Taipei dwellers may be some of the most tech-savvy people in the world, but the city’s number of startups and their overall value still falls beneath international averages.
A report by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, which analyzed more than 60 countries, estimated Taipei has around 150 to 350 startups, compared with a global average of 1700 and Hong Kong’s over 450.
The survey, Global Startup Ecosystems Report 2018 released on April 17, also found that Taipei’s Ecosystem Value – a measure for assessing an ecosystem’s size and performance that amounts to the sum of all startups’ valuations and exit values — stood at over $580 million.
The figure is lower than the global median at $4.1 billion, Hong Kong’s $2.2 billion, and New York City’s $71 billion.
The report did find, however, that the overseas market penetration of Taipei’s startups, at 28%, exceeded the global average of 23%. Taiwan’s average early stage startup funding of US$25,5000 was also slightly higher than the global average of US$252000.
Taiwanese entrepreneurs were also found to be relatively experienced. About 65% of Taiwanese startup engineering teams already had a few years experience working for startups, compared with a global average of 72%.
The survey covering startup, investment, and policy insights in 45 cities including Taipei also highlighted Taipei’s strengths in AI, advanced manufacturing, robotics, and biotech.
The report also mentioned Appier, one of the hottest Taiwanese startups in the AI sector in a section of the report devoted to AI and Big Data. It noted the Taiwanese AI startup, which helps companies make marketing decisions and has raised over US$80 million in total funding, was recently ranked one of the 100 most promising private artificial intelligence companies in the world by CB Insights.
It also noted that one of the driving forces behind Taipei’s startup ecosystem is Taiwanese accelerator and VC fund AppWorks, whose 323 alumni are generating a combined annual revenue of $1 billion.
“With more support from the public sector through policy making and other initiatives, startups have been accepted as imperative for the long-term development of society; more and more global and regional investors, startups, and serial entrepreneurs seriously consider Taiwan as an attractive destination,” said Katie Chen, CEO of Business Next in the report.
The survey stated that Taiwan’s citizens are tech-savvy, with 88% connected to the internet and 70% owning a smartphone—one of the largest penetrations worldwide.
It also noted that some of the world’s largest tech companies were created in Taiwan, such as Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturing company.
Although Taipei needed to do more work, the report expressed confidence in Taipei’s potential.
“Taipei City stands a good chance to develop a globally competitive startup ecosystem,” the report said.
The survey amalgamated the voices of more than 10,000 startup founders as well as data from startup database Crunchbase and data company Orb Intelligence. The results were geared to inform public and private decision makers on how to better create startup ecosystems.
Business Next is the first Taiwanese network partner of Startup Genome, a U.S.-based organization that researches startup ecosystems. The Taipei-based media group acted as a representative of Taiwanese startup ecosystem and contributed to the survey during the second half of 2017.
For this survey, Business Next reached out to Taiwan-based startup ecosystem leaders, including Garage+, AppWorks, Taiwan Startup Stadium, Taiwan Startup Hub, Taiwan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, Startup@Taipei, and Anchor Taiwan to gather and present data that best represented the Taipei startup ecosystem.