Betatron, a three-month business accelerator, mentoring and seed-funding programme, is offering to invest up to US$30,000 each into five companies in Hong Kong.
Rafal Czerniawski, chief executive of Hong Kong company IC Studio and the co-founder of Betatron, said most accelerators, sometimes called business incubators, and start-up programmes in the city are nothing short of “corporate branding exercises” which “do not enough for start-ups”.
“Most accelerators do not offer start-up funding, they just provide [working] space and mentoring,” Czerniawski said. He then approached several VC funds which backed his idea, including Mindworks Ventures, Vectr Ventures and Cocoon Ignite Ventures which are founding partners in Betratron, together with The Aria Group, a private company that manages investments and trusts on behalf of a family.
Under the Betatron programme, which started taking applications this week and will officially begin in January next year, five start-ups will be selected and receive funding US$10,000 per month for three months.
The successful start-ups will work out of the WeWork co-working space in Tower 535 on Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay, which is also a Betatron partner.
In exchange for the funding, Betatron will receive convertible notes in the start-ups, a type of short-term debt that converts into equity in a future financing round.