Student Startups
Student Entrepreneurs
Starting a new business is never an easy task for anyone. Yet, these entrepreneurial and innovative students overcame numerous challenges to create their own Student Startups. Their stories are the personification of HKUST’s “Can-do Spirit”.
 
Nucleo, an award-winning e-platform for secure digital coupon and ticket transaction
 “They promote your business to Blockchain-level securely, instantly and sustainably.” Jeff Hu (Computer Science and Engineering, UG, Year 4) Co-Founder
The Neon Network is a Blockchain-reinforced project founded by two HKUST computer science students: Lee Ting-Ting (Tina) and Hu Yao-Chieh (Jeff), The project is supervised by Professor Hui Pan and Dimitris Chatzopoulos. The idea sparked half years ago when everything started with a simple Blockchain application solving digital coupon fraud.
 
As the project gradually gaining attention, these students formed a startup, Nucleo, as the founder team, where Tina be the CTO and I be the CEO. Through the development growth of the project, they firstly won the second place at the Up-Town E-commerce Challenge and they're sponsored to visit several top-notch e-commerce firms in Seoul, South Korea. At the end of the trip, they delivered the executive plan of our startup in a form of an elevator pitch to several Venture Capitals in Seoul and gained insightful feedbacks from them.

The project evolved faster and stronger by receiving effective inputs from the public and markets. Thereafter, they received recognition from Et Net by Gold Prize in FinTech Award 2017. For the development, they gradually switched their solution target from digital coupon to expensive ticket selling (e.g. concerts, sports games), which have larger and clearer market demands. Invited as the speakers at the Blockchain Technology Conference, they shared the execution with a group of important audiences from various leading positions in the industries. They acquired lots of great inputs from the audiences and other speakers and also built up the network with them for future collaboration.
The project is still on its way. They are confident that the realization of it can create crucial benefits for the community.
 
Void, an award-winning app for helping users reduce psychological pressure
Hercules Chan(Risk Management and Business Intelligence, UG, Year 4) Co-Founder

After Hercules start learning hypnotherapy, he realized there is a lot of people in Hong Kong who have mental health needs. Therefore, it comes to the idea of my current startup, Void, a self-helping mobile application providing mental health service which users can access anytime anywhere.
 


Everything is hard when Hercules first execute the idea of Void. However, the most frustrating part is on the team. He overlooked the importance of the team in the beginning. And he suffered a lot in the first year of startup journey. There are lots of things which they need to consider when they are talking about a startup business partnership, personality, skills match, aversion to risk, vision, to name but a few. Hercules genuinely encourages "startup" beginners picking your partner carefully, which is easier said than done. So just spend some time working with each other without promising too much. Fortunately, he survived that mess and still able to keep going right now. He always believes on as long as they are still able to keep going, there is always a chance for our success.

Nysus, a research company that provides universally accessible AI technologies (The leader of Organizing Committee for hackUST & hardUST 2018)
Isaac To (Engineering, UG, Year 1) Co-Founder
Unorthodox’ has always been the word others use to describe me. From co-founding my alma mater’s robotics team to joining Xiaomi’s advisory team as their youngest member.
Their journey began in the Global Product Development course. Their international team members from Hong Kong, Beijing and Korea developed a hardware product which is a voice-based AI companion for the elderly that is a psychologist in disguise. This team was really thrilled with what they are able to accomplish in 3 months and wanted to continue the project in the form of a startup. But after our evaluation, they concluded that a hardware startup would be too risky. They got to thinking, what can they do with the technology that they had? They came to the epiphany that the popular field that is AI was an oligopoly. At the same time, it was a laborious task for engineers to learn and apply AI. They firmly believe that for AI to truly work for the public good, the core technologies have to be distributed widely. Hence, they set out on a mission to lower the barrier to learning and applying AI, and they hope that eventually, AI will be barrier-free for anyone who wants to build and adapt it.
 

 
A lot of what Isaac has been able to achieve and experience so far can be attributed to two factors. The first is working with extremely talented teams. Be it the robotics team back in high school, or the team working towards creating barrier-free AI, a lofty yet achievable goal. He is extremely grateful to the talented individuals who have strived to achieve ambitious goals together and challenged him on an intellectual level. The second factor is the support from my alma mater, a place where he spent 12 years of his life in and helped him become who he is today. Without their support, Isaac wouldn’t have had the opportunity to compete at an international level, let alone competing in 4 different continents in 5 years.
Isaac is extremely fortunate to have the aforementioned parties support him along the way and in turn, he would love to inspire others and give back to the communities that he cares deeply about, which is why he has agreed to lead and organize hackUST & hardUST 2018. Isaac believes that hackUST & hardUST has the potential to become a hackathon with international stature. Which is why at hackUST & hardUST 2018, they are extra committed to 3 things. Technical complexity, hacker experience, and international exposure. Technical complexity & hacker experience: Hackathons are a festival, not a competition. But they would love to see every hacker compete against themselves, to push themselves out of their comfort zone. Which is why this year, hackers at hackUST & hardUST will have access to Tianhe-2, the world’s second fastest supercomputer. They hope that hackers can elevate their hacks and create something that will surprise everyone including themselves.
International exposure: For the first time, ever hackUST & hardUST 2018 is providing travel allowances to hackers studying outside of Hong Kong. They hope that through this experience, you can work with some of the most talented students from outside Hong Kong, and create life-long connections that may be beneficial to you in the future.
 
“To inspire life and be inspired by life” is a motto that is embedded in my heart and a trait that good professionals possess as presented in my TEDx talk. I sincerely hope that more people can create things that matter, create things that solve problems and to inspire others to do the same.” Said by Isaac To (Engineering, UG, Year 1)
 
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