Last Friday a team representing the startup community of Hong Kong went to the appWorks Demo Day in Taipei, Taiwan.
appWorks is a venture firm that also has an incubator program of six months where 24 teams start out and get free co-work space and mentors. At the end of the six month period, there is a demo day. For this batch (Batch #6), twenty teams each did a five minute pitch in front of almost 700 people.
The teams had a range from offline retail of organic dog food, urban street tee-shirts, women's health, politics, bio hacking, customized baseball gloves, and much more. The first team to go (urban street tee-shirts) started with a break dance. What a way to start a Demo Day!
As opposed to traditional accelerator demo days, which tend to have more early stage companies, this demo day had quite a few teams with a lot of traction. In addition, the investment climate in Taiwan is only strong for hardware, so the teams tend to go for things that have revenue as soon as possible. You can see the investment climate’s effect on the startup ecosystem, very few taxi and other “instagram” mass consumer style apps, but rather more practical, more local, and less “big swing” companies. It was a great event to watch.
After the Demo Day, the HK team went to Taipei 101, the second tallest (for now!) building in the world and got some dinner.
We met up with the Cubieboard guys (similar to raspberry pi) and I became the first paying customer of their second generation board. I realized they were not kidding when they took photos of my money and sent it to their investor. This is a great device, duel core computer the size of an old PCIMCA card complete with an SD card, USB ports, Ethernet jack, infrared sensor, all for <$60 USD.
Then we headed over to appWorks offices where the HK teams pitched the Taiwan teams and some other Taiwan teams that did not participate in Demo Day did the same. It was all done over beer and pizza, the fuel of startups.
The co-working space is open only to the incubator startups and there is an additional floor where the graduates can rent out at below market rates.
It was a great trip and we hope that by mixing the Taiwan and Hong Kong startup ecosystems we’ll open new markets for each other.