#propUP program

    Monday, July 16 - September 20, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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#propUP program

Monday, July 16 - September 20, 2018

Monday, July 16 - September 20, 2018
Event starts at 2:00 pm

Campfire Taikoo
13/F, Zung Fu Industrial Building
No. 1067 King's Road
Tai Koo, Hong Kong

Register Now

MTR opening doors for Startups

[Register to join us on an AMA online session HERE on 6 July at 4:00pm HKT .]

#propUP is a Techstars startup program powered by MTR. It is an intensive 8-week program driven by mentors and rooted in Customer Development methodology. 

#propUP Program is intended for companies that are developing innovative products and services that can enhance the customer experience, safety, and performance of the shopping malls owned and operated by MTR, in the following two categories:      

Innovative technology - services and product that will enhance the customer experience
  • Service and experience to generate "new" patronage fro shopping malls (e.g. Store Analytics, Point of Sale, Personalization, In-Store Experience, AI, big data analytics, etc.)
  • Service and technology to differentiate MTR malls from other shopping malls (e.g. Retail AR, IoT, self-service concierge by Robots/indoor navigation/AI video monitoring or customer service, etc.)
Innovative technology - services and products that will enhance safety, and operation performance of shopping malls
  • New technology that can enhance performance of MTR operational asset (e.g. Sustainable products & services; Prevention of pollution (air, water & waste); Sustainable resource use (resource efficiency & water use); 
  • New technology that can enhance safety of MTR colleagues/customers/tenants (e.g. OH&S training utilising AR/VR)    

Startups are challenged to: 
  • validate their assumptions, 
  • search for a repeatable and scalable business model, 
  • and work with MTR Properties on a proof-of-concept. 
The program is designed in such a way that founders are able to continue building their product since it's a part-time program, that consists of 4-hour weekly sessions for 2 and 6 weeks. The program is free of charge and no equity is taken.

Applications are now opened!
Apply NOW!

Program Overview
  • 15 May - Applications Open
  • 23 May - Online AMA: Learn More About The Program. Watch the replay HERE
  • 6 July - Online AMA: Last opportunities to ask us questions about the program before the application closes!
  • 13 July - Application Closes
  • 19 July - Announcing the winning startup teams!!
  • 23 July - First Online Session
  • Sep - Demo Day
Stay in touch, share your email with us HERE


About MTR
With an average weekday patronage of about 5.8 million passengers, MTR is regarded as one of the world's leading railway operators for safety, reliability, customer service and cost efficiency.  
MTR is also involved in the development of residential and commercial projects, property leasing and management. MTR aims to be an industry leader in creating integrated communities for Hong Kong citizens, with 13 shopping malls in the portfolio and managing over 96,000 residential units.

About Techstars
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. From inspiration to IPO, Techstars exists to empower the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey by providing a global ecosystem made up of tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. Techstars’ purpose is embedded in its give first, entrepreneur-centric approach. Every decision that Techstars makes is carried out with the best interest of the entrepreneur in mind. 

Contact us: 

See what it's all about

Learn More


Tuesday May 15th

2:00 pm
Applications Are Open!
Apply on f6s at http://bit.ly/applypropup Have any questions? Reach out to propup@startupweekend.org

Wednesday May 23rd

6:30 pm
Online AMA
AMA (Ask Me Anything) "Learn More About The Program" Watch the replay here: http://bit.ly/propupworkshop

Tuesday May 29th

7:00 pm
"How can startups work with corporations?" View pictures on Facebook: facebook.com/StartupWeekendHK

Friday July 6th

5:00 pm
Online AMA sessions
Your last opportunity to ask us questions in real time before the application closes. You may register to join the session here: https://goo.gl/forms/6eyhMmNDgiiksMtC2

Friday July 13th

10:00 pm
Applications Close
Don't wait the last minute to apply! Get started and reach out, we want to help :) http://bit.ly/applypropup

Thursday July 19th

12:00 am
Finalist Announcement !
Woohoo! We will be announcing the selected 10 startups on this day!!! Please check your F6S to know if your startup has been selected.

Monday July 23rd

1:30 pm
Introduction (Online)
Welcome to #propUP! Feeling awesome? You should. This is an online session for startups to understand the program, resources and get excited!

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #1 (Online)
We make you work! Pitch us your project and get feedback from mentors and peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time (Online)
Spend time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR Deep Dive (Online)
Mentors and executives from MTR will present you some of their best insights!

Thursday July 26th

1:30 pm
Session 2
Listen and interact with a mentor sharing his experience at pitching. You will learn key insights on conveying your message to investors.

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #2
Now it's your turn to pitch! What have you worked on since last week, how can we help?

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR Deep Dive
Mentors and executives from MTR will present you some of their best insights!

Monday August 6th

2:45 pm
Competition Day
Registration, Networking and Startup Exhibition

3:15 pm
Competition Day
Welcome Speech, Introduction to #propUP and Group Photo time

3:30 pm
Competition Day
Selected team will be pitching in front of a curated group of mentors, executives, and investors. From there, we will select up to 5 startups that will continue to the Proof of Concept phase.

5:00 pm
Competition Day
Judging panel discussion and announcing the winning teams entering the POC stage

5:30 pm
Competition Day
Networking Time

Thursday August 9th

1:30 pm
Session 3
Meet and get paired with your lead mentor!

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #3
You have 5 minutes (and no slide!) to pitch your project. Get constructive feedback from mentors and your peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR Proof-of-Concept
You will work with MTR mentors and executives towards getting a proof-of-concept off the ground with them! How fast can you go?

Thursday August 16th

1:30 pm
Session 4
Learn from a mentor what Product/Market Fit is and how you can achieve this quickly with your team.

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #4
You have 5 minutes (and no slide!) to pitch your project. Get constructive feedback from mentors and your peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR PoC Update
Work towards getting the Proof-of-Concept going.

Thursday August 23rd

1:30 pm
Session 5
Learn and practice from a mentor how you can improve your Customer Discover process and get skilled at interviewing your customers.

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #5
You have 5 minutes (and no slide!) to pitch your project. Get constructive feedback from mentors and your peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR PoC Update
Work towards getting the Proof-of-Concept going.

Thursday August 30th

1:30 pm
Session 6
Learn from mentors how they grow their startups and get hands on practices to scale your business.

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #6
You have 5 minutes (with slides!) to pitch your project. Get constructive feedback from mentors and your peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR PoC Update
Work towards getting the Proof-of-Concept going.

Thursday September 6th

1:30 pm
Session 7
Interact with mentors as they share how they were able to work with investors and raise money.

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #7
You have 8 minutes (with slides!) to pitch your project. Get constructive feedback from mentors and your peers.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
Spend face time with mentors from MTR and the community.

4:30 pm
MTR PoC Update
Work towards getting the Proof-of-Concept going.

Thursday September 13th

1:30 pm
Session 8
Full on practicing your pitch, refining the content and delivery. Plus of course, a big celebration of the journey thus far. You deserve it!

2:30 pm
Pitch Practice #8
10 minutes with slides! Your last chance to get feedback from everybody, make it count.

3:30 pm
Mentor Time
It's time to wrap up, who will you stay in touch with?

4:30 pm
MTR PoC Update
Work towards getting the Proof-of-Concept going.

Wednesday September 19th

12:00 pm
Demo Day @MTR
Get maximum visibility within MTR, pitch in front of top executives and managers and get them to support your projects!

Thursday September 20th

2:00 pm
Demo Day
Pitch in front of mentors, investors, and guests. That's your opportunity to get all the support you need to make your startup the next big thing! Interested to attend? Register at http://bit.ly/propupnews

Event Judges

David Tang Chi-Fai
Property Director at MTR

Mr Tang joined MTR in August 2004 and become the Property Director and a Member of the Executive Directorate since October 2011. He is responsible for all of the property development projects of the Company in Hong Kong from layout planning, scheme design through to project construction completion, as well as asset and leasing management of investment properties (including shopping malls and offices) and property management of office buildings and residential units.

Mr Tang is a chartered surveyor and a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors. He is a non-executive director of the Urban Renewal Authority of the HKSAR Government. Mr Tang holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of the West of England (formerly Bristol Polytechnic) in the United Kingdom.

Debbie Chan
Acting Head of Investment Property at MTR

Debbie is the Acting Head of Investment Property of MTR Corporation and is responsible for the operation of six shopping centres under the Corporation’s management, notably Elements atop Kowloon Station and Maritime Square at Tsing Yi.  Her responsibilities cover all aspects of mall operation, including strategic trademix planning and implementation, marketing and promotion, and daily operation and property management.   Debbie has prolonged experience in retail leasing, and was in charge of the leasing of Pacific Place at Swire Properties prior to joining the Corporation in 2017.

Debbie holds a Master degree in Marketing from Napier University, Edinburgh, and a Bachelor degree in Surveying from The University of Hong Kong.

Denise Kee
General Manager, Corporate Strategy at MTR

Denise Kee is a seasoned general management professional. Her current job is General Manager - Corporate Strategy at MTR Corporation, and is accountable for the Group’s strategy and has responsibilities over innovation initiatives. Prior to this role, Denise has worked in other management jobs in the field of audit, finance, communication, engineering and project management. Denise possesses degrees in engineering and business administration, is a Certified Internal Auditor and a Chartered Engineer.

Denise has interests over education and development of young people. She enjoys being a mentor, both internally for the MTR Corporation and for undergraduate students for the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She  is also the vice-chair of the Council of Island School, an international co-educational secondary school that is part of the English School Foundation.

Coaches and Mentors

Oko Davaasuren
Regional Director, Techstars

Oko (Full name: Bat-oktyabri Davaasuren, Даваасүрэн овогтoй Бат-октябрь) is an active founder and a community builder. He has cofounded and helps run several startups in Asia. Oko has received a bachelors degree in Finance from Portland State University before continuing onto a masters degree in Engineering Technology Management but decided to return home to Mongolia. He then received his MBA in Mongolia. When he is not working, he can be found on Squash courts or on long-haul Motorbike rides in Asia.

Bosco Leung
Senior Corporate Strategy Manager at MTR

With his current role as the Senior Corporate Strategy Manager, Bosco is leading the development of innovation process in the business and also provides support on strategic decisions of the corporate. He has previously rotated to various divisions in MTR including Operations, Commercial & Marketing and Mainland China & International Business. He was seconded to UK office for 1.5 years before taking up current position.

Bosco is interested in developing a community of innovators in MTR & exploring new collaboration models between corporate & startups. He has organized Global Innovation Exchange and Innovation bootcamp in MTR and he was a mentor in both Hacktrain UK and Hacktrain HK. In his free time, he loves trying something new and explores the natural beauty and serenity of countryside.

Annie Sin
Chief Shopping Centre (East) & Communications Manager at MTR

Annie is a seasoned marketing veteran with expertise across multiple marketing disciplines and with diverse industry experience. Annie first joined MTR Corporation in 2014 to lead the shopping mall marketing and promotion team. Currently she is the Chief Shopping Centre (East) & Communications Manager to oversee the management of six MTR Malls.

Prior to joining MTR, Annie held marketing positions with HKT and Dairy Farm, led and involved in a number of award-winning campaigns. Annie was awarded the Best Presentation Award in 2009 HKMA/TVB Awards for Marketing Excellence.

Eddy Poon
Acting Chief Property Investment and Management Manager at MTR

Eddy has strong retail development experience and is currently the Acting Chief Property Investment and Management Manager of MTR. He now looks after new shopping mall developments of the Corporation including Lohas Park Shopping Mall and Tai Wai Station Shopping Mall. 

Since he joined MTR as a Property Management Trainee, he has took part and led teams at different times responsible for leasing and operations of MTR's shopping mall portfolio including Elements, Telford Plaza, Maritime Square and Beijing Ginza. 

On top of his current role, he also leads to explore innovation and new technology initiatives with an aim to strengthen the overall customer services of the property portfolio.

Matthieu Bodin
Regional Manager for Greater China - Techstars Startup Programs

Firm believer in Startup Weekend’s motto “All Action, No Talk”, Matthieu has been organising these events in Hong Kong since 2012. It aims at creating the perfect context for total strangers to create a startup within 54 hours. 

He is the Regional Manager Greater China for Techstars Startup Programs.
He is co-founding anekdote.co and olea.store

Vivian Lee
Chief Retail Marketing Manager at MTR

Vivian is the Chief Retail Marketing Manager of MTR Corporation overseeing the marketing and promotions for a portfolio of MTR Malls including the flagship luxury mall – Elements.  She is a seasoned marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the transportation, tourism, and retail industry. Prior to the current role, she was the Head of Marketing of Ngong Ping 360.
She holds an MBA from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Bachelor degree in Hotels and Catering Management from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of London.

Guillermo Ginesta

Guillermo has  over 10 years’ experience in Innovation and Digital Transformation. He’s worked with a number of startups as an advisor/consultant and with large corporations and multinationals pushing innovation and driving digital strategies. He currently runs the INFINITI LAB Accelerator program globally. Past experience includes INFINITI Motors, Oregon Scientific, Speedo, Lacoste, Ted Baker, Cosme De Net, as well as sitting on the Board of Directors for the Chilean Chamber of Commerce and being on the Advisory Board of a number of not-for-profit organisations, like AARAMBH India. He has worked with over 50+ startups and is an active Angel Investor. Guillermo has a BSc in Management (hons) and a Masters’ degree, MSc Marketing & Strategy, all from the University of Warwick. When not found working with startups and founders, he can be seen hiking around Hong Kong with his crazy dog.

Dickens Lie
Chief Shopping Centre Manager at MTR

Dickens is currently the Chief Shopping Centre Manager of MTR.  He is now responsible for shopping mall management in West Region, including ELEMENTS, Maritime Square, Luk Yeung Galleria, Ocean Walk, Sun Tuen Mun Shopping Centre and Hanford Plaza.  
He joined MTR for 20 years, apart from shopping centre management role, he also involved in different shopping centre renovation projects, including Telford Plaza, Paradise Mall, The Lane, Luk Yeung Galleria, and Maritime Square 2.  
He is a Full Member of Institute of Shopping Centre Management and holds a Master Degree in Marketing Management from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Suzanne Tam
Chief Retail Marketing Manager, MTR Corporation Ltd.

Suzanne is currently the Chief Retail Marketing Manager of MTR, responsible for shopping mall marketing in East Region, namely Telford Plaza, PopCorn, Paradise Mall, Citylink and Plaza Ascot.  On top of this, she has also been preparing the pre-marketing planning of yet another exciting new mall under the MTR portfolio – the LOHAS Park shopping mall which will be opened in 2020.

She has very strong and solid retail marketing experience for shopping mall near 20 years.   She holds a M.Sc. in International Marketing from University of East London.

Romain Aubert
La French Tech Hong Kong & Shenzhen Manager

Romain currently works for the international team of French Tech Mission, a government-led task force built to bolster the French Tech ecosystem. He used to work as a consultant in Marketing, Business Development, and Finance for startups and also large corporation such as Jaguar Land Rover on innovation ventures.
In his spare time, he enjoys writing about privacy and startups. In a previous life, he worked as an investment analyst for a USD 8 billion investment funds and also had a short career at sea as a skipper.

Jens Wernborg
Co-Founder & Partner

Jens has over 20 years’ experience of doing business in Hong Kong, China and India across a wide range of industries.   He has been passionate about IT since he got his first computer in the mid 80’s. In the 90’s he built websites while at university.   Jens has worked with companies to successfully increase sales, save costs through purchasing and outsourcing, establish local presences, recruit and train staff and use digitalization to improve their productivity since he moved to Hong Kong in 1998 during the Dot-Com era.   Jens is a co-founder of a startup in Hong Kong since 2016, and he is working closely with startups such as Wycore from Sweden and Entersoft Security from India and Australia.   Jens is also the co-director of Startup Grind in Hong Kong.

Andy Li
Chief Architectural and Project Manager at MTR

Andy is the Chief Architectural & Project Manager of MTR Corporation overseeing the design and technical matters of MTR malls. Apart from doing projects in upgrading the existing malls’ facilities, Andy also involves in the design development of the upcoming new mall projects.

Andy joined the Corporation in 2016. Prior to joining MTR, Andy was the Director of Campus Development & Management Office in the University of Macau. He is a seasoned architect, a Full Member of HKIA,  an Authorized Person registered under the Building Ordinance and a BEAM Pro accredited by HKGBC. He holds an Master Degree in Architecture from The University of Hong Kong.

Belinda Esterhammer
Founder, Director & Chairwoman – Springboard Group / NextGen Women Network

Belinda is the founder of Springboard Group, an integrated marketing agency bridging traditional and millennial thinking to drive new and innovative approaches. Prior starting Springboard, she led high-profile marketing campaigns for EY’s female entrepreneur program and worked in marketing across many sectors around the world including time at UNICEF Philippines.

A tech enthusiast with international experience she empowers people to become innovators and entrepreneurs by organizing startup weekends and she is a passionate advocate for female mentoring and founded the NextGen Women Network (NWN), a non-profit mentoring network for high school and university girls in Hong Kong. Belinda holds a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship & Tourism and sits on the committee of TEDxTinHauWomen, Asian University for Women and ICON (formerly APSMA) and is a co-host for #impact.

Michael Au
Senior Manager, Acceleration Programmes, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

Michael is a seasoned business and operation professional. He possesses over 10 years of experience in the ICT field and startup ecosystem, particularly expert in business & revenue modelling and operations optimisation. Michael has previously led teams of brand building, customer acquisition and market expansion, locally and regionally. Steering the Acceleration Programmes, Michael now leads to coach the 20+ high-growth startups in Hong Kong in business development and anchor client building. He is also responsible for spearheading the partner engagement initiative to bring in resources and support, including the new marketing professional panel with top-notch marketing & PR firms. HKSTP’s Acceleration Programmes consists of Leading Enterprises Acceleration Programme (LEAP) and Global Acceleration Academy (GAA), where LEAP is an ultra-tailored programme with one goal in mind - to turn elite startups into regional or global tech giants, and GAA aims to help startups validate their concept and product with leading corporates through HKSTP’s network.

Kentman Chan
Senior Manager, Incubation Programmes, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

Kentman is a technical sales profession.  He is currently the Senior Manager of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, responsible for incubation development and start-ups support.  He believes any technology has always a purpose and love to see its value delivered and influenced to the quality of life. Prior to joining HKSTP, Kentman held a general management position in a Japanese firm to identify industrial technologies and commercialize its application.  In addition, he has been with the top tier Semiconductor equipment suppliers and driving their regional operation in China.  Kentman is familiar with J-SOX compliance and risk assessment.  He held a bachelor degree in Engineering from the Northumbia University of UK, an MBA, and a Master degree in Chinese Business Laws from the Open University of Hong Kong.

Louisa Zhang
Vice President at Vectr Ventures

Louisa is the VP of Growth at Vectr Ventures, a HK based venture capital firm focusing on early stage investing, focusing on portfolio management, business development and growth. Previously as the city launcher for Memebox, a series C e-commerce startup, she has experience working with startups to define go-to-market strategy, growth plans, marketing and operations, as well as team building. Professional web surfer, DIY/arduino fanatic, swimwear designer; with a passion for technology, entrepreneurship, maker tinker.

Sabrina Yang
Chief Operating Officer at NOSH

Hailing from the historical city of Xi’an, Sabrina Yang moved to Hong Kong over a decade ago and began her career as a Management Trainee at The Bank of East Asia. Her drive for continual self-improvement led to her involvement with Launchpilots, a millennial marketing startup, where she headed business development and operations. In 2017 Robin8 acquired Launchpilots. Currently, Sabrina is the COO of NOSH, an Alibaba-funded health and wellness food brand that encourages people to eat smarter through its O2O food concept and nutrition tracking technology. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys cooking, weightlifting and coaching people based on their MBTI personalities.

Giovanna Melfi
Founder & Managing Director, Metamorphosis Biz

Giovanna Melfi is the founder and managing director of Metamorphosis Biz, a
consultancy that transforms businesses into more creative, efficient, adaptable and
profitable versions of themselves.
She specialises in helping companies form talented and dynamic teams, transition
into the digital world and provide an engaging customer journey.
Born in Italy and based in Hong Kong, Giovanna has more than 20 years’
management experience with top luxury brands around the world, such as Marc
Jacobs, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Gucci and Prada.
She holds certificates in Digital Communication from the MIT Sloan School of
Management and in Orchestrating Winning Performance from IMD Business School,
and now serves as vice president of IMD’s Hong Kong alumni club. Passing on her
knowledge, she mentors entrepreneurs through various programmes, such as
Techstars’ StartupWeekend, and speaks at City University’s School of Creative
With a passion for female empowerment, Giovanna has led Girl Guides groups since
she was young, and currently mentors high school students in the Next Generation
Women Network. She is also an executive committee member of the British
Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong’s Women in Business community and is part
of the Hong Kong Mentorship Steering Committee for the Asian University for
When she is not consulting, she is usually found playing tennis, sailing, or enjoying
a perfectly brewed espresso from her favourite café.

Fiona China
Independent Consultant

Fiona has more than 15 years of experience spanning corporate sustainability consulting, building and running a social enterprise, humanitarian project management and other non-profit roles.

She is currently working with various startups and social enterprises to identify business opportunities and improve operate and management efficiency.  

In the past 3 years, Fiona was the Managing Director of MakerBay, the biggest makerspace for innovation and maker education in Hong Kong.

Before she moved back to Hong Kong in Spring 2015, Fiona was a consultant with Environmental Resources Management (ERM) in London, working with the world’s largest corporates to improve sustainability performance. Prior to that, she worked for the Red Cross in various international disaster reconstruction and risk reduction projects, including managing multi-million dollar reconstruction projects in post-tsunami Indonesia and in Sichuan, China after the 2008 earthquake.

Fiona has a MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a Bachelor Degree in Politics and Public Administration from the University of Hong Kong.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The #propUP program team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

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Learn how to get involved here

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