HONG KONG — Infiniti has partnered with Nest to launch a co-working space, speaker series and 12-week accelerator program aimed at fostering smart-city and Internet of Things entrepreneurship.
Infiniti, the Hong Kong-based luxury division of Japanese automaker Nissan, has launched a three-part initiative to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship here.
"This accelerator program is not about having a black box of money with available cash," said Dane Fisher, managing director at Infiniti Asia-Pacific. "We’re actually creating a home for entrepreneurs."
The initiative includes:
- The Infiniti Lab, a co-working space situated on the first floor of Infiniti’s flagship showroom in Hong Kong
- The Infiniti Accelerator, a startup development program driven by early-stage investment company Nest
- The Infiniti Speaker Series, a thought-leadership program involving global and local speakers
According to Infiniti, 145 startups from around the world applied to the program; up to eight will be selected to join the accelerator and receive support from Infiniti and Nest. This support includes mentorship from specialists in the areas of smart cities, hardware, manufacturing, transportation, technology and marketing.
The startups selected to join the Infiniti Accelerator will have access to the Infiniti Lab and, at the end of the 12-week program, an opportunity to pitch their business to investors for further funding.
"This is not just an accelerator for today and a headline for tomorrow," said Nest CEO Simon Squibb. "These startups are getting the opportunity to work with a billion-dollar company with resources and expertise in this area of technology."
Commenting on the startup and innovation space in Hong Kong, Squibb said that numerous accelerators are now all within a few kilometres of each other. "You have accelerators from AIA, DBS and now Infiniti," he said. "So that’s three billion-dollar companies all within walking distance."
Fisher said he sees an opportunity for cross-pollination between the accelerators, which could lead to further innovation. "Each accelerator is focusing on a different thing and area of expertise," Fisher said. "If we bring them together, some really interesting things will emerge."
Some of the executives confirmed for the speaker series are Simon Loong, founder and CEO of lending platform WeLend; Clive Jackson, founder and CEO of on-demand jet charter service Victor; and Timothy Oulton, founder and creative director of the eponymous UK-based furniture brand.
This article first appeared on campaignasia.com.