Deepak opens HK’s first startup academy, PaperClip, in Sheung Wan
With Hong Kong’s first Startup Grind on tomorrow at Paperclip, we went by the new co-work space and academy to chat with founder Deepak Madnani.
By taking a leaf from Steve Blank and Eric Ries’ book, the heart of Paperclip is in the academy, and courses will be drawn from the methodologies behind the lean startup movement. For those unfamiliar with the lean startup principles, it encourages entrepreneurs to get comfortable with failure and stresses the importance of always innovating and iterating. While great execution is what brings an idea to life, the lean startup way suggests that experimentation vs. elaborate planning can actually make starting a company less risky.
“It’s efficient, we’re building scale into the system from the very beginning and we’re forcing the entrepreneur to do their homework,” said Deepak. “At the end of the day, we want to extract value and you need an entrepreneur to teach [lean startups], someone who’s been through the learning curve.”
As a serial entrepreneur that has experienced the highs and lows of startup life, Deepak wants to help empower, educate and equip new founders with workshops run in conjunction with VCs, angels, incubators, and government-led initiatives that support innovation. Essentially, Paperclip wants to collaborate with any entity that feeds into Hong Kong’s ecosystem to create a startup campus. “It’s not about Paperclip – it’s about the startups and I’ve designed this with the ecosystem in mind,” said Deepak. “How can I add value to places such as Cyberport? I need their space and their resources and we can do joint events – it’s such a win-win.”
Having just launched in December, work on Paperclip is just getting started, but Deepak reveals that his plans for his latest venture is focused on new markets that need startup education the most. “I want to take this model global, but I’m not so keen on Europe and America because it’s so developed,” he said. “Let’s take this to China, India, Africa and The Middle East where something like this will be really powerful and impactful.”
As for Paperclip the Hong Kong edition, Deepak is as invested as they come. After having frustrating run-ins with Hong Kong rental limitations (not being able to renovate the way you want, two year lease restriction), he decided to purchase the 5,000-square-foot space located in the heart of Sheung Wan to build Paperclip the way he sees fit.
And from what we’ve seen, it’s a beautifully designed addition to Sheung Wan’s startup zone which has been dubbed “the new Central,” or as Deepak would say: “Silicon Sheung Wan.”