“As Macau is a Portuguese-speaking city, I believe it is very important to maintain this tradition, and we hope to help Portuguese-speaking startups better understand the Chinese and Asian markets,” said Beyond Expo co-founder Jason Ho Kin Tung.
The fair’s programme, which runs from May 10 to 12, includes the second edition of the Brazil-Portugal Innovation Company Roadshow on Thursday. Beyond Expo will feature “at least 60 major venture capital funds,” including Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, for which Portuguese-speaking countries are still “somewhat under the radar,” according to Jason Ho.
Despite acknowledging that “there will be a learning period,” the businessman believes that several large Chinese financial groups will be able to invest in startups as a first step to enter the Portuguese and Brazilian markets. Jason Ho also praised “the spirit of adventure” of the startups that try, through Macau, to make the leap to China, “a huge market with a lot of potential, but also with enormous competition.”
Four of the ten startups were distinguished in innovation and entrepreneurship competitions organised in Macau for technology companies from Portugal and Brazil. They include Biosolvit, a Luso-Brazilian biotechnology company in the area of environmental protection that won the first edition of the competition in 2021.
Two other companies distinguished in 2021 will participate: the Brazilian Bioo, which develops health solutions for diabetics, and Pocket Clinic, which wants to develop an intelligent syringe for chronic diseases that require continuous injection of medication. The list also includes the winner of the second edition of the competition in 2022, the Portuguese Virtuleap, which combines neuroscience and virtual reality to help increase levels of attention, in the treatment of cognitive diseases and to delay the onset of cognitive decline.
After two editions of Beyond Expo limited by the pandemic, Jason Ho said that it was not possible to invite more startups because Macau opened its borders to all foreigners “so suddenly” on January 5th. The organiser hopes that in 2024, he can count on more projects from Portuguese-speaking countries in addition to Portugal and Brazil, markets where “the ecosystem for startups is already more mature.”
More than 600 companies will participate in the fair this year, but Jason Ho has a greater ambition: “By 2026, we want that, when the world wants to know about technological innovation in Asia, it will come to Beyond Expo.”