AppWorks and Wistron partner to recruit tech startups to turbocharge their growth

2021-05-03 |
AppWorks and Wistron partner to recruit tech startups to turbocharge their growth

iPhone maker Wistron teamed up with AppWorks, one of the largest venture capital firms in Asia, last week to launch a biannual accelerator program targeted at startups in the AI, IoT, big data, cloud computing, or cybersecurity field. The application deadline for the first round is 4 May 2021.

Successful applicants will undergo a six-month accelerator program beginning July 2021. Each startup will receive NT$200,000 (US$7096) in funding and AWS/GCP cloud credits from Wistron, and will be mentored by the top management of Wistron, its subsidiaries and AppWorks' mentors. On top of that, admitted startups can also take part in AppWorks Accelerator between September 2021 and January 2022. In the AppWorks Accelerator program, startups get to work closely with AppWorks' mentors, alumni community, and global investors to solve problems from product design, marketing, fundraising, to networking. A demo day will be held at the end of the program.

Looking for startups that have already launched their product and had some experience in dealing with clients, Wistron aims to help them scale up their business. Simon Lin, chairman of Wistron, said this program, in return, could present new growth opportunities for the company in the next decade.


Wistron and Appworks will offer lots of resources to turbocharge the startups. / Photograph: Appworks

Commenting on the partnership, Jamie Lin, chairman and partner of AppWorks, said: "The AppWorks ecosystem has a sizable presence nowadays. In the next ten years, we want to be the matchmaker for startups and enterprises so startups can have a safe space to experiment and grow while enterprises can identify new opportunities for continuous business growth. The partnership with Wistron marks the beginning of a new era where we play a bridging role."

Wistron actively seeking chance to cooperate with startups

The Wistron group, who has been Taiwan's top hardware manufacturer and the world's second largest contract manufacturer for many years, started considering their future and a potential new revenue stream a couple years ago when they foresaw a dwindling trend of hardware manufacturing business in the future.

After identifying internet business as the key of future businesses, the group set up a digital transformation office in 2016 in an effort to develop new technology and future proof data science and analysis talents. On top of that, the group turned its attention to startups.

The group allocates 10 percent of the research and development budget every year for investing in startups and established the New Business Development Innovation Integration Center (IIC) to provide commercialized services to them .

To this date, the company has invested more than NT$10 billion (US$355 million) in more than 50 startups in Taiwan including iKala, Umbo CV, MoBagel, and ANIWARE.

This year, Wistron led a NT$129 million (US$4.3 million) Series A funding round for a machine learning operations (MLOps) startup InfuseAI to fast track the development of its platform and expand its business overseas.

Separately, Wistron collaborated with Japanese's coffee product manufacturer Hiroia to launch a new coffee brewer called Ziggy. Integrated with Wistron's IoT technology, Ziggy reduces the time of cold brew coffee making from a full day to only 5 minutes. Users can also update their coffee recipe on an app whenever there is an internet connection.

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Ziggy reduces the time of cold brew coffee making from a full day to only 5 minutes. / Photograph: 侯俊偉

Appworks keep cultivating the tech startup in Asia

Entering its 11 years, Taiwan's VC firm AppWorks helps seed-stage and growth-stage startups in Taiwan and Southeast Asia to kickstart and rapidly scale up their business.

As of February, according to the company website, there are 395 active startups and 1,331 founders in the AppWorks Ecosystem, and its aggregate valuation has reached NT$310 billion (US$11 billion).

Some of the top companies invested by AppWorks include Carousell, Lalamove, ShopBack, KKday, 91App, iChef, and 17 Live Group. Notably, Uber Technologies, Net Publishing, KuoBrothers and Mobix have previously gone public.

Looking forward, the VC firm aims to continue cultivating the tech startup scene in Greater Southeast Asia.

〔Original :Meet Global〕