NEST is a hands-on investment incubator focusing on scalable consumer businesses in the lifestyle space. Our vision is to develop Hong Kong as a global hub in the fields of entrepreneurship and creativity to enable start-up businesses to thrive.
NEST invests in the people as much as the business concepts and empowers each team with the tools they require to achieve global success with their business.
We organise the unstructured world of start-up investing into a strategic hands-on investment business led by experienced entrepreneurs with a proven track record. In addition to capital we provide a full-service ecosystem including technology, infrastructure and practical help to build solid business foundations that give our entrepreneurs the freedom to innovate.
The unique combination of skills and experience that exist across the NEST team are specifically suited to support early-stage investment and meet the demands of the current environment.
WHERE WE INVEST
NEST’s target investments are typically seed or start-up phase companies (6-18 months old) consisting of an owner or founder and between 3 and 8 employees. They generally have a consumer focus with a disruptive concept, are headquartered in Hong Kong and have rapid scalable growth projections.
We want to get under the skin of the businesses we invest in be able to support them on a day-to-day basis – so if we don’t think we can help, we don’t get involved.
Are you an entrepreneur with an exceptional start-up, looking to make your mark in Hong Kong? Take your business to the NEST level and apply to NEST’s next Pitch Day on Saturday 25 January.
how it works
You’ll have 15 minutes to present your business to the NEST team before moving into 30 minutes Q&A.
If we like your pitch, and want to invest, we’ll provide you and your business with up to HK$500,000 in capital as well as mentorship, office space, know-how and hands-on support.
what type of companies can apply?
Anything from pure concepts through to established companies with significant revenues are welcome to apply. NEST is aiming to apply its diverse range of management skills to all our investments, and help them on the path to success.
how to apply
To apply, download and complete our application form and send it back to us. We review every application but only invite the entrepreneurs with the idea that we feel best fits within our ecosystem to present on our pitch day. Remember to tell us lots about yourself as well as your business idea – we’re investing in you too!
Simon Squibb, CEO
An angel investor for over 18 years with in-depth knowledge of marketing, branding and digital strategy, Simon is dedicated to bringing ideas to life and helping the next generation of entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. Previously as CEO of creative agency fluid for over a decade, Simon transformed the Hong Kong based branding and marketing boutique into an award-winning, globally respected agency with a diverse list of clients and partner brands including Estée Lauder China, Fortune, CNN, Wall Street Journal Asia, Li & Fung, Citibank China and Starbucks. At NEST, Simon leverages his extensive network and experience to mentor and develop Hong Kong based start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Lawrence Morgan, COO
Both as an entrepreneur and start-up investor, Lawrence has built businesses across a range of sectors including property, F&B, marketing, publishing and manufacturing. Lawrence is driven by helping companies achieve rapid growth, through his entrepreneurial experience and hands on involvement in their progress. Specifically, Lawrence focuses on strategic planning, business development, legal and risk management. He is committed and passionate about taking start-ups to the next level, and his renowned attention to detail and ‘structured logic’ approach has led him to become a well established investor and entrepreneur in Hong Kong.
Zoe Belhomme, Marketing Manager
After completing a BA in Business Management in the United Kingdom, Zoe began her career at a top public relations agency in London helping likes of Alibaba, E.ON Energy and UK supermarket chain Waitrose communicate effectively to predominantly ‘B2B’ audiences. In 2011, Zoe relocated to Hong Kong to bring her communication expertise and marketing savvy to the luxury lifestyle industry. Excelling in creative writing and crafting campaigns that truly engage, Zoe is now responsible for bringing NEST, and the businesses it supports, to the forefront of enterprise in Asia.
Sukey Ng, Pitch Day Manager
Sukey graduated with a degree in Marketing and Management before beginning her career as a financial advisor in Hong Kong. Since moving to the NEST team in 2012 she has built up a comprehensive network of contacts and is a highly regarded member of the team. As Pitch Day Manager her role involves liaising closely with investors and candidates and managing the time critical process. Sukey has proven she is a highly efficient problem solver and a source of knowledge about the HK start-up community.
Helen Griffiths, Partner
Helen’s expertise for understanding, creating and communicating a brand’s visual identity has led her to the role of brand guardian on numerous occasions as creative director, and co-founder of fluid creative agency. While some focus on the bigger picture, Helen boasts a sharp eye for detail, meticulously planning and perfecting all aspects of a brand from concept through to execution. Helen’s work at NEST centres on fine-tuning all creative elements of a concept, ensuring each project achieves its full potential.
Jeremy Fearnley, Board Advisor
Jeremy is Head of M&A at KPMG for Hong Kong and Southern China. He focuses on helping multinational clients on their entry and exit strategies in Greater China, including local companies seeking early stage investment, growth capital or buyout financing. He has extensive experience working with management teams and investors in the production and assessment of business plans and financial models. Increasingly he likes to focus on early stage entrepreneurial businesses, assisting them to scale prior to exit.
Jennifer Carver, Partner
Jennifer has over 25 years of experience in asset management, investment advisory and technology in HK. Her technology experience includes strategy for Chinadotcom among other technology firms. A serial entrepreneur, she has launched, managed and sold an investment advisory firm and fund of hedge funds. In 2005, she was named one of the finalists for The HK Business Woman of the Year award and currently sits on numerous technology and investment company boards.
Olivier Legrand, Board Advisor
As LinkedIn’s current Head of Marketing Solutions, Asia-Pacific and Japan, Olivier brings a wealth of experience to NEST in the online marketing space.
Previously at Dow Jones, he served as Director of Marketing in Asia for The Wall Street Journal Asia, driving marketing and advertising initiatives across both print and online platforms. Prior to Dow Jones, he founded Creasia Marketing House, a marketing and digital production agency in Hong Kong and served as its Chief Executive Officer.
James Yao, Board Advisor
James has over 20 years of experience working in private equity, venture capital and technology in locations including Silicon Valley, Beijing, Taipei and Hong Kong. James’ career highlights include being a Managing Partner of Advantage Resources Group, a business focusing on sustainable investments in Greater China, Founder and Managing Partner of AsiaTech Ventures, a leading technology venture firm in Hong Kong, and Managing Director in Greater China for Banyan Systems, a leading US network software company.
Derek Callow, Board Advisor
Derek joined Google in March 2006 and following 7 years as Head of Marketing for Southeast Asia, he is currently serving as Director & Global Head of Partner Marketing for YouTube. Prior to Google, he was a senior consultant with Accenture, responsible for CRM and strategy related project delivery within the telecommunications and financial services sectors. Previous to Accenture, Derek was a consultant in Ogilvy & Mather’s CRM and marketing strategy unit in Hong Kong. With Ogilvy, he was responsible for strategy development in the travel, financial services, logistics and technology sectors.
Anthony Au, Board Advisor
Anthony’s career has stretched close to 40 years across Asia and Canada, specialising in international executive search. Over an extensive tenure spanning a variety of industries, he has leveraged the strong relationships he has established across the region. Anthony also founded 2030Rx, an internet-based, automated matching system specifically designed for recruitment companies.
Jacob Fisch, Board Advisor
Jake has held the position of Director of Corporate Development for the Li & Fung Group, where he focused primarily on sourcing and executing M&A transactions for the Group’s private and publicly listed companies. Jake was previously Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Li & Fung Limited and has been a corporate attorney at leading international law firms in Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York. Jake first lived in China in 1992 and reads and speaks fluent Mandarin.
Will Ross, Board Advisor
Will is the Asia-Pacific Head of Collaboration and Global Priority Clients for HSBC Private Bank. He is responsible for identifying and delivering the full breadth of HSBC’s capabilities in meeting clients’ personal and corporate banking needs. Will previously held various roles across investment banking, including Head of Commercial Origination and Head of the Financing Solutions Group, Asia-Pacific as well as a broader role in Global Markets as Co-Head of Islamic Finance. Prior to joining HSBC, Will worked at RBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Will brings to NEST a wealth of experience in advising companies on capital-raising, and shares a passion for helping businesses and budding entrepreneurs achieve their ambitions.
Guy Parsonage, Board Advisor
Guy is the CEO of fluid, an insight-driven creative agency based in Hong Kong. With a long-established client network and proven track record in growing agency businesses across Asia, Guy’s expertise at fluid is focused on developing the award-winning research and strategy that underpins all creative and branding solutions. Prior to joining fluid, Guy was Hong Kong Managing Director of Jack Morton Worldwide, a global brand experience agency, part of the Interpublic Group. In this role Guy grew the Jack Morton agency from a Hong Kong base to a regional network with offices across China & Singapore, winning high profile clients throughout the Asia region. Guy is an eighth generation entrepreneur, and has long enjoyed helping start-ups scale their businesses through his mentorship in marketing and sales.
nest x general assembly start up bootcamp a great success!
The first ever 5 Day Start Up Bootcamp organised by NEST in partnership with General Assembly has taken off to a great start in its first year.
Tickets to the course were sold out in just a week. The students cleared their schedules to attend this week-long course – with some even taking leave from work – proving the demand in Hong Kong for education tailored especially for entrepreneurs.
All the students brought real start up ideas to the class and have left armed with the tools they need to build a robust business plan and deck to pitch to real investors at NEST’s Pitch Day tomorrow.
The instructor from GA, Claire Vo, proved herself capable and inspiring, and was able to keep the momentum going and spirits high all week. Many students have commented on how they have pivoted their initial ideas after taking in the class material and through highly engaging class discussions.
NEST is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed and build scalable businesses in Hong Kong and beyond. Watch this space for our next educational project.
NEST is proud to be supporting the Hong Kong start up community and be a part of the growing ecosystem in this city. We are keen to empower entrepreneurs with the essential business skills and training that they need to succeed.
The Start Up MBA Bootcamp culminates in a chance to win real investment and support from angel investors and partners at NEST’s Pitch Day, which means that in just one week, students can turn an idea into an executable, fundable start up.
Day 1 – Introduction to Product Design and Development
Day 2 – UX Design Basics: Wireframing & Storyboarding
Day 3 – Testing and Validating Ideas: MVP Philosophy
Day 4 – Financial Modeling
Day 5 – Communicating with Stakeholders
For more information & bookings, visit General Assembly
nest and tie host their first joint pitch day
TiE and NEST hosted their first joint Pitch Day in October, where TiE companies were given the chance to win a $500,000 investment in capital as well as mentorship, office space and hands on support from NEST. We heard some great pitches from some amazing founders, which was followed by a chance to enjoy some cheese and wine over chats with some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in the city. There was no better way to spend a Wednesday evening!
TiE has been working for over ten years to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, and education. It is dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community.
nest causes a stir at techcrunch disrupt with new food photography app!
The NEST team has enjoyed tremendous success during its recent trip to world’s leading tech event, TechCrunch Disrupt, in San Francisco. NEST supported local Hong Kong start-up Tap Tap Play as it introduced its innovative app concept to die hard tech fans and Silicon Valley’s most prolific investors. The app, named FoodieQuest, is currently at a prototype stage and will deliver a social gaming experience that capitalises on Asia’s booming food photography craze. It will also be a strong social platform for people all over the world to browse, share and compete with one another in the quest to discover and challenge for the world’s No.1 food photo.
After appearing at the event’s Start-Up Alley, the app immediately grabbed the attention of tech industry experts as well as US investors who believe the idea could be a global success. This is fantastic news for the NEST team who are passionate about making Hong Kong a hub for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship!
For NEST, TechCrunch Disrupt was about promoting a Hong Kong start-ups and getting them noticed and respected on an international stage. By the looks of this coverage our work seems to have paid off!
info/nation appoints shawn hiltz as ceo
NEST’s incubator business, INFO/NATION, has appointed Shawn Hiltz as its new CEO. Shawn brings a wealth of knowledge after serving more than 23 years with various organisations in North America, Europe and Asia, including The Walt Disney Company and News Corporation. For the past three and a half years, he served as Dow Jones & Company’s Vice President of Marketing, Asia-Pacific.
“Shawn is a business strategist with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for disrupting classical thinking, which is a rare and precious combination” said Simon Squibb, CEO of NEST and INFO/NATION shareholder.
“We invest in people as much as business concepts and our shareholders have unanimously selected Shawn as the leader who will extend our proven track record of intelligence-led marketing and advance the business in new and innovative ways.”
Born in Canada, Shawn has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. Following 12 years in the U.S., he relocated to Paris, France where he spent over four years with Euro Disney SAS.
why hong kong?
Starting a new business in Asia can be a daunting process for entrepreneurs but it can reap great rewards. Simon Squibb, CEO of NEST highlights 7 reasons why Hong Kong is the ideal platform for start-ups to develop and succeed.
1. It’s a trendsetter! Hong Kong sets trends acts as a regional showcase for brands in Asia.
2. Market Diversity. A unique blend of East and West culture and language positions appeal to a global market
3. Entrepreneurial Spirit. A city known to take risk and innovate with deep roots in entrepreneurship
4. Proximity to China. Easy access to China’s consumer market as well as engineering and manufacturing resources
5. International Talent Pool. A proven breeding ground for seasoned and successful executives
6. Financial Centre. Access to global financial markets
7. Legal System. An established and effective rule of law