To boost innovative startups, the Tainan City Government was eager to transform spaces of the City Council into an incubation base and to integrate power from governments, industries, and universities. It provides all essential resources for startups to accelerate in new markets.
On October 19th, STARTBOARD partnered with WINWIN Innovation & Incubation Base to launch “International Innovation Startups Sharing Event.” Daione, a cross-border influencer marketing startup, and STARTBOARD, an incubator for ASEAN markets, shared their experience and knowledge on trends in the ASEAN market. In addition to holding one-on-one consultations, we invited three excellent VCs who are from DIT Startup, Smart Capital , and United Daily News Group. At this event, we brought global innovative energy to Tainan and assisted startups to embark their journey towards international markets.
Chen Zong Xian, COO of WINWIN Innovation & Incubation Base, started off the event by introducing various features of the incubation in Tainan. This incubation has six independent offices, 28 coworking spaces, creative aisles for startups to demonstrate their products, and an octagonal rooftop for networking, and lunchrooms with recreational spaces on every floor. The government’s intention is to create an environment that can empower startups to think creatively and encourage communication among them in hopes to spark innovative ideas. They are aiming to become the benchmark for the innovative startup community in Tainan.
CEO of STARTBOARD Uniform Lin said, “We are glad to provide existing international connections to Tainan and to instruct startups on ways leverage resources in order. to accelerate and connect internationally. By doing so, we are creating a spotlight for Taiwanese startups and SMEs.”
The event then moved on to exchanging experiences among startups. Alex Ma, founder of Daione, figured out how he could increase customers from other countries after the number of Chinese tourists shrank in 2015. He then started an online platform to match influencers with businesses. In the Thai market, he discovered 90% of customers would be affected by the Internet while 86% of Thai consumers would change their decisions based on articles or videos made by influencers on social media. With the focus of cross-border marketing, Daione uses high-frequency automation to match internet celebrities. Their clients include companies from several high-end industries, such as physical tourism stores and international leisure industry, etc. When facing international clients or corporate partners, Alex would conduct market research on their target customers in order to understand consumption pattern and expenditure in different areas. He then come up with various ideas for influencers to partner with his clients. On the other hand, he also helps Thai clients target Taiwanese consumers. In Taiwan, internet celebrities bring a big impact on marketing. Companies utilize content to attract consumers first by providing product info via internet celebrities. It then trigger purchase depending on consumers’ trust in the influencers.
In the following session, the business deputy director of STARTBOARD Edison Hsueh, explained that STARTBOARD is a one-stop startup service that provides startups with services on visas, taxes, legal service, governmental resources, office space, investment reminders, etc. He also shared tips on starting a business abroad as well as domestically. In the past three years, with the characteristic of civil diplomacy organization, STARTBOARD has assisted over 30 ASEAN startups to land in Taiwan. When ASEAN startups intend to enter Taiwan, they would intuitively think of STARTBOARD by word of mouth. Edison also talked about the latest trend in the Thai market. Thailand is the first country that operates 5G service in ASEAN -- even earlier than Taiwan!! Thai telecommunication companies combined 5G with AI and robots. They built up a reputation and caught attention from international media. This shows that Thai market actually has more potential and technology capability than we used to think. However, finding potential clients, creating service beyond cultural understanding, and integrating different technologies would be the key for startups to penetrate a new market.
After the sharing session, the participants brought up several questions in the FAQ session. How do you select the first target country for cross-border business? How do you modify operating models for the tourism industry based on the pandemic? According to Alex, statistics is a critical tool. Companies can check the country’s GDP in proportion to certain industries. For example, Daione targeted Thailand mainly because tourism revenue accounts for around 14% of its GDP. For industries related to tourism, it goes up to around 22%. Aside from business transformation and modification, Edison said adjusting mindset during the pandemic can lead to new business models. Meanwhile, this is a prime moment for global industries to transform digitally, which can be a compelling business opportunity for Taiwanese startups to create new services.
For the following one-on-one private professional consultations with investors, we invited Manager Peng from DIT Startup, Partner Weng from Smart Capital, and Manager Liu from United Daily News Group. During the forty-five minutes, investors shared their experiences on business model, consumer analysis, marketing skills, technical integration, competitor analysis, and investment suggestion with nine other startups.