As technology has become an integral part of our lives, and tech entrepreneurs are constantly revolutionizing the way we live, the number of startups emerging is increasing swiftly. If you aspire to be an entrepreneur and start your own business, or if you are running a growth-stage company, the significant challenge you confront is to find an investor for funding. Considering the cut-throat competition, finding investments has become difficult than ever. However, Karen Contet (Co-founder & CEO of AngelHub and Co-founder and Chief Hustler of WHub) is complementing this need by investing directly in growth-stage companies and democratizing startup investment.
It has been an extraordinary journey….
Karen started her journey 5 years ago along with her co-founder Karena Belin by establishing WHub with an aim to unleash startups’ full potential by connecting them to the resources they need. A few years later, Karen joined a small group of Fintech enthusiasts and started the Fintech Association of Hong Kong, which has grown to be one of the largest Fintech Associations in the world, gathering Fintech companies as well as corporates, individuals, and students. After being immersed in the startup scene for some years, Karen, along with Karena decided to launch the first regulated startup investment platform in Hong Kong –AngelHub.
Presently, Karen spearheads the operations of both the companies as a CEO and Chief Hustler. Talking about her journey, she says, “It has been an extraordinary journey, from building the largest startup community in Hong Kong and power connector in Asia, organizing more than 10 job fairs, Startup Exhibition and the largest hack, 5 Hackathons, Asia Online Hackathon with over 80 teams, a Global Startup competition with participating startups from over 40 countries across the globe and a 20,000 participants conference: Startup Impact Summit.” She takes pride in taking a deeper role and investing in tech companies that she believes are transforming the way people live.
What does AngelHub do?
Under the auspices of Karen and Karena, AngelHub aims to empower both investors as well as entrepreneurs. It provides a fully-digitalized onboarding process for professional investors. The investors find all the necessary information related to a startup investment opportunity online and can build their portfolio from behind their screen.
Moreover, if you are an entrepreneur, you no longer need to pitch multiple times to reach out to investors. Instead, you can focus on scaling your business. Since its inception, AngelHub has vetted over 1,300 startups, invested in 7 companies in different sectors such as FinTech, EdTech, Blockchain, AI, Gaming, Robotics, and FoodTech. Karen has played a very important role in the swift growth of the company with her responsible leadership.
You need to be able to challenge yourself……
As a co-founder, Karen performed several roles such as accounting, tech development, fundraising, recruitment, carrying banners, etc. at the start. Over a period of time, as the company flourished, her roles and responsibilities also changed accordingly. Along with Karena, Karen sets and carries the mission and vision of the company forward, making sure to create a strong team and a safe environment in which everyone is empowered to share opinions, grow, and work together towards success.
Being at the helm of the company operations, both the veterans focus on improving the business and providing the team what they need to best do their job. Besides these, making decisions is also an important role of a leader. “Making decisions is sometimes difficult but not making any is definitely the worst one. Nonetheless, you need to be able to challenge yourself and question the strategy based on metrics and clear targets,” adds Karen.
“Making Hay While the Sun Shines”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused several significant changes to businesses across the globe. WHub team has been at the forefront of the changes. As everyone in the team was working remotely, WHub arranged 30 minutes morning call for the entire team to join and discuss the daily work, goals, and blockers. This turned out to be a great tactic in keeping the team connected and starting the day together.
Moreover, in just a few months, the company switched from organizing its flagship conference Startup Impact Summit from a 5,000 participants offline conference to a 20,000 participants online conference. The increasing digitalization empowered WHub to have 274 speakers from across the world, and participants from over 96 countries over 2 days, connecting east and west. The conference featured a series of keynote sessions, panel discussions, fireside chats, and workshops with speakers from some of the biggest players in the tech scene, which was helpful for the investors as well as the growing companies.
What are the Future Objectives?
Karen believes that despite several challenges, the pandemic has brought numerous opportunities for startups and tech companies. The lockdown has forced countries and corporates to move ahead and accelerate their digitalization. The sectors such as cybersecurity and data privacy, FinTech, EduTech, Gaming, and e-commerce are seeking advanced and innovative solutions. “With the changing customer behavior and increased connectivity, we will see new winners emerging, and therefore great investment opportunities,” adds Karen.
Capitalizing on this plethora of opportunities, WHub is aiming to organize another Startup Impact Summit at the beginning of 2021. Having learned a lot from the first online conference last summer, the company aims to come back with new concepts to connect people, sharing how tech is making an impact. Through this conference, WHub sights to connect entrepreneurs, corporates, governments, students, and investors —the key members of the startup ecosystem.
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