AFF: Cyberport Chairman and Vista Equity Partners’ Robert Smith explore InsurTech opportunities in the Greater Bay Area
The City’s FinTech hub supports Hong Kong in becoming an exporter of cross-border FinTech solutions
Hong Kong, Jan. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As the Asian Financial Forum FinTech partner, Cyberport today hosted a thematic breakout session on the topic of “Acceleration of Digital Transformation: Opportunity in a Changing World for 2021”. Cyberport Chairman Dr. George Lam and Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of leading global investment firm Vista Equity Partners, discussed Asia and Hong Kong’s unique opportunities for InsurTech.
Dr. Lam said, “The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is the region’s largest and best FinTech hub. Given its multiple currencies, tax regimes and regulatory systems but highly integrated and high-growth market, the GBA can and will act as the perfect FinTech lab where entrepreneurs can develop and launch innovative multi-currency and cross-border solutions. Those solutions that succeed could also be replicated smoothly in other regions such as ASEAN, and in emerging economies along the Belt and Road.”
Mr. Smith noted that Asia’s significant addressable market, growing middle class and track record of quick adoption of mobile technology, together with Hong Kong’s status as an international financial hub, will boost the InsurTech industry’s development, especially in the GBA.
The GBA as an ideal FinTech hub
During the Fireside Chat session hosted by Dr. Lam, Mr. Smith shared his insights on Asia’s InsurTech investment in the post-pandemic world. He said Hong Kong’s unique geographic position and its long-term understanding of the global economy make the GBA an attractive investment destination.
“Hong Kong boasts world-class infrastructure, a diverse talent pool, sophisticated financial connectivity, and a gateway to the Greater China market. This, along with the cumulative expertise and experience of Hong Kong’s financial service sector through years of interactions with global market players, make the GBA an extremely attractive destination for tech investment and risk capital, which in turn will help grow Hong Kong’s expanding network of technology-focused companies while spurring innovation in the region. We see significant opportunity to grow Vista’s engagement in these growing ecosystems.”
Dr. Lam added that InsurTech is one of the most vigorous frontiers within FinTech, and that Hong Kong’s InsurTech has become increasingly important over the past few years. Cyberport’s InsurTech start-ups provide diversified solutions across the insurance sector’s supply chain, propelling the industry’s digital transformation and helping society to acclimatise to the new normal.
Eric Chan, Cyberport’s Chief Public Mission Officer, was joined by four Cyberport InsurTech start-ups including 10Life, CoverGo, MediConCen and OneDegree for a panel discussion examining how InsurTech start-ups are surviving, and even thriving, in the new normal.
Cyberport start-ups actively participate in showcasing cutting-edge solutions
The 14th AFF, organised by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, took place on 18 and 19 January. As the region’s largest FinTech cluster, Cyberport has become the Forum’s FinTech partner for the third consecutive year. In addition to the thematic breakout session, Cyberport led 10 start-ups in showcasing cutting-edge FinTech innovations and solutions at the Cyberport Pavilion on the Forum’s virtual platform.
Cyberport actively fosters FinTech development in Hong Kong and houses over 360 FinTech companies and start-ups working in diverse subsectors from virtual banking, virtual insurance, RegTech, WealthTech and e-payment to robo trading, digital assets and more.
Unworn 1985 “Michael Jordan”-Autographed Air Jordan 1s List for $1 Million USD on eBay
Reportedly one of two verified pairs with MJ’s rookie signature.
The shoe, in its original make and colorway, has become scarce in the sneaker world and according to the listing, there is only 15 to 20 deadstock pairs of these Air Jordan 1s in this particular SKU ever made. The pair on eBay is reportedly one of two verified in “pristine condition.” The MJ signature was authenticated by PSA/DNA.
Since the shoe features an “850204 TYPS” label, where the PS stands for the “player sample” it suggests the shoe might have been personally designed for Jordan. The shoes come mismatched, with one size 13 and the other size 13.5. It should be noted that this claim has yet to be confirmed.
With the continual rise in sports memorabilia over the past few months, the pair of shoes could have a chance to “outdo a pair of game-used Jordans that sold for $615,000 USD last year.” Just recently, the Chicago Bulls legend’s rookie card sold for $738,000 USD at auction, so the $1 million USD selling price for the shoe comes as no surprise.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American businessman and former professional basketball player. He is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. His biography on the official NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” He was integral in helping to popularize the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming a global cultural icon in the process.
Jordan played college basketball for three seasons under coach Dean Smith with the North Carolina Tar Heels. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, and quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring while gaining a reputation as one of the game’s best defensive players. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness”. Jordan won his first NBA championship with the Bulls in 1991, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a “three-peat“. Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the 1993–94 NBA season to play Minor League Baseball, but returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three more championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. He retired for a second time in January 1999 but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.
Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the 20th century’s greatest North American athlete by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press‘ list of athletes of the century. Jordan was twice inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, once in 2009 for his individual career and again in 2010 as part of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.
One of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike‘s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam and in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries The Last Dance (2020). He became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats (now named the Hornets) in 2006, and bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. With a net worth of $2.1 billion, he is the fourth-richest African American, behind Robert F. Smith, David Steward, and Oprah Winfrey.
St. Louis startup PercayAI, a biotech company launched in 2019 by private investment firm Kingdom Capital, has formed a research partnership with Saint Louis University.
The partnership will provide SLU biomedical sciences researchers with access to PercayAI’s augmented intelligence drug discovery platform, officials said. The startup said it will have its computational biologists and machine learning engineers help train SLU faculty and students on how to use its software platform and incorporate it for current research projects.
PercayAI’s CompBio software is aimed at speeding up drug discovery, using contextual language processing and machine learning to help scientists better analyze biological data. It was developed through collaboration with the Genome Technology Access Center at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University’s medical school.
Chief Commercial Officer Preston Keller said that it’s been important for PercayAI, which is based in Cortex in Midtown, to engage with both Washington University and SLU.
“Having two bookend universities that are premier research universities in the region and supporting the region has been extremely important to us,” said Keller. “Now we have the platform being used on both bookends of the Cortex district.”
At SLU, PercayAI’s software has already been used to aid with research focused on rare diseases, the biotech company said.
“The early results from our collaboration with PercayAI are very encouraging,” said Fran Sverdrup, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at SLU. “With the help of their AI platform, we were able to uncover new relationships in our data sets that led to new potential drug targets. We are excited to follow-up on these new leads and expand the use of their technology to help advance our drug discovery efforts in the rare disease space.”
PercayAI said its software is used at several universities globally, but that it is oftentimes deployed by particular professors or principal investigators at those institutions.
“SLU is unique in that, like WashU, the entire university has adopted the platform,” Keller said.
In addition to expanding in the academic market, Keller said PercayAI has several pilots currently within the pharmaceutical sector. It is also considering expanding the use of its software to new markets.
“Our platform was created initially for the life sciences and drug discovery market. But ostensibly, it’s a new way to organize and query information and a new way of doing machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Keller said. “We’re actively exploring other areas and adjacencies where we leverage the software, in areas such as health care fraud, waste and abuse, and other health care applications.”
PercayAI, which has about 10 full-time-equivalent employees and consultants, is wholly owned by Kingdom Capital. Founded in 2016 by World Wide Technology Chairman David Steward and Brandon Mann, St. Louis-based Kingdom Capital focuses on early-stage investments in technology and health care.
Dangote’s US$2.5 billion West Africa’s largest fertilizer plant to commence operations in Q1 2021.
Dangote Fertilizer Plant, the US$2.5 billion plant owned by Africa’s riches man Aliko Dangote, looks set to commence operation in the first quarter of 2021.
The Urea Fertilizer plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertilizer, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.
Nairametrics reported last year that the plant will be opened early in 2021 producing Granulated urea fertilizer plant. The plant capacity is also expected to be expanded to produce multiple grades of fertilizers to meet soil, crop and climate-specific requirement for the African continent, as Fertilizer is essential for agribusiness in Africa.
The opening of the fertilizer plant has been pushed back severally for several reasons such as access to forex, the ailing economy and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
The newly completed fertilizer complex, located at the Lekki Free Zone (LFZ), in Lagos State.
Why this matters
The Fertilizer plant is expected to manufacture 3 million metric tonnes of urea per annum, with core focus on the reduction of Nigeria’s fertilizer imports, and US$400m annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.
- According to Dangote Group, “the coming on stream of the plant will not only boost food sufficiency in Nigeria, but also make Africa self-sufficient in food production and a net exporter of food to the world.”
- The fertilizer plant will also compete with Notore Petrochemicals a 500,000 metric tonne Urea Plant in Onne, Rivers State, Nigeria.