At Neat, we’re quite active in the local startup community in Hong Kong. We participate in a lot of conferences, panels, and job fairs, and also host our own community events and parties too.
Natalie is the one on our team that makes that all come to life.
Having been at Neat for a couple months now, Natalie plans all our events, from brainstorming themes our audience will find interesting, coordinating with our partners, scoping out new venues, and making sure everything is running smoothly on the night of.
Since she’s the face of our community and events, we thought it was fitting to shine the spotlight on her today, and know a bit more of her story.
Read on to find out how she developed such a wide network of startup folk in Hong Kong, what her experience working at Neat is like, and what advice she has for people considering working at a startup.
- Team at Neat: Marketing
- Favourite food: Everything spicy. Tam Jai is my ultimate local HK comfort food
- Hobbies: Yoga and online shopping
- Fun fact: I prefer dogs to cats
I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit in me.
In middle school, contact lenses were all the rage. I remember taking out around $5000 from my savings to buy coloured contacts, to then resell online and to friends from my network at school. There was such a huge demand for it, I couldn’t resist jumping in.
As I grew older, in high school and university, that spirit quieted down. The thought of being an entrepreneur seemed a little out of reach. I realized you don’t just need to have a handle on the business side of things – you need the ability to manage and motivate people as well.
In university, I stayed close to business where I studied economics; but it was when I dove into the world of startups that my perspective really changed.
Starting a new chapter in Hong Kong’s startup scene
I honestly didn’t know much about startups when I first got started. While I was in school, my friend had posted on Facebook about a part-time internship opportunity with a startup, and I thought it was worth checking out.
So I ended up joining SuperCharger, a leading FinTech accelerator, as they were just starting out. In a nutshell, SuperCharger takes startups into their corporate-sponsored accelerator program. Most of the participating startups are later-stage, B2B (Business-to-Business solutions) looking to partner with banks. The program trains these startups as they grow their businesses and create connections.
I feel like I really got to experience what it was like building a startup from the bottom up.
Because it’s an accelerator, I was actively involved in attracting and onboarding new sponsors and banks. When we officially launched the accelerator program to the public, we received hundreds of startup applications. It was really eye opening to experience screening these applications from the client or investor angle, and evaluating a startup’s overall business model.
I learned how businesses make money, and how even businesses that may not sound as groundbreaking from the get go can be extraordinarily successful.
Initially when I joined SuperCharger, I hadn’t really considered pursuing a career in the startup space – but as school holiday after school holiday went by with me choosing to devote the spare time to my work, I realized that the challenge and opportunity really spoke to me.
Getting a job at Neat
Neat was actually a startup in SuperCharger’s very first cohort back in 2016.
From the other B2B FinTech companies I came across, it seemed that the most successful money-making models were grounded in solutions that targeted the big banks as customers.
And then there was Neat. Neat was taking an unconventional route by offering an alternative to banking solutions. They saw a need in this space for good solutions for the underbanked – specifically startups and SMEs – and jumped in to build something groundbreaking to fill it.
Neat is very visibly driven by passion and vision, and that was something that I personally admired. So, with my background and connections with the startup community in Hong Kong, when David and Iris reached out to me to join their marketing team to handle community, events and marketing, I happily said yes.
Working at Neat means being a part of a team that is driven and passionate
I’m doing the community and events at Neat, building on top of Neat’s core mission of helping entrepreneurs and founders. We create spaces for like minded people (Neat users, entrepreneurs, startup folk) to support and connect with one another, as well as introduce our team to our customers. We’re building a brand that is supportive, friendly, and human.
The thing about Neat is that it isn’t just the founders that have this drive to make a difference. It spreads to every individual on our team.
Everyone here is driven and passionate about what they do. They don’t just treat it as a job to get by and aren’t only here to take a salary home – we’re a team that invests 200% into the company, because people here really care.
(Also, the drinks included at our events are a pretty sweet perk too 😜 )
So you want to work at a startup?
My time at Neat and SuperCharger has really helped me rekindle that entrepreneurial fire I’d pushed aside while I was growing up. The things I once thought were beyond me, like managing a team and coming up with a sustainable business plan, are all things I’ve now seen first-hand and feel confident about.
Don’t hesitate to dive into the world of startups. When someone offers you a seat on a rocket to space, you don’t ask what seat you get – you just get on. It’s an exciting journey, and while it might not be what you expect, it will definitely surprise you in a good way.
Looking for opportunities at Neat?