VCs to startups: 快!還要更快!

Anita Huang (Captain, Taiwan Startup Stadium)

Anita Huang (Captain, Taiwan Startup Stadium)

[中文版在下方]

VCs from Taiwan, Silicon Valley, and across Asia landed in Taipei this past week for Silicon Dragon, an investor forum co-hosted by Taiwan Startup Stadium, to discuss both Taiwanese and global trends in VC funding. So, what’s been on the minds of VCs covering Taiwan? Check out some of the highlights.

You got FOMO?

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) drives the hunger among VCs and startups alike in super competitive markets such as the US and China. Investors are constantly on the hunt for the next hot thing.
 
“You don’t want to be the managing partner of a VC that decided not to bet on Facebook,” jokes Moderator Tim Culpan, columnist at Bloomberg Gadfly. Founders, too, scramble to get their products out in front of investors and onto the market before the next startup beats them to it.
 
“There’s a price to not be in the city, [and] the younger people know it….They’re out there hustling like crazy right now,” says Vivian Wang, Director at Sasson Capital Holdings, of founders in the Silicon Valley, but she goes on, “I don’t see it here.”
 
FOMO is definitely not here,” agrees Tina Cheng, Partner at Cherubic Ventures. As an investor continually looking at companies in the Silicon Valley, China, and Taiwan, she notes that startups in the US will iterate “every 3 or 6 months if something’s not working out” while a Taiwanese startup might take 12 months or longer.
 
So, what advice would she give to founders who don’t iterate fast enough?
 
“We avoid these kind of founders,” she responds half-jokingly. More seriously, she stresses to her founders the need to “have a sense of urgency” and warns them, “If this [slowly] is how you move, you’re not going to make it!
 

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly) and Shawn Guan (Umbo CV)

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly) and Shawn Guan (Umbo CV)

Shawn Guan, CEO & Co-founder of smart security camera startup Umbo CV, believes that Taiwan’s slower-paced startup atmosphere partly comes from the spending mentality here. In the US, he notices that startups “spend money to make money,” while in Taiwan startups focus on trying to spend less, which in the end takes up more time.  
 
Taiwan startups need to move super fast. I always think speed is almost the number one thing. We all know no ideas are unique, the only thing unique is your team.”

Is lack of FOMO because of FOFA? 

Can the slower pace in Taiwan be explained by FOFA (Fear Of Failure)? Being afraid to make mistakes, feeling incapable, perfectionism, and fear of losing face all contribute to FOFA.

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly), Vivian Wang (Sasson Capital Holdings), Heidi Huang (KPMG Taiwan), Carmen Chan (Click Ventures), Tina Cheng (Cherubic Ventures), Edward Chyau (Mesh Ventures)

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly), Vivian Wang (Sasson Capital Holdings), Heidi Huang (KPMG Taiwan), Carmen Chan (Click Ventures), Tina Cheng (Cherubic Ventures), Edward Chyau (Mesh Ventures)

Edward Chyau, Managing Partner at Mesh Ventures, sees high FOFA in startups that “jump into industries where Taiwan just isn’t competitive.” In his view, FOFA is a “function of the supporting environment,” which includes players in the the startup ecosystem and government.
 
Without the proper confidence and support, he says, “It’s like you’re trying to tread water when you’re already in the deep end.”
 
In places with high FOMO and low FOFA such as the Silicon Valley or Beijing, Tim Culpan believes this combination fuels the growth of startups.
 
“You’re more worried about missing out on the party than of falling flat on your face.”
 
So where does that leave us? How can Taiwan startups overcome FOFA? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.


Anita Huang (Captain, Taiwan Startup Stadium)

Anita Huang (Captain, Taiwan Startup Stadium)

上週來自台灣、矽谷、以及亞洲各地的創投公司齊聚台北,一同參加由Silicon Dragon以及台灣新創競技場(Taiwan Startup Stadium)聯合舉辦的台北投資論壇,探討台灣以及全球的重要創業投資趨勢。這些創投人士對於台灣的新創圈有何看法呢?以下是摘錄的重點分享。

[你害怕錯失良機嗎?]

在美國與中國兩個極為競爭的大市場,「害怕錯失先機 Fear of Missing Out」的心態是驅動投資人追逐優秀創業家的推手。投資人經常尋尋覓覓,物色下一個炙手可熱的投資標的。
 
Silicon Dragon投資論壇的與談人,同時也是彭博專欄(Bloomberg Gadfly)作家的Tim Culpan打趣地說:「對於一間不願投資臉書的創投公司,你絕對不會想要他來投資你。」同樣地,創業家們也急於將他們的產品展示給投資人與市場,避免錯失一個任何新創公司崛起的先機。
 
Sasson Capital Holdings資本控股公司的總監王斐文(Vivian Wang)說,「錯過是有代價的,年輕一代比我們更懂這點……他們都像發瘋似地忙得沒日沒夜。」她這話指的是矽谷的創業家。話鋒一轉,她接著說:「我在台北還沒有看到這種景象。」
 
心元資本(Cherubic Ventures)的合夥人成之璇(Tina Cheng)也同意這個說法。她說:「台灣的創業家確實缺乏害怕錯過的危機感。」身為一位專業投資人,她經常關注矽谷、中國,以及台灣的新創公司。她發現,美國的新創公司「通常每三到六個月就會反覆修正一次,若是行不通就馬上改,」但是台灣的創業家則常要花上十二個月甚至更久。
 
因此,對於那些溫溫吞吞的創業家,成之璇有何建議呢?
 
她半開玩笑地說:「最直接的做法,我們就避免投資這樣的團隊。」她認真地向創業家們強調擁有「急迫感」的重要性,並且告誡他們:「如果這就是你前進的速度,那就等著向成功說拜拜吧!」
 

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly) and Shawn Guan (Umbo CV)

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly) and Shawn Guan (Umbo CV)

關宇翔(Shawn Guan)是監控攝影機新創公司Umbo CV的共同創辦人暨執行長。他相信,台灣創業家的慢郎中步調,有一部份原因出自擔心把錢花完的心態。他發現,美國的新創公司「花錢來賺錢」,而台灣的新創公司則盡量試圖節省開支,結果就是得要花更多時間。不過,一旦腳步過慢錯過市場先機,是募再多資金也買不回來的。
 
台灣創業家必須要有超快的轉速。我總認為,速度才是王道。大家都知道,沒有什麼產品點子是獨一無二的,唯一與眾不同的,是你的團隊本身。」

 

[缺乏急迫感是因為害怕失敗嗎?]

台灣創業家的步調較慢,是否能歸因於「害怕失敗 Fear of Failure」的心態和大環境呢?無論是害怕犯錯、追求完美,感到能力不足、還是擔心面子掃地,這些都可謂是害怕失敗的心態。

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly), Vivian Wang (Sasson Capital Holdings), Heidi Huang (KPMG Taiwan), Carmen Chan (Click Ventures), Tina Cheng (Cherubic Ventures), Edward Chyau (Mesh Ventures)

Tim Culpan (Bloomberg Gadfly), Vivian Wang (Sasson Capital Holdings), Heidi Huang (KPMG Taiwan), Carmen Chan (Click Ventures), Tina Cheng (Cherubic Ventures), Edward Chyau (Mesh Ventures)

Mesh Ventures董事總經理喬國筌(Edward Chyau)表示,很多新創公司一頭栽進台灣缺乏競爭優勢的產業,因此他們非常恐懼失敗。依他所見,害怕失敗其實是「配套環境的函數」,其中包含了新創生態圈的各業者以及政府。
 
他說,當你缺乏足夠的信心與支援時,就猶如試圖在水深滅頂的地方踩水
 
在矽谷與北京等城市,整體的創業步調和文化,害怕錯過遠勝於害怕失敗。與談投資人共同建議台灣的投資圈和創業家,「快還要更快」的心態才能加速新創公司和新創生態系的成長。
 
「比起害怕摔得四腳朝天而老坐冷板凳,你更應該擔心錯過整場舞會。」
 
這些創投專業人士的對話對你有何啟發?台灣的創業家又該如何克服害怕失敗的心理呢?快上台灣新創競技場的臉書分享你的看法吧!