After nearly two months of applications, selection and panel interviews, Taiwan’s first seed accelerator – Taiwan Accelerator, has finally selected 8 out of 153 startups to provide with seed money and follow-up mentorship. In a country that does not place importance in seed investments, this is an unprecedented number of startups being invested in a single batch. A diverse selection of startups were chosen, including those from e-commerce, big data, agricultural technology, and even a team from India. They will now go through an 3-month bootcamp that includes a Due Day, Demo Day and roadshow in the U.S., which will help these startups find the most suitable investors to realize their creativity and dreams.
Last year there were only a handful of seed investments, but this Spring, Taiwan Accelerator brought extremely good news to the startup ecosystem in Taiwan. Applications began in mid-October of last year and, after nearly two months of a three-stage selection process, 8 out of 153 startups were eventually selected to receive seed money and follow-up mentorship. The 153 startups that applied came from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, India and Israel. The largest age group was 25-34 years old accounting for 41%, followed by 35-44 years old with 30%. In terms of industry, the five largest were: creative & culture (14%), sharing economy (12%), e-Commerce, social platform (7%), consumer goods, agricultural technology, and green energy (6%). In addition, teams that already had existing product prototypes accounted for 21%, while those who have officially released their product or service accounted for 22%. From these figures we can see that the ratio of those whose products or services were already connected to the market is not low at all.
Beginning on February 2, Taiwan Accelerator will provide the 8 selected startups with comprehensive courses on professional entrepreneurial mentorship, finance, legal, media relations, integrated marketing, branding, investor relations, pitch deck, etc. Each company that is given investment will be appointed a public company’s CFO or IRO, an industry expert and a Taiwan Accelerator partner as exclusive mentors to provide mentorship on both business and finance. This type of dual mentorship is also the first of its kind in Taiwan.
The 8 startups chosen are all quite distinctive, ranging from O2O e-commerce, sharing economy and big data, to agricultural technology, tourism and hardware. For example, in light of the negative impact pesticides have on our health and the environment, ShenNong Taiwan has developed an integrated pest-trapping device that can detect pest density and uses a “bio-induced pesticide substitute (BIPS)” to lure pests and disrupt their mating activities. It can be used on rice, vegetable, fruit and tea crops to prevent plant diseases and insect pests, successfully moving away from environmentally destructive and unhealthy chemical fertilizers and pesticides to natural and non-toxic organic cultivation.
One of our other selected startups is SistaCloset, "Asia's first model clothing rental platform". In order to "reduce the waste created by manufacturing clothes" and solve the problem of "always a missing piece of clothing", SistaCloset assembled clothing from models to lease out. It is a platform that collaborates with around one hundred models to create a model clothing rental service. Each item of clothing has only been worn once by a model, making it fashionable, environmentally friendly and non-wasteful.
From April, in addition to holding a Demo Day, Taiwan Accelerator will also take the startups to the U.S. for a roadshow targeted at international investors. This will allow the outstanding startups of Taiwan to connect with the world and provide an opportunity for them to succeed globally through their creativity.
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