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Gene Soo

Co-Founder, StartupsHK

"Reaching the final is the success of any team, whether or not they win a prize. For the start-up, the most important thing is having the opportunity to talk about their products, especially in front of potential investors".


Q: Who are you and what do you do? 

A: Gene Soo is the cofounder of StartupsGBA, the pioneer startup ecosystem builder of Hong Kong. He started his career as a firmware engineer with SanDisk in Silicon Valley in 2003. In 2005-2007, Gene was a management consultant at Accenture (US) focused on Customer Experience Strategy. Since returning to Hong Kong in 2009, Gene has been fully engaged in startups having cofounded StartupsHK, Hong Kong’s pioneer startup community, and also launched startups in the tech and fashion space. Gene has been instrumental in driving the startup and innovation movement in Hong Kong and APAC region as he helped award winning startups such as Citymapper, the Ultimate Transport App, launch into Hong Kong and Australia. In 2018, Gene cofounded Dimsum Ventures, a PropTech Venture Capital fund. Gene is constantly engaged in dialogue involving Smart City, Proptech, Mobility and Retail Tech. Gene received his BS and MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University as well as MBA from Columbia University.


Q: Can you say something to encourage The startups?

A: Yes for sure. Having built several startups and also brought startups from overseas to Asia, here’s what I would say: 

Startup life is not easy, so build products that people love but most importantly build products that you love. Life is too short to be building things you don’t love. 


Q: Can you share some tips to winning award in a startup competition?

A: At startups, we often think about technology. Technology actually only plays a small part, I’d say perhaps around 10%. Focus on the experience and how people would feel when they use your service. Focus on creating the “Aha” moment and really think hard how to create it. That’s all that matters. 


StartupsHK was founded in 2009 by Casey Lau, Jon Buford, Gene Soo and Daniel Cheng to help grow the startup community in Hong Kong. The mission of StartupsHK is to drive awareness to startups and entrepreneurs through conferences, networking events and its web platform with the main goal of sharing startup knowledge and connecting different parties in the startup ecosystem.

Gene Soo is a serial entrepreneur and has launched businesses in tech and fashion space. He is a computer engineer by training and has worked in Silicon Valley as an engineer at SanDisk and also at Accenture as a management consultant. Since returning to Hong Kong in 2009, Gene has worked at a family office and also at 6waves as a Business Development Director. Besides having co-founded StartupsHK, Gene also co-founded StyleNearby, a mobile platform for showcasing designs in a city and is also the director of S.Nine by Susanna Soo, a womenswear fashion label. Gene is currently the General Manager of Hong Kong of Citymapper, an award-winning journey planning app.

Gene has been active in pushing for a better startup ecosystem in Hong Kong and has been involved in technology, mobile, gaming and fashion start-ups space. Gene received his BS and MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University as well as a MBA from Columbia University.

Other Mentors

The mentors team, the jury are experts at home and abroad.

Dash Badcock
Head of Android Partnerships Southeast Asia
Dash Badcock is currently Head of Android Platform Partnerships for Southeast Asia at Google, based in Singapore. His team is responsible for partnerships with Mobile Carriers, OEMs, Retailers, Broadband ISPs and Pay TV Operators with the objective of nurturing and developing the Android ecosystem, as well as the various Google services available on the Android platform. He has been at Google since 2007, and has spent most of his time in Singapore working in various Partnerships roles across Google Advertising, Maps, Chrome & Search. Dash is originally from London, UK and graduated from Oxford University with a Masters degree in Electrical & Civil Engineering.
Vu Minh Tri
CEO, VNG Cloud
"VNG CLOUD has successfully built cloud computing serving hundreds of million clients owned by Vietnamese engineers. We want to bring these technologies in service for companies that are in the digital transformation process in Vietnam"
Cao Anh Son
General Director, Viettel Telecom
Viettel Advanced Solutions track 2019 creates a premise to expand not only in the markets that Viettel invests but will become an annual program to search for ideas, products and talents of startups around the world.
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