The Dragons descend on RISE
By Alex Tanglao, Last updated: 2023-01-18 (originally published on 2017-07-20)
RISE is a startup and entrepreneurship festival that takes place every year at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Thousands of innovators, investors, and companies come together to share ideas, connect, and network in one of the biggest hubs in the world. Here, we recap what the Dragons got up to when they landed at RISE!
Day 1 was all about sealing the deal on the professional relationships you had been forming over the past few months or years. The buzz was incessant as attendees walked around, talking to other entrepreneurs and learning about their businesses. As everyone was trying to find their bearings in the hustling, bustling city of Hong Kong, lively chats were taking place on every stage in the event. These stages were set up at each corner of the convention hall with the booths set up in every other square inch available.
On the first day, there were numerous talks regarding fintech and artificial intelligence. As Jing Ulrich, of JP Morgan Chase, and Wayne Xu, of ZhongAn (an InsurTech firm) stated, FinTech is taking over the operations of even traditional banks. They are transforming their technological capabilities in order to stay competitive with other, newer financial technology companies. Some of the talks included “Building for Asia’s ‘new economy’” and “Living on the fintech Indian frontier.”
Some exciting startups aside from Zegal were also present, and us Dragons had the chance to talk to their representatives at the booth! Wantedly, for example, is a recruiting platform that helps both employees and recruiters understand companies and candidates. They allow candidates to find environments in which they will feel fulfilled, comfortable, and motivated. Many of our Dragons signed up for the Women in Tech cohort where they were able to network with many other women who were in startups or entrepreneurs themselves.
Blueprint, a co-working and event space, was conveniently located in the middle of the hall, was one of the main hubs throughout the conference. True to their mission, Blue Print helped to build a small community for RISE attendees, providing a great meeting place to sit and network with other companies.
Day 2 was a big day for us, as we had our booth set up in the START section. The day, in a nutshell, was nonstop activity. Many people came up to our booth and there were many points in the day when every red-clad Dragon was talking to an attendee. It is safe to say a large percentage of RISE left the conference with some sort of knowledge of Legal Tech. We got many questions, from “What is Legal Tech?” to “How can I integrate this into my business?” all the way to exclamations like “Sign me up!” Some attendees from other countries were eager to see us eventually expand into other countries, and this gave us great excitement to know that we are being noticed from places outside our jurisdictions.
From about lunchtime until the close, Zegal was undoubtedly one of the busiest booths in the START section. We were multitasking in talking to potential clients and signing up those who were interested in a Free Trial. Indeed, many companies were interested in how we could help them streamline their legal work in their business. Many attendees were running into the high legal fees that SMEs usually experience, and we were able to offer a quick, affordable, and easy solution. All in all, as our Sales Executive Mehdi said, “everyone was looking to improve their business” by “looking for new solutions.”
One of the highlights of our day, however, was when our Chairman, Antoine Blondeau, the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Sentinent Technologies, spoke about the “Three Cases of Revolutionary AI.” His company was the “highest funded Artificial Intelligence company” according to Forbes. He spoke on the three instances where AI has been truly groundbreaking. As a Legal Tech company, we are honoured to have such a technological visionary as the Chairman of our board.
Other than our stand, there were numerous talks and pitches that took place throughout Day 2. Our booth was very close to the PITCH stage, so Dragons would venture over there when they had a spare minute. One of our interns heard a few pitches but she said a couple stood out: Avigo and Unilodgers. Avigo is an app that makes corporate wellness easy and accessible. It was founded to “revolutionise the health and wellness space.” The founder, Melvin Chen, was enthusiastic about his app and believed that he could change the way people view fitness classes. The second app that was notable was Unilodgers. This application helps students find affordable housing near their University campuses. It was interesting seeing all of the ideas that radiated from that stage; their presentations was definitely a motivation for all.
Day 3 was all about solidifying the relationships formed over the past couple of hectic but exciting days. At this point, you could walk around and see people you had seen during the day or during one of the night events, and it was hard not to run into someone who was vaguely familiar. It was helpful to follow up with the connections made during the conference. Much of our team spent the day doing this. They walked around in bright red shirts, asking people questions, collecting business cards, and finding out more about SMEs that sounded interesting or helpful.
Other talks that received high praise from our team was “BigBasket=Big eCommerce ambition.” In this talk, Vipul Parekh spoke on why he decided to go into such a low-margin industry. He stated that he believes that the industry is “highly unorganized” and he believed he could change that with the way BigBasket retains its customers and integrates science and technology into its operations.
At the end of the day, many of our Dragons were approached by attendees they had met before. These people said that they had been recommending Zegal throughout the conference and that they were excited to start using our software. The best part about these connections was that they grew the Zegal network. The more money entrepreneurs are able to save, the more they are able to grow, and the more successful they are!
After the last day’s activities and festivities, our Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships Ryanne Lai spoke at the Technology x Culture x Entertainment meetup. She discussed how technology was changing the legal culture. It informed attendees on how the legal field is integrating technology for the better.
We hope that those who attended RISE found it fun, enjoyable, inspirational, and educational. For those who were not able to make it, remember to save the date for the 2018 conference, as they are already on sale! If you are interested in learning more about the companies that presented or watching the conference videos, check them out!