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 10 May.
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
As an angel investor for over 18 years, Simon is dedicated to bringing ideas to life and helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Hong Kong achieve their dreams. As founder of multi award-winning, globally respected creative agency, fluid, Simon worked with an impressive list of clients and partner brands including Estée Lauder China, Fortune, CNN, Wall Street Journal Asia, Li & Fung, Citibank China and Starbucks. As CEO of Nest Investments, 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.
Shaun Cunningham, Senior Associate
Shaun has worked with over 15 start-ups in Sydney, London and now Hong Kong, with a particular focus on the luxury, property, lifestyle and travel industries. He has previously led the strategy department of a marketing agency and the corporate strategy department of a multinational property group. Shaun is responsible for developing and implementing business and marketing strategy for NEST’s portfolio of companies. He has a Graduate Diploma of Marketing Communications and a BA in Communications from Charles Sturt University. He is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the China-Britain Business Council and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.
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, CIO
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.
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.
Peter Brack, Board Advisor
Peter is an entrepreneur and investor with a 20-year track record in media and global markets. As co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Redgate Media Group, he led the company through more than 10 acquisitions in China and through several rounds of private and public capital raising, merging with a public company on the HK Stock Exchange in 2012. Peter also co-founded and was CEO of One Media Group, a leading Chinese-language lifestyle and entertainment magazine conglomerate which listed on the HK Stock Exchange in 2005. Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, he was a senior executive at Time Warner. Peter serves on several internet and mobile-related boards and advisory boards, and is an active private equity and early stage venture investor.
Diana David, Board Advisor
Diana is the Financial Times’ Regional Corporate Development Director for Asia Pacific, responsible for identifying and developing new revenue generating opportunities across education, advertising and content. A commercial entrepreneur at heart, Diana launched and sold her own retail venture prior to working at the FT. At the Pacific Group in Hong Kong, she managed venture investments in new media, telecoms and retail across Asia. Earlier in her career, she worked as a management consultant for PwC on strategy and began her career as an assistant to Dr. Henry Kissinger at Kissinger Associates in New York. Diana holds an MBA from Columbia University, and is the recipient of a prestigious Luce Scholarship. She is the author of the Hong Kong ABC Children’s Book, dedicating all proceeds to benefit the Room-to-Read charity.
Luca Deplano, Board Advisor
Luca brings over 15 years of experience in branding, marketing, as well as business development of luxury brands in a variety of industries, both in Asia and Europe, having worked for luxury goods brands such as Prada, Furla and Cerruti 1881, for American Express in the premium financial services space, where he spent 6 years managing the Centurion Card international strategy, and most recently in the luxury hospitality sector with brands such as Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, where he is currently the Vice President of Brand Communications, in charge of the overall group brands’ portfolio.
Luca holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Bologna University, Italy, where he majored in Marketing and Finance.
Bernard Chan, Board Advisor
Bernard is a prominent politician and businessman. He is currently a Hong Kong Deputy to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, a member of the Executive Council, and was previously a member of the Legislative Council. Bernard is also the President of both Asia Financial Holdings and Asia Insurance. In 2006, he led the sale of Asia Commercial Bank at the highest ever multiple for a bank of that size in Hong Kong. Among other business successes, Bernard is the founding Chairman of the Bank Consortium Trust that today has US$2 billion of funds under management. Bernard is excited to harness his financial and political experience to help local entrepreneurs succeed.
Jessica Cheung, Associate
Jessica was first captivated by the start-up world through her exposure to the London scene, and joins NEST with the ambition of raising the profile of Hong Kong into becoming a major international start-up hub. Jessica was formerly part of the Digital and Media Marketing team at Jamie Oliver Ltd. in London, working closely with the team on their first product launch in China. Prior to Jamie Oliver Ltd., Jessica worked at Founders’ Forum in London, a company connecting high profile entrepreneurs globally, having previously hosted Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, and a range of Silicon Valley veterans. At Founders’ Forum Jessica focused on launching and then growing their philanthropic arm, ‘Founders Forum for Good’, culminating in a 500-strong event in June 2013. Jessica joins NEST as a graduate of University College London.
nest and ivey business school host first joint pitch day
March 8, 2014 - Ivey Asia and NEST have partnered to launch an exciting initiative – an Ivey Pitch Day – to support and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Asia. In a scene the closely resembled the hit shows Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank in the UK and US respectively, Ivey Executive MBA students and Alumni were given 30 minutes to convince a panel of investors that they and their businesses are worth time, mentorship and money investment.
Hosted at the Ivey Asia Campus, 11 groups of entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to NEST, Hong Kong’s pre-eminent startup incubator. All the founders were subjected to an intensive question and answer session by the panel, which helped many founders to refine their ideas. Business ideas ranged from fraud prevention technology to a line of equipment that would allow smartphones to produce professional quality videography.
executive councillor regina ip talks start ups with nest
February 27, 2014 - Hong Kong executive councillor Regina Ip visited the NEST incubation lab yesterday. A key ‘mover and shaker’ in the HK government, her visit indicates increasing interest by the government to support and foster the start up community. Having helped countless start ups get off the ground, initiatives like Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science Parks have been an impressive step in the right direction. Now, we are ready for collaboration between private and public institutions to support the start up economy in order for Hong Kong to pull ahead in the increasingly competitive Asia landscape.
gregory so, secretary of commerce visits nest
February 12, 2014 - We welcomed Mr. Gregory So, Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development to our incubation lab yesterday. It was a great chance to be able to introduce NEST and our incubated startups to the Secretary and the team from InvestHK. We were excited to brainstorm the ways in which the government can help HK talent and start ups so we don’t lose them to Silicon Valley. We look forward to working with and gaining support from the government to ensure great companies continue to start up and thrive in our city!
Source: Bloomberg TV
bloomberg invites ceo simon squibb to talk about hong kong being the best city to start a company
NEST CEO Simon Squibb had a live interview with Bloomberg TV with Rishaad Salamat on ‘On the Move Asia’, talking about why Hong Kong has topped a poll as the best place in the world to do business.
Simon points out that Hong Kong itself was built on an entrepreneurial spirit, and its trend-setter status makes it a very vibrant and exciting place to live. See why Simon thinks Hong Kong is perfectly poised for disruption and more on how NEST operates and supports new HK businesses and start-ups.
asia-based ivey mba graduates get a chance to get angel funding from nest!
January 21, 2014 - It’s a new year and we have a very exciting new initiative in store for promising entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and beyond. NEST has confirmed a joint initiative with the prestigious Ivey Business School: a chance for students and alumni to attend an exclusive Ivey Pitch Day. Asia-based Ivey MBA graduates will not only get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of experienced investors, they will also be able to leverage the knowledge in the room during the subsequent intensive question and answer session. Ivey Business School was the first international business school to establish a permanent campus here in Asia. We are very excited to be working with Ivey to further NEST’s greater vision of creating a start up ecosystem for founders and start ups in Hong Kong and Asia.
doug richard of dragons’ den fame visits us at nest!
December 6th, 2013 – Doug Richard, a dragon from Dragons’ Den and founder of “School For Startups” in London, visits the NEST incubation centre NEST and meets the crew. Doug chats to our founders, startups and even pays a surprise visit to the class at the NEST x GA Startup Bootcamp.
After seeing us in action and attending InvestHK’s StartMeUpHK December week, Doug agrees that HK has all the ingredients needed to be the next big startup hub. We couldn’t agree more!
nest x general assembly start up bootcamp a great success!
December 6th, 2013 – 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 snapped up in just a week. 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.
November 26th, 2013 – 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
November 22nd, 2013 – 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!
September 10th, 2013 – 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