INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. and Nest, a leading venture capital firm and innovation partner, joined forces for the INFINITI LAB Global Accelerator 3.0 under the theme of “The Future Consumer”.
As Retail in Asia has met INFINITI before and during the accelerator program, we also wanted to hear from NEST, that has been working to boost the start-up ecosystem in HK but also in other regions in the world.
We had the chance to speak with Mr. Sui Yang Phang, Managing Partner at Nest, who also announced upcoming projects abroad.
RiA : What is the role of NEST and what contribution NEST can give to startups in terms of mentorship?
Sui Yang Phang : What we did was lining up the relevant experts or mentors through INFINITI as well as the business applications for the startups. What we have done is we have brought in the different partners that would be interested in retail.
So, it is not only about what INFITNITI sees about applications in its showrooms, but also about potential applications in different sectors. We also want to provide founders and entrepreneurs unfamiliar with Asian market with a chance to work with INFINITI and players in the Asian retail landscape.
We want to engage the start-ups in thinking about all the process as a customer journey all the way from the purchase to the loyalty program.
RiA : How can a technology apply to INFINITI but also to other types of businesses?
Sui Yang Phang : We have got technologies here that deal with the needs of each customer. We count various business as different verticals, whether that is physical retail, O2O or pure e-commerce.
A lot of them have the similar interest, which is to make shopping joyful for consumers. We have got the infrastructures in Hong Kong, and we want to use it as a platform for the retail or consumer-oriented shopping, by taking it to the next step. It is about expanding the meaning of consumer and making the consumer experience relevant and joyful.
What we have here are technologies that can empower retail across verticals and industries. We start from INFINITI to envision other retail sectors, namely jewellery, fashion, wine. It is about the interaction which technology can initiate between the brands and the consumers.
RiA : What are the factors that make INFINITI and Hong Kong a fertile terrain for startups?
Sui Yang Phang : Hong Kong is a launch pad because of the demographic advantages, but also it is still a gateway into Asia.
In the next coming months or years, we are gonna see Hong Kong being defined within the Greater Bay Area, in particular as an attraction for startups to come to HK and China. You will see a lot of initiatives, private-driven business and ground works started by the government. The confluence of the private and public drives Hong Kong startup ecosystem here.
As for INFINITI, it has the headquarters in Hong Kong and the resources, experts and decision makers all in one building. It is a platform to provide entrepreneurs, interactions, advice with business units and startups.
Most importantly, INFINITI has the culture and intention to innovate its entrepreneurship. In the development of the program, the culture will transform the organisation and feed the products that entrepreneurs bring to the consumers. Corporate culture is not built in few days, you need to have a company ready to embrace change to innovate.
RiA : Any other NEST projects you could with our readers?
Sui Yang Phang : We want to grow the platform, a platform for entrepreneurs in particular to scale across borders.
We have just finished a program in Thailand, and running an operation in Nairobi. We exploring different countries. We have eyes on China and the Middle East. We want to bring startups in those regions and across regions. We will have an announcement in the next three months.
We want to expand through different regions and across regions. We want to create the connectivity that enables entrepreneurs to become mentors and at the same time being open to embrace those new technologies and look at other sectors to innovate their own.
We are looking forward to the next projects!