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Winner of Hong Kong’s Flagship Global Elevator Pitch Competition Crowned

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Circular economy battery startup tozero GmbH walks away with the title of overall champion of the EPiC 2024

  • tozero GmbH crowned as EPiC 2024 champion claiming the top cash prize of US$90,000, 1,100,000 Asia Miles, as well as invaluable investor exposure and partnership opportunities
  • The EPiC 2024 competition breaks new ground as the Grand Finale caps off the first-ever four-city semi-final series across the U.S., Europe and Asia
  • EPiC 2024 attracted a total of 603 contestants from 47 economies solidifying Hong Kong’s unique position as a leading global innovation hub and ideal launchpad for startups on a mission to grow in Asia and go global

HONG KONG SAR  26 April 2024 – Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) today successfully held its flagship Elevator Pitch Competition (EPiC) 2024, with judges selecting tozero GmbH as the overall champion, beating over 70 startups from around the world. tozero GmbH from Germany is a circular economy start-up with plans to establish Europe’s leading lithium-ion battery recycling plant.

Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR (9th from right), Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman at HKSTP (8th from left), the top 12 finalists together with the competition’s panel of judges and distinguished guests.
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR (9th from right), Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman at HKSTP (8th from left), the top 12 finalists together with the competition’s panel of judges and distinguished guests.

The HKSTP signature event held four semi-finals around the world in Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Stuttgart and Singapore. The Grand Finale featured over 70 companies, representing 16 economies, making this contest the most international iteration of the global pitching event to date. This broadened the net to attract outstanding startups from abroad.

The winners excelled from among 603 startups in the first round of applications in January to the semi-finals, to today’s Grand Finale – all with their sights set on the to-be-arranged US$45 million investment[1] including up to US$5 million from the HKSTP Corporate Venture Fund (CVF), as well as US$240,000 in cash prizes, plus partnership opportunities. The Grand Finale saw all semi-finalists being propelled up to the sky100 venue at the top of the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon, re-creating a real-life 60-second elevator pitch experience.

Ms. Sarah Fleischer from tozero GmbH, overall champion and MobilityTech winner at EPiC 2024.
Ms. Sarah Fleischer from tozero GmbH, overall champion and MobilityTech winner at EPiC 2024.

Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR, said, “Last year, Hong Kong’s start-ups exceeded 4 200 – up more than one third over just four years ago. About a quarter of them are from outside Hong Kong.”

The Government believes in innovation and technology. We continue to accelerate our I&T development, fostering the commercialisation of R&D (research and development) outcomes and expediting new industrialisation with staunch government support. We actively attract strategic enterprises engaged in artificial intelligence, life and health technology, fintech, and new energy and materials.

This year's EPiC featured over 70 companies, representing 16 economies at the Grand Finale, making this contest the most international iteration of the global pitching event to date.
This year’s EPiC featured over 70 companies, representing 16 economies at the Grand Finale, making this contest the most international iteration of the global pitching event to date.

We’re also expediting our collaboration with sister cities in the Greater Bay Area. The joint innovation and technology park that we’re developing close to the boundary with Shenzhen is a best case in point.”

Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman, HKSTP, said, “EPiC 2024 has firmly established the annual pitching competition as Hong Kong’s mega startup event, drawing the best of the best in tech startups from around the world as they seek to leverage Hong Kong as a launchpad to global success. The Grand Finale caps a truly epic journey for the winners and finalists, competing across the four-city semi-final series around the world, with the final stop in Hong Kong. The city provides unmatched growth opportunities for startups plugging into the HKSTP innovation ecosystem and primes them for seamless expansion from Hong Kong to the GBA, China and beyond.”

Competitors were split across three categories: FinTech, PropTech and MobilityTech, with Bizbaz Pte. Ltd. from Singapore being named as the FinTech category winner, while Roboticplus.AI from Mainland China named the PropTech winner and tozero GmbH from Germany crowned the MobilityTech winner. (Full list of winners and prizes below).

The event was also sponsored by world leading corporations and industry innovators, Cathay, HSBC and MTR Lab. Ahead of the EPiC final pitching contest, the semi-finalists also took part in an immersive three-day “Market Discovery Programme”, between 22-24 April. Participants explored ways to unlock growth opportunities through a programme of business matching, hands-on seminars and networking with leading corporate partners and investors in the HKSTP ecosystem. They also visited the Hong Kong Science Park Shenzhen Branch and introduced to the fast-emerging innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and mainland China.

Sarah Fleischer, CEO and co-founder of overall champion and MobilityTech category winner, tozero GmbH, said, “Winning EPiC is a recognition of the hard work of our entire company. It is truly an amazing achievement. Hong Kong is a great place to be as it attracts top talent. At tozero, we’re building a battery recycling machine so we need to hire the best AI guys out there and Hong Kong could be a nice place to do that. Through the EPIC programme, we also visited Shenzhen, as well as met with some of Hong Kong’s most powerful and recognised people.”

Vincent Choy, Co-founder of FinTech category winner, Bizbaz Pte. Ltd., said, “EPiC is one of the most organised FinTech competitions that I have been in. The elevator pitch concept is genius as it forces us to compress the entirety of what we are about and distil our vision into a minute. I hope EPiC lets more companies know what we do and help with recognition in the region. We see Hong Kong as a key area when it comes to business opportunities, and we will be coming back to establish more roots here.”

Hyde Meng, Co-Founder and CEO of PropTech category winner, Roboticplus.AI, said, “EPiC was an amazing experience. It was a great opportunity to learn about what technology companies around the world are working on, and to make new acquaintances in a such a short amount of time. With Hong Kong as a connector, we can bring Mainland China’s technology to Europe, the Middle East, and overseas.”

Winners List and Prizes:

Overall Champion: tozero GmbH US$60,000 cash prize and 1,100,000 Asia Miles
FinTech Winner: Bizbaz Pte. Ltd. US$20,000 cash prize
PropTech Winner: Roboticplus.AI US$20,000 cash prize
MobilityTech Winner: tozero GmbH US$20,000 cash prize

Top 12 Overall Finalists (each received US$10,000 cash prize):

FinTech Category:
  • Bizbaz Pte. Ltd.
  • imBee
  • Rey
  • Tanbii
PropTech Category:
  • Green Independence
  • Hyele Limited
  • Kodifly Limited
  • Roboticplus.AI
MobilityTech Category:
  • Certivity
  • Novac
  • tozero GmbH
  • wheel.me

Semi-Finalists Breakdown:

Category No. of contestants
FinTech 21 (30%)
PropTech 23 (32%)
MobilityTech 27 (38%)
Region No. of contestants
Europe 17 (24%)
North America 14 (20%)
APAC 13 (18%)
Mainland China 12 (17%)
Hong Kong 15 (21%)

For more information on EPiC 2024, please visit: https://epic.hkstp.org/


[1] Target to arrange USD45 Million investment: Investors (including funds managed by HKSTP CVF, Beyond Ventures, BitRock Capital, Gaw Capital, HKX, InnoAngel, Jafco Asia, Mindworks Capital and Radiant Tech Ventures) will consider investing in applicants (subject to terms and conditions to be agre ed between the parties)

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