Infiniti and Nest Kick Off “Infiniti Accelerator 2.0” Program
Infiniti, in partnership with Hong Kong-based start up incubator, Nest, today kicked off the “Infiniti Accelerator 2.0” program with a launch event at the Infiniti LAB, a co-working space tailored to entrepreneurs and situated on the first floor of Infiniti’s flagship showroom in Hong Kong.
A joint initiative between Infiniti and Nest, the Infiniti Accelerator is a 12-week, full-time program designed to help start-ups from around the world grow and scale rapidly. The program is for entrepreneurs with a passion for innovation and for those who share Infiniti’s vision to improve the future through technology.
Nine start-ups from four different countries and cities were introduced at the kick-off. Two of them are local companies from Hong Kong. Government Official, Mr. Nicholas Yang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology attended the launch event alongside media and leading members of the Hong Kong business community.
On 5th July 2016, the selected start-ups will begin 12 weeks of intensive business training supported by Infiniti and Nest. They will also receive one-on- one mentorship from Infiniti business leaders and industry experts. This will
culminate in an Investor Demo Day in October, where the start-ups will pitch their businesses to a panel of carefully selected investors for funding.
The theme of Infiniti’s 2016 accelerator is Smart Cities with a particular focus on connectivity technologies as solutions for future intelligent urban mobility. Over 140 applications were received globally from which only nine were selected to participate in the program. Infiniti and Nest selected the companies with the best business ideas and the potential to solve real-life challenges for future intelligent cities.
Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti Motor Company commented: “One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Infiniti brand is its entrepreneurial spirit. As a premium automotive brand, we are constantly innovating to deliver the most personal and rewarding driving experience. We created the Infiniti LAB and the ‘Infiniti Accelerator Program’ in Hong Kong to support entrepreneurship and pledge our commitment to the local community. We had a very successful inaugural program and we look forward to the results of ‘Infiniti Accelerator 2.0’”.
Nicholas W. Yang, JP, Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Hong Kong SAR Government, also attended the “Infiniti Accelerator 2.0″ launch event today. Mr. Yang who visited the Infiniti LAB last year said: “It is a great pleasure for me to be back at the Infiniti LAB again for the launch of the ‘Infiniti Accelerator 2.0’. I am pleased that the Accelerator 1.0 program was so successful and that many participants secured investment for their businesses. I would like to commend Infiniti Motor Company for its efforts and commitments in nurturing local start- ups in Hong Kong.”
Introducing the Start-Ups
This year’s start-ups include local Hong Kong talent, Asia-based innovators from Singapore and entrepreneurs from as far afield as the U.S. and Dubai. They address three key areas including connectivity technologies, alternative energy and alternative mobility solutions that are vital for Smart Cities of the future.
The Hong Kong start-ups include Kazoo Technology and Visionaries 777 both in the connectivity technologies space. From Singapore, three start-ups have been selected, Pilot Automotive Labs, aureso and Hapticus in the areas of connectivity technologies and alternative mobility solutions. Hailing from Dubai is Carpool Arabia with a unique alternative mobility solution for the market. Rounding out the cohort are three companies from the U.S. Dagmy Motors and Kraftwerk Inc. provide alternative energy solutions, whilst Drop.ai is in the connectivity technologies field.
Nest Partner and Head of Innovation, Will Ross shared: “Realising the promise of Smart Cities is about using connectivity so we can be smarter about the way we manage our urban environments. Autonomous drive, mobility and connectivity are very much the key themes of this year’s accelerator because it’s an area where Hong Kong can lead the charge and have a positive impact on people’s daily lives.”
Successes from “Infiniti Accelerator 1.0” Alumni
The launch event also shared success stories from the first Infiniti Accelerator program, which finished in December last year. Three start-ups were highlighted including PSL, Green City Solutions and TingPark that have received continued support from Infiniti and Nest. In particular, PSL, who developed a 100% electric foldable bike, has been working directly with the team at Infiniti’s Global Design Studio to create a prototype. In another instance, Green City Solutions, who created an outdoor air cleaning installation called CityTree, has worked with Infiniti and Hopewell Centre to launch the first installation in Hong Kong. The CityTree was unveiled in June this year outside Infiniti Headquarters in front of the Hopewell Centre in Wan Chai.