HKUST Launches Redbird Innovation Fund

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) today announced the launch of HKUST Redbird Innovation Fund (RIF), a HK$500 million initative to create multiple Venture Investment Fund (VIFs) worth HK$2 billion in collaboration with investment partners, to support HKUST start-ups.

HKUST committed HK$200 million as the first tranche of RIF and is now inviting investment managers to match and co-establish multiple venture investment funds (VIFs) in support of the HKUST start-up ecosystem, covering companies from the early stage to the scaling phase in key deep tech domains such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors and robotics, new materials, energy and sustainability, biomedical and healthcare.

One of the RIF’s core objectives is to support start-ups established by HKUST staff, students and alumni, and companies that commercialize HKUST intellectual properties or are incubated by HKUST. It will play a pivotal role in strengthening the University’s status as a nurturing ground for the most innovative, advanced and creative enterprises worldwide. A management board comprising HKUST members will be set up to devise investment strategies and the fund’s application criteria with selected fund managers.

HKUST has continuously demonstrated strong leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship development, ranking No. 1 in China under the patent influence metric of the Nature Index in 2022, and No. 2 in China for deep tech unicorns incubation capability by New Fortune in 2022. Nearly one third of HKUST’s patents were utilized by third parties as of early 2024, a very high proportion in line with that of top global research institutions.

Officiating guests at the RIF launch ceremony today include HKUST Treasurer and Council member Mr. Stephen YIU Kin-Wah, Council members Ms. Edith SHIH, HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Tim CHENG, HKUST Associate Vice-President for Research and Development (Knowledge Transfer) Dr. KIM Shin-Cheul and other HKUST senior leadership and management.

“We wish to work with capable partners to create multiple investment funds of multi-billion dollar pools by leveraging the Redbird Innovation Fund,” said Mr. Stephen Yiu in his welcome remarks. “This initiative perfectly aligns with the strategic focus outlined in HKUST’s Vision Plan 3.0, aiming to foster strategic collaboration with universities and businesses in the Greater Bay Area, supporting Hong Kong’s integration into the overall national development and expanding connections with regional and global enterprises.

Prof. Tim Cheng added, “We recognize that the commercialization and industrialization of scientific achievements are key drivers of economic progress. That is precisely why we are launching the Redbird Innovation Fund today – a dedicated initiative that aims at catalyzing innovation, empowering entrepreneurs, and accelerating breakthrough solutions.”

HKUST offers a wide range of strategically designed funding programs to start-ups of different development stages. For example, the University established the Entrepreneurship Fund (E-Fund) in 2019, currently managing HK$100 million for seed to early-stage start-ups. As of April 2024, E-Fund has invested in 19 portfolio companies, which have attracted over HK$400 million in subsequent rounds and have a total aggregate valuation of over HK$2 billion.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, engineering and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 2nd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2023, and our graduates were ranked 29th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking 2023. As of September 2023, HKUST members have founded 1,747 active start-ups, including 10 Unicorns and 13 exits (IPO or M&A), generating economic impact worth over HK$ 400 billion. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024, 12 subjects have been ranked in the top 50 globally, with “Data Science and Artificial Intelligence” securing the 10th position, the highest ranking among the local universities in the field.

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