HKUST Alumni - Winter News 2015 - page 7

an email list of around 12,000 addresses of interested parties.
They created a website, used Facebook ads to draw traffic, and
hired a public relations company with contacts in online media.
When Lumen achieved its goal within 10 hours, the public
relations company then used this as a hook to generate another
wave of interest.
HKUST’s strong foundation
All three are appreciative of their time at HKUST and the
foundation it provided in giving them the skills to develop an idea.
Jeff notes that studying a dual degree covering engineering and
business was extremely helpful. “We are just two people, so we
need to do everything ourselves. I prefer the engineering side, but
it is necessary for me to get involved in marketing and running
the business, too.” Both Jeff and Anik cited the classes
on entrepreneurship offered by the University. “As
an engineering student, to be able to take these
sessions was impressive,” says Anik.
For Roman, who is from Norway, studying
in Hong Kong proved to be very beneficial.
“Hong Kong is a centre of trade, with the
best suppliers in the world. And many
HKUST alumni work in traditional
industries in this region. It’s a big way
to break the ice when you discover
someone in a company you visit was
also at the University!”
They highlight the alumni network.
“Just meeting with Anik and Jeff for
this interview has been very useful.
I am really interested to hear about
Jeff’s experience with email lists, for
example,” says Roman. Jeff says he
has really benefited from having Alvin
Lam, 1998 BBA(FINA), Founder and
CEO of the PacificLink Group and
President of the Alumni Association, as
a mentor: “He has given us advice, and
provided a good benchmark.”
Advice for would-be entrepreneurs
All are adamant that students or fresh
graduates with ideas for a business startup, be
it a physical product or software, should simply
seize the opportunity. “If you’ve got an idea and
wonder if it will work – just try it. Prototyping is so
easy now,” says Jeff. “Then interview people and ask
them what they think – but choose strangers and not your
family or friends! If you need help with marketing and raising
funds, be it traditional or crowdfunding, there are lots of people at
HKUST willing to help.”
Roman adds that if you have a solid idea but are not
confident about going out on your own, find a job to earn money
and build your idea in the evenings. Anik notes that HKUST’s
Entrepreneurship Center can offer a lot of advice. “It’s a place for
students to brainstorm ideas and get feedback,” he says.
And, of course, all three recommend crowdfunding, not
only for raising money but also for validating the product and
determining orders.
HKUST Alumni News 2015
What their crowdfunding business is about:
When Roman graduated and
entered the financial world, he bought his
first executive wardrobe – but couldn’t
find a suitable laptop case. He teamed
up with a friend who had the same
predicament and together they started
Linjer. Their online business is now up
and running, producing high-
quality, minimalist leather
goods at prices much lower
than luxury brands. They have since launched a second women’s
collection, and will be introducing watches early next year.
Eager to stay safe and visible
while riding his bike, Jeff and a fellow MBA
student at Harvard University developed
the idea of integrating LED lights into
the helmet. Success in a hackathon at
MIT garnered lots of interest,
leading them to develop the Lumos
helmet with braking lights that automatically
turn red when the cyclist slows down, and turning signal lights
operated by a wireless control on the handlebars.
Moodbox is a
beautifully crafted speaker with mood
music and light, powered by emotionally
intelligent software. It uses machine-learning
algorithms to classify music into different mood
categories, along with sophisticated AI to
understand human speech and emotions. Ivo
Technologies was founded by ECE Professor
Pascale Fung and several
HKUST graduates,
including Anik.
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