Taiwan Entrepreneurs Toe-to-Toe with Silicon Valley Investors
CONNECTING 15 TAIWANESE FOUNDERS WITH 15 SILICON VALLEY INVESTORS
2019 has already been a hectic year with lots of initiatives focused on supporting international startups, interested in expanding to Silicon Valley. This time, we partnered with a government supported initiative called Taiwan Tech Arena in connecting some of the hottest Taiwanese startups with 15 Silicon Valley based investors. Our program focused on providing the entrepreneurs with immediate access to resources and networks, that could help them validate market opportunities in the US. Often times, it is difficult for international founders to establish their first connections to the investment ecosystem so the 10x Innovation Lab “Investor Speed Dating” program focused on 1) helping founders gain confidence when pitching to investors 2) building a network in Silicon Valley and 3) understanding the potential challenges and opportunities that exist in the market.
Session FORMAT with investors
The format of the session with the investors is fairly simple, in which we provide each startup with a set amount of time (10min) with each investor, with 15 investors at the “Speed Dating”. This means, the founders have a couple of minutes to make a convincing pitch, followed by a a quick fire series of questions that the investors will ask, to get a better sense of the business fundamentals. The founders will do this for 15 rounds, having met each investor for 10 minutes. Thus, they will have 2.5 hours of 1:1 advice and critical feedback with 15 top-tier investors, that are looking for disruptive technologies that change the status quo.
15 startups (2 founders for each team)
225 investor meetings
2,250 minutes spent talking to investors (37.5 hours)
After the Taiwan Tech Arena session, our CEO, Klaus Wehage, spoke to James Wu from the Microsoft fund, M12, who expressed, he was quite impressed by the increasing quality of startups coming out of Taiwan. Taiwan has, as of late, become a new talent pool destination in APAC for many technology companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and more, who are actively expanding to Taiwan to gain access to the growing talent, graduating from Taiwanese universities (read this article). This is also reflected by their growing entrepreneurial scene that is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan, who funded the Taiwan Tech Arena, located in downtown Taipei.
Hence, 10x Innovation Lab is proud to provide a platform that not only enables international founders to connect with the Silicon Valley ecosystem but also supports any efforts towards building bridges and conversations between a country like Taiwan and Silicon Valley. It is commonly known that Silicon Valley VCs are hyper-focused on investing close to home, but activities like these can help shed light and build awareness and opportunities in Taiwan and more broadly, in Asia. We, at 10X, still believe that there are untapped opportunities in Asia, and we will continue, through our various activities, to be advocates for Asian founders looking to go against the odds and embrace the challenges of expanding their business to Silicon Valley.
Finally, to wrap up this post, we would would like to thank our longstanding partners, the Taiwan Tech Arena and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan and all the representatives from M12, Singtel Innov8, New Enterprise Associates, Foundation Capital, Sierra Ventures, Canaan Partners and more (see participant list below).
Eric Zhou, SVB Financial Group
Mukul Agarwal, BootUp World
Gabrielle Ferraz, Babel Ventures
Joseph Wei, SkyChee Ventures
Miles Bird, Tuesday Ventures
Morgan Lai, Foundation Capital
Tiffine Wang, Singtel Innov8
Arne Tonning, Alliance Ventures
Luke Pappas, New Enterprise Associates
James Wu, M12
Gideon Marks, RSL Venturers
Jing Liong, Sierra Ventures
Jaleh Daie, Band of Angels
Gail Gannon, WaveEdge Capital
Antoine Colaço, Valor Capital Group
John Connel, Canaan Partners