Taipei, Taiwan – August 13, 2011, Last night over 120 participants gathered for the opening night of the inaugural Startup Weekend Taipei, the first such event to be held in Taiwan.

Opening with a keynote from Charles Kuai of Ubee Interactive, the participants were given several important insights into his 20-odd year experience in the telecoms and Internet industries. Charles’ speech was themed on disruption, noting that several traditional industries (telecoms, electronics) have experienced disruption at ever increasing speeds, from AT&T to Skype, and from Sony’s Walkman to the iPod.

The evening continued with a panel discussion moderated by Jeremy Brand Yuan of TechOrange Global, and included input from Rai Ma of Raine Venture Capital, Roger Chen of FarEasTone, Alvin Woon of Plurk and Charles Kuai, again of Ubee Interactive. The theme of the panel was “Launching a Startup in Taiwan: Think Global. Start Smart.” The panelists surmised that while Taiwan has proved its expertise in hardware, it still has potential for growing its Internet economy. In particular, the panelists were impressed that such an event could and did attract over 100 businesspeople, web developers, designers and mobile application developers. Taiwan has the resources, the funding and the strategic position between mainland China and the rest of the world in offering products and services to all. Charles Kuai also stated that Taiwan is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the Chinese diaspora, as it is universally regarded as the center of the Chinese pop industry.

After the panel, participants were invited to get up on stage and pitch their ideas. At first there was a line of 20 or so, but by the end of the pitching period 40 ideas had been presented to the audience. Once the ideas had been written down, participants were invited to cast their vote – which idea did they think was the best. Everyone had three votes, and once the tickets had been counted, there were 12 ideas selected to begin forming teams.

The teams will be working on a range of products including;

  1. A food search application
  2. A platform for coupons of socially responsible products
  3. An aggregator of local restaurant menus
  4. A ‘gamification’ of location based services
  5. A real time chat service called ‘Talk to me’
  6. A mobile, interactive RPG
  7. A courtship introduction service
  8. A social TV/e-commerce platform
  9. An affordable idea-management system
  10. A psychology-oriented music DJ service

There will be more details to follow as the teams validate their ideas and build minimal viable products before presenting to the audience and judges on Sunday evening.

Startup Weekend is a global startup event that began in the United States in 2007. Over 300 events have been held throughout the world, and several well known companies including Zaarly, Foodspotting and GetSmartGrid were formed initially at one of these events.

If you would like to attend Sunday’s presentation in your capacity as a media outlet, please contact James Hill on 0933 941723 or james@startupweekend.tw