HSINCHU, TAIWAN – December 1, 2011 – The second Startup Weekend event to be held in Taiwan this year moves the world-renown startup event to the hardware capital of the country and the home of the traditional ICT industry, Hsinchu, between December 2 and 4. Over 100 participants with engineering, business and design backgrounds will pitch their ideas, form teams and flesh out their prototypes in a gruelling 54-hour sprint to the final judging session on Sunday evening.
Held at the city’s prestigious National Chiao Tung University’s Innovation and Incubation Center, the event was the brainchild of Nathan Chiu, CEO of CacaFly, Facebook’s exclusive advertising partner in the Taiwan Market. “I want to bring Startup Weekend to Hsinchu to show the old hardware industry where Taiwan’s real future lies,” says Chiu, a veteran of Taiwan’s startup scene and a former NCTU alum himself. The event is co-organized by Yushan Ventures, andTaiwan Professional Group, two of the organizers of the first Startup Weekend event, held in Taipei in August. The group is rounded out by the addition of Taipei/Shenzhen based iTech VC, an investment firm that funds early stage software startups.
At the first Startup Weekend event held in Taipei, over 130 participants build 10 prototypes, four of which are still running even three months after the event. It is this kind of success that has earned Startup Weekend backing from the Kauffman Foundation, as well as industry leaders such as Amazon, Twilio, Microsoft Bizspark, and more recently, Google. Over 37% of teams continue to work on their products after three months, a significantly higher success rate than the startup average, which is just one in ten.
After the success of the Taipei event, organizations and firms in Taiwan have realized the value of being associated with such a successful brand. Premier sponsors include Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a non-governmental think tank synonymous with Taiwan’s leading position in the ICT sector, and Epoch Foundation, a catalyst for young entrepreneurial spirit in the country. Private sector support is provided by Fliptop, a California-based social intelligence firm with an R&D presence in Taiwan and OpenLife, a recently spun-off company from Institute for Information Industry (III)’s IDEAS Institute. Prizes will be provided by bFliptop and Cardinal Blue, a Taiwanese-American startup that just completed a stint at the 500Startups incubator in Mountain View, California, and Business Next, a leading tech publication in Taiwan.
To help the teams succeed throughout the weekend, Startup Weekend Hsinchu has brought together a team of mentors that have a wealth of experience and knowledge to transfer onto the participants. Companies represented include Yahoo! Taiwan, Cardinal Blue, FunP, Fliptop, Gamelet, Goodlife, Popn Family, Eiger Law, Buyble and Bounty Hunter. There will also be a keynote address by Alex Chen, CEO of EZTable, Taiwan’s leading table-booking service, and a workshop by Adarsh (Adam) Menon, winner of Startup Weekend Taipei. The panel of judges that will decide the top three winners come from a variety of backgrounds, with the startup hubs of Taiwan, Austria and Israel all represented. Tickets to this event sold out fast, so the only way to follow along is on Facebook or Twitter, where news and updates will be posted throughout the event.