Stealth startups are startups that operate in obscurity until they are ready for a big reveal. In the changing world of startups, marked by record-breaking fundraising rounds, evolving products, and lucrative partnerships, the rare startup sometimes chooses to avoid the public eye. These companies [...]
Vincent de Saint-Exupéry, CEO of iNCUBEE|LCCS, in conversation with Jumpstart
However, the process of incorporating and managing a startup still remains largely paper-based. The Hong Kong government has been fairly conservative about innovation and technology in the past, although it is now trying to adopt more open-minded approaches to boosting the startup ecosystem.
Addressing this need for digitalization in business processes, serial entrepreneur Vincent de Saint-Exupéry founded iNCUBEE|LCCS, a cloud-based platform that facilitates and accelerates the collection and management of data needed to incorporate and maintain limited companies in Hong Kong.
Saint-Exupéry initially launched Low Cost Company Secretary (LCCS) in 2014 as an online platform to connect entrepreneurs with cloud-based corporate solutions. The platform became an instant success with end-users, prompting Saint-Exupéry to rebrand the company as iNCUBEE|LCCS in 2015 to provide even more diversified solutions for entrepreneurs.
As such, iNCUBEE|LCCS started providing an array of corporate solutions such as financial and tax accounting, payroll, trademark management, and a range of other utilities that help entrepreneurs establish and run their startups, all through its cloud platform.
“The idea was to make use of new technologies to greatly improve the speed, efficiency, and reliability of corporate services so that entrepreneurs could benefit from the highest-level quality service they could dream of at an affordable cost,” Saint-Exupéry notes.
Before establishing LCCS, Saint-Exupéry founded several other ventures, including a consulting startup assisting large SMEs and multinational firms with regional expansions, and setting up local subsidiaries and regional expansion in Asia. Before that, he had previously worked at Natixis Pramex International for 14 years, and opened its subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Bangkok.
A comprehensive suite of corporate services
According to Saint-Exupéry, setting up a company is not always a difficult task, but it requires time-consuming paperwork, experience, and knowledge of the necessary documents and forms to be submitted.
Since traditionally, the process of incorporating and managing a company is slow, manual and largely paper-based, there are chances of human errors which could lead to missed deadlines, says Saint-Exupéry.
In fact, iNCUBEE|LCCS often finds new startup customers who have fragmented or missing records caused by communication gaps between founders and corporate service providers.
“Entrepreneurs have much better things to do with their time and money than having to handle and worry about administrative matters – and this is where iNCUBEE|LCCS comes in,” says Saint-Exupéry.
“We have the experience and expertise required, and through the use of innovative technologies, we can provide much faster, more reliable, quality service, remotely, at a more affordable cost than a traditional corporate services provider,” he adds.
Indeed, clients of iNCUBEE|LCCS have emphasized the benefits of having the company’s expertise when dealing with tricky administrative matters.
“I have been using iNCUBEE|LCCS for three of my limited incorporations in Hong Kong, and I would say that I have never been disappointed. Even [though iNCUBEE|LCCS is] tech oriented, you will always have the chance to speak with real people to advise you on your day-to-day company issues!” says Vivian Meriguet, Founder of digital marketing startup Wild Solutions.
The Hong Kong-based startup offers a comprehensive suite of cloud-based solutions for company setup, maintenance, and management, along with free information and insights on corporate matters to help entrepreneurs manage startups efficiently.
“Whether an entrepreneur wants to establish a company, maintain accounting, audit, payroll, find a company secretary, employees, office space or registered office, or any other expertise necessary to maintain and develop their company, we can help,” says Saint-Exupéry.
When an entrepreneur chooses to use the startup’s services, iNCUBEE|LCCS collects all necessary documents and data, which are then digitized for easy access by entrepreneurs on a dedicated cloud space.
All documents are uploaded to the iNCUBEE|LCCS cloud, which can be used by the entrepreneurs to share data like accounting documents with Saint-Exupéry’s team. Founders can also use their cloud space to store corporate documents that iNCUBEE|LCCS may not be handling, in order to have a consolidated database of documents for their startups.
The platform automates processes, facilitates follow-ups, and makes company maintenance centralized and efficient, according to Saint-Exupéry. This is where the versatility of cloud technology really shines: the platform can be used by customers to easily share documents with iNCUBEE|LCCS, and also sends automatic notifications so customers don’t miss important deadlines or requirements.
A preferred choice among startups
Among iNCUBEE|LCCS’ earliest and most dedicated customers are Francisco Santolo, Founder and CEO of startup accelerator Scalabl, and Casey Lau, an entrepreneur and tech startup community organizer.
“I met iNCUBEE at a startup event I was hosting at a Hong Kong co-working space. I thought it was about time someone launched an online way to register their companies, as I get this question over and over again from startups,” says Lau.
“Everything is done online now, and iNCUBEE was the best to move corporate set-up services online and make it tech-oriented, a one-stop-shop, and very affordable,” he adds. “It’s a great company that has been supporting the Hong Kong startup ecosystem for many years.”
iNCUBEE|LCCS helped Santolo set up his companies in Hong Kong and Singapore, and provided HR and related services like visa application, payroll, accounting, audit and tax filing, trademark applications, and others.
The road ahead
Speaking about the future of iNCUBEE|LCCS, Saint-Exupéry said, “The need and demand for service providers like iNCUBEE|LCCS has developed due to two factors – new tech allowing for initiatives that were not possible before, and an industry that has barely changed for a long time.”
He believes that demand for iNCUBEE|LCCS will increase as the global pandemic makes it more important than ever for companies to adopt technology to sustain business operations.
Another client of the company echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the value to his company of having a technology-led service provider in a time when remote operations are the only possible avenue for most SMEs.
“We have found using iNCUBEE | LCCS is very convenient for handling our administration remotely, at a low price,” says Ivan Lorin, Founder of Velocity Studio.
In anticipation of this, iNCUBEE|LCCS is preparing to launch its new platform with a host of additional features and services and rebrand as iNCUBEE by this year. The company is also planning to seek investment next year to finance its international expansion
Migrating to cloud solutions forms an integral part of a company’s digital transformation strategy, especially since COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown restrictions have forced companies to rely heavily on technology to continue operations remotely. Armed with the latest technology, iNCUBEE|LCCS has placed itself at the forefront of the global digital transformation industry to assist startups in adapting to a post-COVID world.
This article was written in partnership with iNCUBEE|LCCS.