The 2016 Meet Neo Star Demo Show welcomed 29 of Taiwan’s startup stars to present their companies before a panel of judges and an engaged audience.
The judges selected three Entrepreneurship Stars from among the teams, with the top three prizes going to GliaCloud, Unipapa and Eatgether.
The show, held on November 18th, was part of the 2016 Meet Taipei forum. This was a three-day event sponsored by Meet, which is part of the Taipei-based Business Next Media Group.
Commenting on the awards, contest judge Akio Tanaka said “I feel that Taiwan really has a chance to build the next generation of Internet companies."
The companies in the Demo Show were divided into four main categories:
1) Lifestyle & Commerce,
2) Mobile & Cloud,
3) Internet & Innotech and
4) Smart Hardware & IoT (Internet of Things).
Meet Taipei this year also worked to expand the international presence at the event, 20 foreign startups attending. On the conference’s third day, 15 international teams made on-stage presentations in the “Global Sparks” forum. The teams represented Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, France and Finland.
GliaCloud won the the Entrepreneurship First Star Award at the Neo Demo Show.It presented its artificial intelligence (AI) video creation platform, which allows users to automatically convert a text script into an engaging video.Its team has researched the development of AI capabilities.
Through their efforts, the process of creating a video from a starting script has been greatly simplified and accelerated, often providing the desired video in just five minutes.
Using GliaCloud’s AI platform called GliaStudio, a user can just present a written script.The AI platform begins by analyzing the language content of the script to determine a theme, and then uses online resources to create the video.
GliaCloud CEO David Chen stressed that “We look for continued improvement. The service is only two months old, but we have already created 700 videos.”
Chen discussed the development of the system’s linguistic analysis. He noted that GliaCloud has been working on this technology for four to five years, and estimates that their current sentence analysis accuracy is 99%.
In addition to their core service, they also offer an audio and video management database and a video analysis system.
He believes the company has no direct competitors in Asia, and projects revenue in 2017 of about US$30m.
Unipapa received the Entrepreneuship Second Star award, with the judges congratulating them on their development of excellent design capabilities and platform.
The company helps manufacturers transform their enterprise by assisting them in redesigning their products and building brand recognition.
With excellent artistic, design and marketing teams, the company provides a free design service to the customer in exchange for a portion of future sales. Their products include Crocodile brand electric mosquito repellants and Easy Life spin mop products.
In July this year, before the orders and media hype began to build, Unipapa was already thinking about future developments, including designing services for international electronic products companies.
They feel that next year may see 200 such companies that are short of deigning manpower. "Taiwanese brands increasingly are going to Europe to sell their products, and they may need design support."
Eatgether was the winner of the Entrepreneurship Third Star award at the Neo Star Demo Show.
The company provides a social networking app that creates “theme dinners”, which are opportunities for strangers to gather together for meals.
They thus combine socializing with food, allowing strangers to meet in an environment that is warm, comfortable and interesting. The Eatgether meals have a set theme, along with reasons that the venue is interesting, which allows for an easier and more interesting dialogue as the meal begins.
"It's important to build trust and make friends," said Eatgether CEO Wu Yin Rui. "Eighty percent of people prefer to meet new people in the dining space."
In two months the app has arranged 4,000 dinners. Since the apps’ release on August 31, it has been downloaded more than 15,000 times.
One judge commented after the competition on the quality of the teams.
"The performances of the teams in Taipei were really good compared to a month ago I went to Shanghai to participate in a similar event. I would say more than half of the teams were above that level” according to Infinity Venture Partners co-founder Akio Tanaka.
He added that while the overall quality of the Meet Taipei teams was high, there is still room for improvement, because “investors like me are not as clever as you might think."
Tanaka commented that a lot of the teams talked about too many complex concepts, while the presentation time was very limited.
He added that if you try to explain all the details behind the product or the concept, it can make things difficult to understand.
Moreover, considering that this event is called a "demo show", he felt that there were too few live demonstrations, which often can be a very effective way to catch the attention of the judges.
"Everyone's ideas were interesting, and they were also good at identifying pain points, but often it was difficult to judge the size of the market” said KD Zeng, Vice Chairman of WPG Holdings Limited.
In a similar vein, Tanaka noted that "We want to know how big the market is and how much space exists." He emphasized the need to know the key performance indicators for investing in the Internet. He recommends that future startup teams can share some of their judgment and decision-making approaches with each other.
Although no hardware companies were among the top three in the Entrepreneur Star selections, a few of the entries did gain attention.
These included an intelligent Bluetooth tire pressure detector from Perun Tech, racing drone systems from Aeroprobing and smart game playing technology in a smart-band by Cavy Tech.
Although not everyone could receive an award, the jury congratulated all the presenters and indicated that they had found many interesting pain points.