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HK startups vie for attention at RISE

RISE Conference 2017 opened in Hong Kong with more than 600 startups in attendanMore than 120 local startups joined their counterparts from around the world at the RISE Conference 2017 that opened yesterday in the Hong Kong to intensive pitching and networking.

Now on its third year, it is the biggest startup event in Asia where entrepreneurs and investors from the East and West meet to find ways to expand their businesses globally. It also provides a venue of discussion about the different ways of using new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech to fuel growth of the internet economy in Asia.

"For the next three days, there'll be more than 250 speakers, not just here but spread out at a number of stages across the venue. I hope you're going to have an incredible time," Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder & CEO of RISE & Web Summit, said in his opening speech.

The event is expected to attract more than 14,000 people from 90 countries, including Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Denmark, France, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, US, UAE and the UK.

Hong Kong startups show their wares

Local startups comprised almost 25% of more than 600 companies vying to catch the eyes of potential investors and partners.

Computerworld Hong Kong sought out a few of these homegrown entrepreneurs who are trying to make their mark in the internet economy:

Boutir is a mobile-commerce platform that enables merchants to sell and shop online through mobile devices, to manage their inventory, as well as to process payments through partnerships formed with PayPal and Stripe.

According to the company's Co-founder and CEO Eric Ng, a Hong Kong-based jewelry chain store is currently using the Boutir platform to enable their sales staff to run individual "mini-shops" on it, whose sales will then be channeled back to the jewelry company. Today, Boutir serves more than 20,000 registered merchants.

Feedback Expert, a new company that was registered just three months ago, has developed a mobile customer feedback tool that allows the mobile workforce such as engineers to obtain real-time feedback for their services upon serving customers.

"Very often, you don't know what is happening to your customers until they cancel their contracts," said Phil Aldridge, founder of Feedback Expert. Using the app, a company can instantly measure the customers' satisfaction level and identify any unhappy customers instantly. "If a company finds any unhappy customers, it can take timely remedial measures like waiving their next month's bill," Aldridge suggested.

Currently serving three beta clients, he added that a company can also use the app to identify the top performers, those that need to receive further training, and (unfortunately) those that need to be replaced.