In the start-up world, Silicon Valley based Y Combinator is most respected incubator in the world. Its success has resulted in a number of incubator clones around the world (it’s not just start-ups that get copied). A while ago, I interviewed Jamie Lin, the founding partner of appWorks Ventures to get his insight into establishing such an incubator in Taiwan. Just last Friday, I attended their second Demo Day in Taipei.
Set in the National Taiwan University Hospital Conference Centre, the room was filled with investors, students and start-up junkies, eager to see how the second class of 10 start-ups have progressed. Taiwan must really be sprouting start-ups because appWorks has already accepted 28 start-ups into its next batch.
Led by AJ Chen the team of five focuses on online luxury discount shopping. In Taiwan, about 25% of online purchases are for women’s luxury goods and with brands used as a status symbol, the market makes sense. The business is inspired by the super successful American company Gilt.com and has China counterparts in Wooha.com and ihaveu.com. In contrast to Gilt.com, you don’t need to be a member to shop with Luxjoy. Offering everything from clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, watches, furniture, and home and boutique hotel offers a lot at affordable prices. With a proven business model and an energetic team, Luxjoy should believe ‘life is joyful’.
What do you get when you cross Facebook with pets? ‘Petbook’? Not really, but close. Petnii is an online community to satisfy all your needs with your furry friends. From pet product recommendation information, to pet grooming instructional videos, to offline pet meetups to being pet friends on their online community, Petnii aims to be the go-to online pet service. During the presentation, Nancy tried to woo people by asking her cute little puppy to prance around.
Ever wanted to learn how to play the drums or do makeup? Ohya in its very early seed stage, aims to create online instructional video content. Founder David Liu believes that video sites like Youtube have so much content that it’s difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. His idea is to record videos of people or schools that teach you something and turn it into a product. He then categorizes the content into something like music or fashion, so people can find what they want instantly and intuitively. The business model is a free ad version and paid no-ad version. He showed one example of a girl who teaches girls how to put on make-up and has integrated Ohya into her iPhone app.
With a team of 3 and capital of NT$3 million, Mamibuy aims to help parents find the best products for their baby. Especially for new parents, who don’t know which brand or type of product to use, Mamibuy, provides a useful crowd-sourced information platform that shows product reviews and ratings to ensure they are not alone in making important product choices. Besides baby product recommendations, the site also tries to build a community of parents who want to discuss issues and problems.
Like Pinterest or readitlaterlist.com, Justaple is a way for people to bookmark cool things they have found online for later review. George, the presenting founder used the example of what Taiwanese people love most – food! People can pin a picture of the best ramen noodles in town, share it with someone by email or Facebook, add the location and time as well as ask people to comment on it. They intend to make money from analysing what people bookmark most, then give them targeted advertising.
Eddie Lin, the founder of Touchingworks believes he can save you more time to relax and enjoy your life by making an app called Neospeak that converts your Google Reader rss feeds from text to voice. It is aimed at people that commute on public transport or drive. Currently the Android app has about 2,424 installs and an average of 4 stars. He aims to make money by selling ads within the app.
Is an online and offline integrated marketing company. They offer services such as social marketing on networks like Facebook and Plurk, website ads and magazine advertising. They also do website building and promotion, event organization, product naming creation and finding creative talent through competitions.
A location based service focusing on providing users with the latest and most accurate weather forecast based on their location. Its main revenue will come from targeted LBS ads and other value added services.
With hundreds of thousands of iOS game apps, one of the biggest struggles for developers is how to get recognised amongst the crowd. To help both developers and users, search through the clutter of games apps, Gameape helps market apps for developers through ratings and reviews. They are the first website to focus on Taiwan game users. Later on they plan to move into the Android market. The business model is to generate money from advertising, CPA and an affiliate program.
Aaron Lee believes that children’ education is a huge market. Robospark is an online iPad bookstore for children. Revenue will come from a monthly subscription fee, which gives users unlimited access to all the books. The bookstore has recommendations, book rankings and allows users to record their reading history. Their biggest competitor is kids.magv.com.