StartupBlink Blog

Taiwan is one of the newest ecosystems to enter into the StartupBlink 2020 Ecosystem Ranking Report. Jumping directly to 30th place on the Global Ranking this country has an incredible ecosystem for startups, the country is also ranked 7th in Asia-Pacific, preceded by India at 6th. 

With only one city in the global ranking, Taipei City, ranking at number 42 it shows how powerful the existing startup ecosystem is. The focus for future development of the Taiwan ecosystem is to continue the advance of the Taipei ecosystem while making sure more cities join Taipei in the rankings.

Taiwan Startup Ecosystem

Unique Ecosystem advantages:

  • World Leader in Health 
  • Strong role in the global high-tech ecosystem
  • Ranked 6th globally for Hardware and Innovation and Tech 
  • Strong government support for startups
  • Close links to Silicon Valley and first-class ecosystems 

Overview of Taiwan’s Startup Ecosystem

Taiwan has been a nation filled with innovation for decades, however, in recent years Taiwan has shifted its manufacturing market towards an economy geared towards startups and their success. The government is actively working towards making Taiwan an inviting ecosystem for startups and has been focused on global integration with other successful startup ecosystems such as Silicon Valley. 

With big global companies such as Asus and Foxconn elevating the Taiwanese economy,

Taiwan’s startup ecosystem has a unique edge in anything Hardware and IoT-related. Foreign companies such as Google are also heavily investing in data centers on the island demonstrating how innovative and tech-orientated the nation is. 

Although there have been significant efforts in improving the ecosystem for startups, the government is struggling to convince the local population to become entrepreneurs. This is not unusual in Asian countries. As more Taiwanese startups become successful, the hope is that mindsets will shift to create a critical mass of successful startups that will scale and go global. 

Investment opportunities 

This small country is the perfect playground for startups. With close connections to Silicon Valley and large investments from global companies, Taiwan is becoming the ideal ecosystem for companies. Government efforts and focus on the startup ecosystem, including programs, accelerators, and initiatives such as the Taiwan Startup Visa, are allowing the Startups a good economy and environment in which to thrive. 

Taiwan has a vast array of private and public investors, working alongside the government, to support the startup ecosystem. It is interesting to note that corporate venture capital is particularly strong in Taiwan, representing close to 50% of the industry, in comparison to around 25% worldwide. 

Examples of some of the largest investors in the Taiwan ecosystem include WI Harper Group, CDIB Capital International, and Taiwania Capital. Alongside the current investors, Taiwan is home to data and research centers of several major tech organizations, such as Google and Microsoft. As a result of the increasing geopolitical strain between the US and China, more relocations to Taiwan and investments are being planned. Taiwan now has the opportunity to attract additional foreign investment and talent, as well as developing the skills and experience of its own local talent with the world’s biggest tech corporations.

Response to Covid-19

Throughout the entirety of the pandemic, Taiwan has been an exemplary country with low infection and death rates. Subsequently, it has become a role model to the world. A smart public sector working together with its population has not only achieved great results in containing the virus but has also innovated extensively and helped the world find new ways to confront the situation. 

Ensuring its population remains safe has allowed Taiwan to leverage its startup ecosystem and maintain a level economy. Taiwan, as a country, has ranked 17th globally with Taipei City ranking as the 10th most successful city in the world at containing and managing the virus through innovations. This paired with the fact that the level of personal freedom has hardly been affected has meant that a lot of Taiwanese Startups have continued using physical workspaces and lifestyle changes have been minimal. 

With the economy remaining at a similar level to the pre-pandemic economy Taiwan has managed to help and support the startup ecosystem well, this has also benefited its startup ecosystem in other ways, such as the relocation of some investors and entrepreneurs to the island, where they feel safer than in China or the US. 

The branding of the country as one of the world’s most organized and efficient locations to deal with the pandemic will surely attract more attention to the possibility of relocation and increased investment. In StartupBlink’s Coronavirus Innovation Map and Rankings, recently released with the Health Innovation Exchange by UNAIDS, Taiwan has also demonstrated specific success in innovation related to COVID-19. 

Top Startups

Kneron – dedicated to the design and development of integrated edge AI solutions. Kneron’s solutions are designed to accelerate AI computing in the smart home, smartphones, smart surveillance, and security devices.

Touché Solutions – gathers passionate engineering innovators for optimal human-robot collaboration focused on touch.

Appier – A Taipei-based startup providing an AI-powered platform to brands and retailers to help increase customer engagement.

Iweecare– A company focusing on developing Temp Pal, a device designed to make temperature monitoring easier and more comfortable.

CoolBitX – An international blockchain security startup that is building the infrastructure necessary to close the gap between the mainstream market and the crypto industry.

Gogoro – Automotive company that leverages technological progress and the power of innovation to create modern infrastructure and transportation solutions. Gogoro is notable because it is powering positive environmental change through its intelligent urban mobility solutions.

To discover more successful startups in Taiwan download the StartupBlink Taiwan Startup Ecosystem Report here. 

Accelerators and Initiatives

IAPS: IAPS (Center of Industry Accelerator and Patent Strategy, National Chiao Tung University) is a tech-oriented and university-affiliated startup accelerator. Since its inception in 2013, they have worked with more than 750 startups and accelerators, helping to raise between USD10m and USD11m each year. National Chiao Tung University and National Yang Ming University formally merged into the “National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University” (NYCU) on February 1, 2021.

BE Accelerator: BE Accelerator is focused on the healthtech and medtech verticals. Established in 2018, it has positioned itself as a gateway to Asia for local and international startups in these innovation-adverse industries through their unique access to hospital facilities, research institutes, investors, healthcare experts, and other industry stakeholders.

SparkLabs Taipei: SparkLabs Taipei is part of the SparkLabs accelerator network — a global accelerator network founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Established in 2017, SparkLabs Taipei offers a strategically designed accelerator program to help founders grow and scale their startups into world-class businesses. Since our inception, we’ve already invested in and accelerated 24 startups. We believe that in order to solve the world’s toughest problems with significant scale and sustainable impact, it is crucial for the business model to be embedded with a global mindset from day one.

Taidah Entrepreneurship Center: Taidah Entrepreneurship Center: TEC is the National Taiwan University’s entrepreneurship center, and it was founded in 2013. It is an accelerator program dedicated to establishing a comprehensive startup ecosystem, leveraging the university’s entrepreneurial talents and innovation capacity.

To find more accelerators that are working towards making Taiwan a successful startup ecosystem download the StartupBlink Taiwan Startup Ecosystem Report here. 

Key organisations

Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) – is a flagship startup ecosystem development program launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology with the goal to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and serve as the global innovation stage for Taiwan’s startup ecosystem.

Taiwan Startup Institute (TSI) –  Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Taiwan Startup Institute (TSI) is a national-level startup accelerator tasked with uncovering promising R&D results hidden away at universities and research institutions, and then guiding these aspiring technologies toward commercialization. TSI also promotes the establishment of startups involved in the commercial development of these technologies, helping to transform R&D results into tangible industrial assets.

Ministry of Science and Technology – The Ministry of Science and Technology traces its roots to the National Science Council (established in 1959), and was reorganized in 2014, receiving its current name. The Ministry is charged with promoting the nation’s overall S&T development, supporting academic research, and developing the science parks. The Ministry aims to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and encourage creativity in science and technology, with the goal of boosting Taiwan’s academic and industrial competitiveness at the international level.

To find other key organisations along with the global investors that are working towards making Taiwan a successful startup ecosystem download the StartupBlink Taiwan Startup Ecosystem Report here. 

Startup Summary 

Taiwan offers startups a stable economy, excellent investment opportunities and a bustling ecosystem. With many companies already established in the country and many others relocating there Taiwan offers a bustling economy which promises much growth in the coming years. Government initiatives and strong investment in accelerator programmes are also transforming the country into a healthy startup ecosystem. 

With Taiwan’s exemplary conduct throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and a geopolitical strain working in its favour Taiwan, there is no better time for startups in this economy and ecosystem.  

Watch Yo Hwang from Taiwan Tech Arena present the Taiwan Startup Ecosystem @ the StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit January 2021

For more information on startup ecosystems download the Startup Blink 2020 Global Report

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