跨國募資成功經驗談 How do other companies complete their cross-boundary investment?

[English version below]

PHOTO CREDIT: Colin Knowles VIA FLICKR

PHOTO CREDIT: Colin Knowles VIA FLICKR

聽完投資人們、財務法律專家的提點,我們也邀請海外募資成功的台灣創業家,到 新創大補帖:投資條件書 活動中,近距離與新創團隊們分享他們的實戰經驗,了解募資過程中秘辛、以及從中學習的要點:

「先想清楚,你需要什麼樣的投資人?」

Ubitus 創辦人兼執行長 Wesley Kuo (郭榮昌)

自 2000年起 4 年內成功將其創辦之手機軟體公司曜碩科技 iaSolution 以逾 20 億台幣金額與日本上市嵌入式軟體公司 Aplix 合併,2007 年成立 Ubitus 優必達科技,專注於影像繪圖處理之雲端運算技術研發,現擁有引領全球的雲端遊戲平台,正打造 Click2Play 及 VR/AR 廣告業務相關之解決方法,其團隊成員橫跨台灣、中國、美國、日本、南韓,而 NTT DOCOMO 及三星電子皆為其策略投資人。

從第一家創業公司於海外成功出場、到第二次創業取得日韓科技集團企業的青睞與資源挹注,對於一路以來的募資經驗,Wesley Kuo 認為,清楚選擇投資人類型相當重要:財務型投資人?還是策略型投資人?

財務型投資人適合對於一個會寫營運計畫書、並且能真誠傳遞理想、具有熱情的新創團隊。而至於策略型投資人,會更針對新創團隊的技術及產品做測試,評估其在海外是否跟母公司產生綜效(synergy)、能與其區域性市場合作,甚至洽談獨家合作的可能。策略型投資人除了投資外,通常還會要求簽署商務合作契約(business collaboration agreement),談判上有好有壞:例如指定品牌公司可以在南韓獲得該新創團隊技術為期兩年的獨家代理權,相對的,新創團隊也可以反過來要求對方必須承諾獨家代理期間可獲得收入金額、可利用之市場渠道跟集團資源。「但是挑策略性投資人,也要更謹慎更小心。」新創團隊一邊要能向策略性投資人交代、並保有持續的信心,同時又能建立起適當的防火牆,以保護自己團隊的知識資產。

如果你對你的東西很有信心,只是當下缺乏資金,可以找財務型投資人,例如風險投資人。如果你現下需要的是更大規模的資源才能加速團隊起飛,例如企業集團,你可以考慮找到一個策略型投資人。

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「小步快跑後,一旦決定方向,就要全心投入 (All-in)!」

- Gmobi 創辦人兼執行長 吳柏儀 (Paul Wu)

Gmobi 力於提供軟體整合方案囊括軟體更新、應用商廣告推播、全球金流、應用推薦跟數據分析,快速協助企業建置所需的軟體內容,同時幫助程式開發商迅速擴展至目標市場。總部設於台北,研發中心於上海,並在深圳、印度、新加坡跟俄羅斯設立業務辦公室,目前擁有80家全球合作夥伴,累積1億名使用者,並以每月600萬新用戶成長中。

提及到公司一路成長的歷史,Paul 認為,公司規模小時,雖然認為自己技術很好、可以跨方向發展,其實沒有資本一心二用。「產品轉型(Pivot)一定要是圍繞在核心技術的轉變,最多不要超過三次,而 6 到 9 個月已經足夠讓你驗證這個點子是否能找到市場。」他更說,測試中的產品一旦具有市場說服力之後,就要決定專心投入,對創業家來說這是很重要的功課。

Gmobi 一開始從不同性質的 4 個部門挪出人力組建,依照客戶需求客製打造產品,Paul 稱為「小步快跑模式」。後來因此找到更明確的市場切入點,他決定把公司人力資源全部投入。整體佈局從新興市場例如印度、開始,再發展到成熟市場,現在各種 3C 電子產品都成為技術應用範疇,除了手機軟體之外, Gmobi 再擴展到智慧電視、無人機、機器人、刷卡POS機、到智慧汽車系統更新。

「如果你是做行動網路產業(mobile internet),一定要去單一大市場(single & big market)」Paul 說自己創業第一天,視野就不只限在台灣。他表示,台灣的成功模式,不一定會在世界其他市場獲得同樣的成功。「做行動網路產業,必須要尋找有爆發性成長的地方。」另外,Paul 從募資數輪的經驗中,現場分享該團隊在期權池的談判與分配、以及董事會席次與權力設計的問題。董事會席次裡維持創業團隊有全體過半數席位,而董事會發起前一個月,也會發出信件給跨國董事會成員,提前溝通需討論和決議的事項,以確保會議進行更順暢。

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關於 新創大補帖:投資條件書 (Crash Course:Term Sheets) 

早期科技新創團隊的生死存亡關鍵之一-資金!如何撰寫一份完整詳盡的財務計畫和募資策略,成為了重要課題。TSS 和 Spring Drive 於 2016 年 11 月 11 日至 13 日期間,共同邀請國際投資人們、以及財會法務專家、募資成功創業家等共 10 餘位黃金講師陣容,進行密集課程訓練,讓創業家們綜觀了解投資整體流程、投資人類型,並能依照不同團隊組織結構、成長現況及募資需求,進行投資條件書(term sheets)的演練。

本系列文出自 新創大補帖:投資條件書 (Crash Course:Term Sheets) 活動期間之節錄筆記,也敬請期待日後更多課程紀錄分享。歡迎追蹤 TSS 粉絲團 和 推特官方帳號 (或文章標籤 #CCTermSheets)。


PHOTO CREDIT: Colin Knowles VIA FLICKR

PHOTO CREDIT: Colin Knowles VIA FLICKR

Besides helpful advice from investors, finance and law experts, Crash Course: Term Sheets also featured Taiwanese entrepreneurs that successfully raised overseas funds and expanded their business empire to the next level. Here, they shared their practical point-of-view about the sweat and tears shed during fundraising and the valuable lessons they learned.

Think clearly: “What type of investors do you need for now?”

- Wesley Kuo, founder and CEO of Ubitus

In 2000, Wesley successfully founded the Mobile Software Company iaSolution which sold to Japanese embedded software company Aplix for 2 billion TWD after 4 years in 2004. After iaSolution, Wesley continued his entrepreneur life by establishing Ubitus, a world-leading cloud gaming platform, while simultaneously building up Click2Play service and advertising business solution for VR/AR. The team now boasts staff from Taiwan, China, the United States, Japan and South Korea,  as well as strategic investors such as NTT DOCOMO and Samsung Electronics.

Along the way, Wesley had a successful exit for his first startup, and then continued with the favor and resources of world-class tech groups in Japan and South Korea for his second startup. He indicates that it is very important to choose the right type of your investor. Think clearly: do you need a financial investor or a strategic investor?

Financial investors are good for startups that possess great passion and vision and are able to excellently outline their own  business and financial plans. Strategic investors, however, focus more on testing the startup’s core product/service, evaluating the international synergy between the startup and investor company, whether the startup’s product/service can fit into their selected  market regions, and they may require exclusivity among certain market regions. In that sense, strategic investors may require that  you also sign business collaboration agreements besides the investment term sheet.

There are pros and cons to working with a strategic investor: for example,  a startup may be asked to partner exclusively with an assigned company brand in South Korea for two years. However, the startup may also ask for commitments regarding annual revenue, marketing channels, and company resources from the investor’s side. “When you are picking strategic investors, be more cautious,” Wesley advised. You need to make sure to inform your investors with great confidence, while building up a firewall to protect your team’s own intellectual assets.

If you are very confident about your team and product but only lack some funds, you can seek financial investors such as venture capital. But if you require bigger scale resources to accelerate your business to the next level, such as a business conglomerate, then you will have to consider finding a strategic investor.

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“Move agilely with a small team at first, and then go all-in when you decide the right direction.”

- Paul Wu, Founder and CEO of Gmobi

Gmobi is dedicated to helping enterprises build up their needed software content, and expand to their target market quickly for application providers through integrated software solutions such as  software updates, business application advertising, global online payments, recommendation applications and data analysis.. Headquartered in Taipei with an R&D team in Shanghai and sales offices established in Shenzhen, India, Singapore and Russia, Gmobi now has 80 corporate partners over the world, 100 million users with 6 million new users each month.

When it comes to Gmobi’s roadmap, Paul pointed out that although his team’s scope was small at the beginning and they were  very confident of their competitive technology with limitless possibilities to develop, the team actually didn’t have enough resources and capital for multitasking. Paul said, “Any pivot should be based on the transformation of core technology and your team should not pivot over than 3 times. Also, 6 to 9 months is enough time to validate the product-market fit.” He added that once you’ve found the strong persuasiveness toward the market during the testing, you should go all-in with all of your resources and focus on one thing - this is a very critical lesson for entrepreneurs.

At the very beginning, Gmobi’s agile development team comprised of talent from 4 different departments and customized products for their client’s needs. When they found a specific point of entry to the market, Paul poured all of the company’s resources into it. Their overall go-to-market layout started with developing countries like India, Russia, Latin America, and then expanded to mature markets like Japan and the United States. Until now, it has worked with every type of electronic device besides mobile phone software - including smart TVs, drones, robots, credit card POS machines, and smart car system updates.

“If you are in the mobile internet industry, you must target a single big market.” From  the first day he started his business, Paul said his vision was not limited just to Taiwan. He indicated that a successful business pattern in Taiwan is not adaptable to any other market in the world: “To do something big in the mobile internet industry, you must find a place with high exponential growth.” Based on his experience from several rounds of fundraising, Paul also shared how he negotiated and distributed ESOP (Employee Stock Options Program), as well as how he managed power control over the board members by keeping over half of the voting right in team member’s hands. Additionally,  he maintains effective communication with board members, especially with those overseas, by sending  out an agenda one month before the board meeting and bringing up issues for discussion in advance.

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The content for this article has been primarily taken from Crash Course: Term Sheets, an intensive workshop co-hosted by TSS and Spring Drive. Get the upcoming articles in this series by following the TSS fanpageTSS Twitter account and Twitter hashtag #CCTermSheets. The contents of this article, including all direct quotations, were originally in Chinese. All translations for the English version have been provided by TSS.