Why don't Taiwan startups get Series A funding?


What's up with funding in Taiwan? Why don't we see more Taiwanese startups making headlines on sites like TechCrunch and Tech in Asia as they rake in investor dollars? Many complain that it's primarily a problem of supply, that there are not enough investors in Taiwan - but let's not kid ourselves. In order to attract world-class investors, we need more world-class startups, and although it's tough to admit, as an ecosystem, we need to be doing better. By upping our game across the Taiwanese startup community, you can bet that investors will be more likely to take our startups seriously.

But what are some of the roadblocks we face? Here are some of the issues keeping Taiwan startups from reaching Series A:

It starts with the founders
Founding teams in Taiwan tend to come from very similar backgrounds. Many are engineers with little business experience, raised and educated locally. This works just fine to a point, but when you're trying to reach higher levels of investment, founding teams with diverse backgrounds have much stronger chances of succeeding.

Nobody wants your product
It's harsh, we know. But it's better to accept this before you even start building. Many startups are creating products nobody needs or wants to pay for, and don't bother to do market research before beginning. Don't start building a full-featured product without validating the idea and identifying a target audience, or you'll end up wasting time going in the wrong direction.

You need to think BIGGER
Companies building products only for the Taiwan market have a very low chance to garner serious investment. The market is simply too small. Investors want to see a company ready to succeed on the world stage, so you need to be thinking globally from the very beginning. What's your plan for world domination? Where's your ambition?

You're not innovating
Taiwan has a long history of doing cool stuff, but as the startup ecosystem grows, we're seeing too many copycat products which only improve on one or two features of an already-existing product. "Periscope, but better" isn't going to make you the market leader, and investors don’t have enough time or money to invest in something that has already been done before, even if your new feature really is better.

Let's face it: VCs take the risk of investing in your company because they hope to profit from your growth. If they can't foresee exponential growth in your company's future, they're unlikely to make a bet on your team. Frankly, we could write a book about what's stopping investors from taking a chance on Taiwan startups, but instead, we'd like to invite you to hear from the investors themselves. 

Join us next week, on October 22, as we hear insights from 5 top international investors who will tell you what they look for in a startup when they're deciding whether or not to invest. You'll hear from:

You'll be able to get into the minds of overseas investors right here in Taipei. Seats are going fast, so be sure to book your ticket ASAP!