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Taiwan Startup Stadium 2017 Year in Review


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A close look at early stage Taiwan startups in the TSS Starting Lineup program, including founder demographics, fundraising and failure stats, and our takeaways and recommendations from a year of research into overseas ecosystems.

Published in: Data & Analytics
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Taiwan Startup Stadium 2017 Year in Review

  1. 1. Taiwan Startup Stadium 
 2017 Year in Review As presented at #TaiwanRocks Homecoming December 20, 2017
  2. 2. 124 STARTUPS #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Cumulative since program launch in February 2016 Roster:
  3. 3. TOP 3 REASONS FOR REJECTION ‣ Too early, product not ready ‣ Thinking too small ‣ Business model unclear SL program basic requirements: #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Accept 63% Reject 37% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program applications
  4. 4. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Hardware 19% Software 81% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program applications ‣ Mostly software ‣ Hardware products are all internet related SOFTWARE v. HARDWARE
  5. 5. THE TREND #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 0 25 50 75 100 2016 2017 82.76%73.1% 17.24% 26.9% Hardware Software ‣ Fewer hardware startups applied to SL in 2017 compared to 2016 ‣ We welcome more hardware startups! *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program applications
  6. 6. STARTUP DISTRIBUTION #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017Others 7% Dating 2% Sport Tech 5% Edtech 6% IoT 5% Entertainment 3% Financial Tech 7% Health Tech 10% Adtech 7% AI 5% Developer Tool 
 & Infrastructure 3% Chatbot 1% SaaS 7% Marketplace 
 & E-commerce 8% AR/VR 11% Design 3% Travel 6% Consumer
 App 6% ‣ High diversity ‣ Strong areas of growth:
 HealthTech,AR/VR, Marketplace, Adtech *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members
  7. 7. FUNDRAISING STAGE ‣ Among unfunded teams, 21 are choosing to bootstrap ‣Much early funding coming from gov. grants ‣Hard to get from Seed to Pre-A #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 % 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 Unfunded Angel/Gov.Grants Seed Pre-SeriesA SeriesA/A+ SeriesB 1%5% 13% 22% 15% 45% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members *Note: Numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number
  8. 8. TARGET MARKET ‣ USA remains top overseas market among members ‣ Japan: high interest, but very few successful cases ‣ SEA popular as a region, but US/Japan still more attractive than all SEA countries combined #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 USA Japan SEA China Hong Kong Europe Canada Korea India Other # of startups 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 13 9 17 24 31 32 32 33 43 50 *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members *Note: A startup can have multiple target markets
  9. 9. OVERSEAS OFFICES ‣ 42% of SL member companies have established at least 1 overseas office ‣14 countries represented #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members *Note: Flag size indicates the number of offices
  11. 11. FOUNDER GENDER ‣ 19.8% #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 % of SL teams with at least one female co-founder *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members
  12. 12. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 FOR COMPARISON: TSS TEAM GENDER ‣ 60% % of female TSS staff
  13. 13. FOREIGN FOUNDERS ‣14.9% of SL teams have at least 1 foreign founder ‣ Largest representation from USA ‣ However… 60% of SL founders are Taiwanese, educated in Taiwan #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members
  14. 14. FOUNDER BACKGROUND ‣ The majority of Starting Lineup founders come from engineering backgrounds, with fewer than 25% coming from the business world #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Others 14% Medical 5% Design 6% Business 23% Engineering 52% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members
  15. 15. SERIAL ENTREPRENEURS We love them! #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 First timer 74% Serial 
 Entrepreneurs 26% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members ‣ More than 1/4 of Starting Lineup founders have previously founded another startup ‣ Many serial entrepreneurs have founded more than 2 companies, and as many as 6
  17. 17. FAIL RATE ‣ Fail rate, to date: 9.2% ‣ Average company age at failure: 1.7 yrs ‣ Only 30% of failed companies reported funding as the cause of failure ‣ Key takeaway: Nearly 50% of failed companies attribute their failure to team member conflicts #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 SL 85% Other 4% Fail 9% Exit 2% *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members *Note: As of December 2017, the Starting Lineup program is 22 months old.The failure rate reflects the current membership, and is expected to rise over time.
  18. 18. So, how much money have Starting Lineup member companies raised in 2017? #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017
  19. 19. US$ 49,921,355 #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 *Data Source: TSS Starting Lineup program members *Note: Figure excludes government grants
  20. 20. BUT…CAN WE DO BETTER? #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017
  21. 21. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017WE ARE ALWAYS LEARNING! ▪ “ ‣ Throughout the year,TSS staff meet with ecosystem builders & governments from around the world to share knowledge & discuss potential partnerships. ‣ In 2017, our research took us to 11 overseas countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, and we’re please to prevent several key takeaways from our travels.
  22. 22. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017WHAT WE’VE LEARNED: 1. YOU CAN’T IMPROVE WHAT YOU DON’T MEASURE ▪ “ Takeaway: Our ecosystem needs greater access to data in order to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Both private orgs & government can take cues from overseas counterparts such as Startup Estonia’s Startup Database:
  23. 23. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 WE HAD A GOOD START! In 2017, Business Next began its collaboration with Startup Genome, marking the first time Taiwan has been included in the well-regarded Global Startup Ecosystem Report and a step in the right direction for better data-driven decision making in Taiwan.
  24. 24. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED: 
 2. WE NEED SMARTER MONEY ▪ “ Comments gathered at Ecosystem Summit in Lisbon, November 2017: “First-time angels don’t have perspective. They need to write 10-20 checks before they can do it well.” “Messing up at the angel stage can make the startups less investable down the road.” “Angels aren’t stupid, but if not from tech, they can be dangerous. First- time angels need to disclose their lack of experience.” Takeaway: It’s not just startups who need training. Taiwan has citizens with money to invest, and plenty of startups in need of very early stage investment. The key is helping them find each other and teaching them how to work together effectively. Taiwan can take a cue from FIBAN (the Finnish Business Angels Network) to provide mentorship to new angels to ensure they adhere to best practices. More on FIBAN at:
  25. 25. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED: 
 3. FAIL FAST, AND TRY AGAIN ▪ “ What we learned from TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology & Innovation: The Finnish government puts 142M Euros annually into startups, with 300-400 of these investments in early stage companies still seeking product-market fit. TEKES employs a “fail fast” mindset, challenging startups to meet their self-designed KPIs within 6 months to advance to the next stage of funding. Startups who receive funding and fail to validate their ideas within 6 months are welcome and encouraged to apply again with a new idea. Takeaway: Two key elements are essential for building up our ecosystem: speed and perseverance. By encouraging startups to fail or pivot quickly but also embracing failure and challenging founders to try again, we can build a generation of mentally tough and experienced entrepreneurs. More on TEKES:
  26. 26. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Background: In 2017, Starting Lineup members 
 & TSS collectively garnered
  27. 27. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED: 
 4. EARN YOUR OWN HEADLINES ▪ “ What we’ve learned from speaking with media in countries around the world: It’s easy for Taiwanese startups to obtain media coverage from Taiwan media outlets — too easy. Media coverage that comes too early creates a false sense of accomplishment and raises expectations in the community, making failure more embarrassing. Global media coverage cannot be bought. Relationships are key, and even the best media relationships cannot produce media coverage if there is no story angle that will interest readers. Takeaway: Taiwanese media can both help and harm local startups, whether intentional or not. If local media outlets raise the bar for what qualifies as a reportable story, Taiwan startups will be forced to improve their PR skills, ultimately preparing them better for competing for international media coverage.
  28. 28. #TaiwanRocks HOMECOMING 2017 Most importantly, 
 we need to work together 
 as an ecosystem. Together, LET’S SHOW THE WORLD WHY #TAIWANROCKS!