On June 12th, Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS) held their fifth anniversary party. In celebration of this special day, TSS endowed the All Star Award to five startups who have come a long way with TSS since its establishment in 2015: 25sprout, FunNow, Health2Sync, MoBagel, and SkyREC. These five startups have demonstrated extraordinary growth over the past five years. There’s no coincidence in their success, these founders continuously sought out new opportunities for their startups through timely adjustments and pivots.
The illustrious 25sprout initially made its debut in the market with their product: SurveyCake — a cloud-based professional online survey tool. They have two business departments within internal operation, one is responsible for SurveyCake, and the other in charge of customer relationship management, offering consultation service to clients. The two departments form a good cooperative relationship. CEO and Co-founder Alex recollects, from a two man team to a team of fifty, efficiency of internal communication differs the most. For that reason, “Sprouters Day” is held regularly to achieve open and transparent communication. CTO and Co-founder Thundersha believes that the biggest key to the company’s growth lies in an outstanding team. By putting the right people in the right positions and by taking into account every operational detail, the company will flourish.
As the top go-to platform for last minute instant activities bookings nowadays in Asia, FunNow is currently providing services in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, etc. CEO and Co-founder T.K. observes that two major issues are yet to be resolved in the entertainment platform industry: 1) The market is fragmented and there is not a platform integrating all data. 2) Vendors still lack digitalization. Nearly 80% of the stores are still not connected to the internet but only focus on offline sales. As consumers’ decision time becomes shorter, data integration and digital transformation become crucial. This is where FunNow comes into play. Reflecting on the past five years, if there’s anything he’d tell himself five years ago, T.K. said it would be to “not employ a business model of a marketplace, because you’d need to take care of both the consumers and the merchants, and it feels like fighting two giants at the same time.” FunNow will continue to expand to other countries to provide a more diversified and favorable lifestyle for people to enjoy life.
As one of Taiwan’s top medical technology startups, Health2Sync is Asia’s largest digital diabetes management platform. Their mission is to provide scalable and personal chronic disease management through data analytics. Today, the public is becoming more and more aware of concerns related to personal health. Four of the top eight national health insurance expenditures in Taiwan are related to diabetes. Health2Sync successfully combines traditional medical methods with technologies, so that patients can more easily control their conditions, solving the problem of insufficient diabetes care resources. In the long term, the government can save medical expenses, and patients can greatly improve their behavior and see for effectiveness. Such medical applications will only become more prominent with the development of technology. Painting their bigger picture, CEO and Co-founder Ed states that Health2Sync aims to become “Asia’s leader in chronic diseases management!”
MoBagel was recently recommended by Gartner in the United States as one of the key original artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML) platforms globally, one of the biggest reasons for its selection being its ability to convert data into commercial value. Following another success of case collaboration with the well-known enterprise Wei Chuan China last year, MoBagel hopes to assist more enterprises with data applications. The goal is to become a partner of enterprises on their roads to digital transformations by creating automated AI platforms that provide the most suitable solution. Speaking of advice to founders, CTO and Co-founder Iru said, “the founders’ network is very strong, and they’re all dedicated to helping each other. Believe in yourself and be willing to discuss your problems!”
Through helping retail brands create big data analysis systems using image analysis, SkyREC has secured retail clients internationally from all across Northeast Asia, Europe and the United States. CEO and Co-founder Cate narrated, when the company was just found, without fame and reputation, it was difficult to even obtain the first order. Thus upon discussion among co-founders, they decided to launch the product for free within a limited period of time to test the water temperature and to receive some feedback. Fortunately, through a friend who runs multiple boutiques, SkyREC was able to test their technology and collect the first wave of feedback to improve the solution. Cate’s advice to companies operating on B2B models is to clarify three questions: 1. Where is your target market? 2. Before the product goes to market, it is necessary to identify local competitors and clarify the advantages of each others’ products. 3. Clarify the feasibility of your business model in the country before implementing capital investment. Cate does not recommend using an overseas market as the first battlefield; instead, product should be tested domestically first, and then consider overseas expansions after obtaining good cash flow.
At the event, startups had a great time interacting with one another, the All Star teams also shared lots of their learnings from past experiences. Looking back over the past five years, as the biggest supporter behind TSS, NDC Department of Industrial Development’s Director Chan Fang Kuan expressed his approval and recognition of TSS’ efforts in assisting startups, that “success belongs to all startups.”
“In the past, TSS gave advice to startups. In the future, we hope to put the advice into actions. The new initiatives will allow more room for in-depth cooperation with startups,” TSS CEO and Co-founder Leroy Yau says.
Following the initiatives of #TaiwanRocks which serves early stage startups, of #AsiaRocks which brings together Asia’s innovative energy, of #YouthRocks which focuses on cultivation of young talent, and Pivotal Media — a platform that gives voice to Asia’s innovative energy, TSS will continue to diversify their scope of businesses to assist startups at different stages.
Starting with #TaiwanRocks, which serves early stage startups, to the assembly of Asia’s synergy #AsiaRocks, to #Youth Rocks! — a university student talent cultivation brand, to the most recent effort of Pivotal Media to give Taiwan a voice, TSS will continue to explore and develop new business areas to help startups at different stages and lead Taiwan’s startup ecosystem into the next five years.
“Entrepreneurs, this world is filled with richness because of you. The road to entrepreneurship is full of difficulties and uncertainties, but entrepreneurship is fate to many of us. Let’s march on to the next however many years to come together with integrity!” TSS Founder Amanda Liu shouts-out.