Taiwania Capital said on July 13 it plans to start raising a total of $6.8 million (NT$2 billion) for two new funds of the same size by the end of 2020 to help Taiwanese startups enter global markets.
Seeing a gap between seed and Series A rounds in Taiwan’s investment scene, the venture capital firm said it decided to pump money into startups in Pre Series-A round with the two funds, said David Weng, CEO of Taiwania Capital.
He believes if venture capitalists can come in and support startups at their earlier stage of development, they can help shape business models, manage the team, and build business development.
Founded in 2017, Taiwania Capital is funded by the National Development Fund (NDF) of Taiwan, the Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC) and the Bank of Taiwan. Previously, the firm has launched a $150 million fund for IoT and cloud technologies and a $200 million fund for medical technologies.
With the two new funds, Taiwania Capital plans to invest in startup companies building AI and IoT integrated solutions as well as innovative medical devices.
For the latter fund, Taiwania Capital said it will help introduce locally developed medical devices to international markets.
Medical devices and drug development are two pillars of Taiwan’s medical industry, said Jerome Shen, head of life science investments at Taiwania Capital. “Taiwan is in an advantageous position in both areas,” despite the stark difference in their phases of development, product cycle, and compliances.
As a VC firm that goes through more than 300 proposals every year, Weng said the coronavirus pandemic has not become an obstacle for them to invest in startups with great potential. Instead, it has led an increasing number of startups to consider setting up their Asian headquarter in Taiwan -- due to its effective response to the virus.
With the two existing funds, Taiwania Capital has made 24 investments, as revealed on its official website. This year, the firm has made five investments so far, including four in the United States. It has recently led the $14.5 million Series B funding round of DSP Concepts in February. Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek, BMW, Porsche, and Sony. The startup, who is developing a software for audio signal processing and audio algorithms, opened an office in Taiwan after the investment.
Since its launch, Taiwania Capital has been actively investing in companies with pioneering technology. It also brings overseas startups to Taiwan to grow their presence in Asia. For example, it has led the Series B funding of Arris Composites in April this year. The California-based carbon fiber manufacturer said it will use the proceeds to open facilities in Taiwan to serve the demand from the consumer electronics industry.
Fractyl is another name Taiwania Capital includes in their medical technology portfolio. The company focuses on advancing treatments and potential cures for metabolic diseases by rejuvenating the lining of the duodenum. Taiwanese manufacturers may join in producing the devices used during minimally invasive surgery.
Taiwania Capital also invested in and formed a partnership with Landing AI, who provides AI solutions for enterprises to evaluate their business models. The California-based startup is the hard work of Andrew Ng, the founder of the Google Brain deep learning project and the co-founder of Coursera. The partnership helps bring the service to Taiwan business for easier transition in business operation.
Frequency Therapeutics, who went public on Nasdaq last October, is the first startup company from which Taiwania Capital exited. It is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on harnessing the body’s innate biology to repair or reverse damage caused by a broad range of degenerative diseases. The VC firm has participated in the Series B and Series C funding by pumping in $111million in January and July, 2019, respectively.
〔Original :Meet Startup @ TW〕