners consume substantial energy and are a major source of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. In response, Ambiator developed its Dew Point Regenerative Technology to provide alternative cooling solutions that are more eco-friendly and powered by solar energy. With a focus on serving the Global South, Ambiator aims to provide affordable energy-efficient solutions that combat climate change while ensuring sustainable operation.

Hangles (Thailand): Embracing Fashion Sustainability

As consumer spending power rises, the fashion industry grapples with the issue of excessive waste. India alone accounts for 8% of global clothing and textile waste, which amounts to a staggering 7.7 million tonnes a year.

Addressing this environmental challenge, Hangles was founded in 2021 with a mission to promote sustainability by extending the life cycle of clothes. It operates a trusted e-commerce platform for shoppers to buy and sell second-hand clothing, as well as provides a B2B channel for brands and retailers to join the resale economy.

Moreloop (Thailand): Transforming Surplus Fabric into Upcycled Fashion 

Moreloop, founded in 2018, shares the commitment of promoting a circular economy, with a particular focus on surplus fabric. In Thailand, a billion yards of surplus fabric are produced a year, which can be turned into 700 million T-shirts.

Moreloop addresses this issue by gathering excess fabric from garment factories and establishing a marketplace for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to buy these materials. Additionally, the company designs and produces upcycled products low in carbon footprint that target both businesses and consumers, including T-shirts, tote bags and cloth masks.

Flectothink (China): Enabling Interaction in the Metaverse

The metaverse, a virtual world enabling immersive interactions, has captivated major tech players like Meta, Microsoft and Apple. Flectothink, founded in 2020 and which specializes in non-invasive brain-computer interface technology, is quick to jump on the bandwagon.

Flectothink’s gesture recognition technology enables users to interact with virtual objects in augmented reality and the metaverse. Apart from offering consumer products, the company has also tapped into the medical field with its wearable devices, no larger than a sticker on the forehead, which can monitor sleep and help diagnose psychological disorders.

Northern Latitude 37 (Su Zhou) Technology (China): Driving EV Innovation
The global push to decarbonize road transport has fueled the rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs). China continues to see remarkable growth as the biggest market for EVs, while India emerges as one of the fastest-growing markets with sales increasing by 223% year-on-year in 2022. Founded in 2022, Northern Latitude 37 develops smart chassis technologies for EVs which enable optimization of vehicle performance, safety and comfort. With plans to expand its presence in the automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) industry as well as the retail sector, Northern Latitude 37 is driving the transition to green mobility. 

Sino Microimaging (Taizhou) Medical Technology (China): Portable MRIs for Faster Diagnosis

Sino Microimaging, founded in 2021, is at the forefront of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. Supported by a technical team from the Institute of Electrical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences with decades of research experience, the company produces portable MRI machines that can be used on head and neck, joints, newborn babies and even pets. 

While the portable machines cannot replace traditional room-scale equipment, they can be used in emergency rooms or ambulances to significantly shorten the waiting time for patients and help save lives.

Ucloudy (China): Empowering Intelligent Factories
Since its establishment in 2019, Ucloudy has been offering guidance to enterprises for the transformation and upgrade of intelligent factories. Its core technology is AI industrial machine vision, which plays a vital role in industrial production by capturing images of products in real-time for performing quality control tasks with speed and precision.

Ucloudy also provides a comprehensive range of integrated services for customers, including the construction of basic networks, in particular 5G private networks, server setup, and the development of data platforms.

Uvera (Saudi Arabia): Extending the Shelf-Life of Fresh Food

Food waste has an enormous environmental impact globally. One-third of all food in India is wasted or spoilt before it is eaten, according to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

Addressing the issue head-on, Uvera, founded in 2019, introduces a smart device that almost doubles the shelf-life of fresh produce, meat and baked goods. The device does not use any chemicals and completes the treatment within 30 seconds. Moreover, it comes with an AI-powered app that can predict spoilage and send warnings to users.

TEGmat (Denmark): Turning Waste Heat into Power

As rising energy costs become a global concern, a start-up sees the market potential in one untapped energy resource: the heat rejected from industrial processes. TEGmat was established in 2022 to develop and produce thermal power generation (TEG) equipment capable of converting industrial waste heat into electricity.

Unlike traditional TEG systems that rely on rare-earth materials and face scalability limitations, TEGmat has introduced a breakthrough technology that eliminates the need for precious metals, making it economically viable. Its generators can be applied to various production lines, including those in the semiconductor industry, opening new opportunities for utilizing this energy source.

Voltaic (Germany): Empowering Energy Independence by Self-Produced Electricity

Founded in 2023, Voltaic is building a “one-stop-shop” platform for self-produced electricity that transforms the way individuals and businesses access and utilize electricity. The platform combines hardware, such as solar panels and heat pumps, with IoT software that allows users to visualize, manage and even sell the electricity they self-produce.

By promoting the use of solar energy and providing the tools to effectively manage self-produced electricity, Voltaic enables users to reduce their energy bills and reduce reliance on centralized energy sources.

Applications for new edition to open in Q3 
As Start-up Express International gears up for its 2024 edition, applications will be accepted in the third quarter of the year through nominations made by Global Partners of the program worldwide.

To be eligible, start-ups must be established within the past five years and have secured less than US$10 million in funding. This ensures that the program’s support is specifically targeted towards early-stage ventures.

Winners of the program will be able to present their ideas to potential partners and investors on Entrepreneur Day, an anchor event tailor-made for new start-ups on 5-6 December 2024.

They will also gain access to the comprehensive “Start in Hong Kong” package, which includes a range of valuable benefits including marketing support, incentive offers, mentorship opportunities, technological support, and guidance for establishing a business in Hong Kong.

Accelerators and incubators, venture capital firms and start-up networks around the world are welcome to become Global Partners for nominating start-ups to join the competition. For more information, check out the Start-up Express International website.

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