The first annual US Taiwan Startup Forum (UTSF), a platform that showcases promising startups from Taiwan and the US with vision to build a stronger connection with Silicon Valley investors and high-tech community, was co-organized by North America Taiwanese Engineering & Science Association (NATEA) and Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA). The first day event was held virtually on September 11th, 2020 and attracted 250 attendees and more than 7,000 online views.
Caroline Winnett, the executive director of Berkeley SkyDeck, a leading accelerator in Silicon Valley affiliated with UC Berkeley, kicked off the event as a feature speaker sharing insights for entrepreneurs looking to launch a startup in the time of COVID-19. She encouraged startups to look for opportunities for breakthroughs or significant disruptions with these three suggestions:
1) Focus on the fundamental skills
2) Find opportunities in new emerging fields
3) Don't be afraid as an outsider to challenge the status quo.
Caroline is a thought leader in Silicon Valley, a former professional violinist and a serial entrepreneur with two successful startup exits. Despite the venture capitalists taking a more conservative approach in general due to COVID-19, Caroline encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on the fundamental skills and follow good discipline day in and day out, which is similar to a violinist who must focus and practice every day.
The event featured seven promising startups in AI and digital health domain areas to pitch in front of six US-based venture capitalists in the respective fields. The startups included Giftpack, Learning Pal, and Fitz with disruptive artificial intelligence application. The digital health startups included Aether AI, AESOP, Ahead Medicine, and Heroic Faith.
Following the startup presentations, venture capitalist fireside chat took place. These US investors and industry experts shared some of the best practices for startups from Taiwan. For instance, it is imperative for startups to think global on day one. To increase the success rate of becoming a unicorn startup requires access to the global markets. In addition, the availability of “data” is important for AI and Digital Health startups in order to train the algorithms and differentiate product solutions from the competitors. Taiwan’s medical system is among the best in the world and the availability of these medical data is a competitive edge for MedTech startups from Taiwan to successfully compete at global scale.
The second day of the UTSF event will be held on September 25th, 16:00-19:00 PDT (US) or September 26, 7:00-10:00 GMT+8 (TW), in which promising Taiwan and US startups in the Semiconductor, Blockchain, and IoT sectors will pitch, including BiiLabs, SecuX, ITM, Chain Reaction, DeCloak, Oasense, FST Network, Roby.