Cross-Sector and Cross-Border Partnerships

  • Karena Belin, Co-founder of WHub & AngelHub, facilitated the partnership panel with 3 speakers from the perspectives of a family office, a VC and a career professional. AngelHub is an SFC licensed equity investment platform for professional investors into growth-stage companies, also covering EdTech in its portfolio companies.
  • Daniel Cheng, Chief Investment Officer at BlueTop Group
  • Conrad Tsang, Founder and Chairman of Strategic Year Holdings
  • Ming Wong, Vice President, Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships at Enuma

    Cheng’s company invests in education (on their own or with VCs) as well as operates early childhood education centres. They do both direct and strategic investments, and always look for partnership and co-investment opportunities. Their group has started to invest in edtech businesses because the pandemic has made them think how kids could learn and be assessed online effectively. They do not just look for financial returns but like to be add value as a venture builder. Edtech startups should test their solutions in the market and get feedback from educators. 

    Tsang has over 20 years of investment experience across different territories. Education and increasingly edtech make up a significant part of his portfolio, from early childhood education to adult learning. He highlights the sustainable philosophy behind his investment. Whilst the returns will not be spiky, they will be consistent, sustainable and long term.  He points out that increasingly both family offices and institutional investors are looking for  sustainable investment and partners that could add value.  Tsang believes there will be enormous opportunities in the edtech space, especially in the wake of the pandemic. There will be major developments in AI, big data and personalized learning. Using his portfolio companies as examples, Tsang illustrates how edtech startups can partner with institutional investors, corporate investors, education institutes and technology service providers across different countries. 

    Wong shared his encounter with the founder of Enuma in Hong Kong in 2016, when he was an impact investor then. Enuma is a XPrize award winning edtech startup helping children in developing countries to build foundational skills. He was inspired by the founder’s philosophy that no child should be left behind. Enuma’s founder believes that, just like in gaming, there is no such thing as a bad student but only a poor teacher or and an under-resourced education system. He joined Enuma last year to help with their development of the Asia market, leveraging his connections there. Wong’s story echoes Tsang’s sharing that an edtech startup needs a lot of support as it grows, be it financial, technological, operational or marketing support. There is room for career professionals in Hong Kong to help growth stage startups expand into China and/or Asia. The Enuma case also demonstrates that a ‘do good and do well’ edtech startup may attract investment and funding from both conventional investors and philanthropic organisations, if it has an effective solution that can appeal to both the B2C markets and a mission to bring quality education to the underserved.