對找到 Product Market Fit 的新創來說，正面的媒體報導，的確有加速宣傳、擴大戰果的成效。但媒體登門採訪的機會，畢竟有許多機緣因素，未必完全操之在己。在採訪前的準備、採訪當下的精準回覆外，我也建議找到 Product Market Fit 的創業者與新創，平常就該有所準備與投資，為未來的媒體採訪與報導鋪路，或是在媒體報導之外，提供更多資訊，主動觸及 TA 或消費者。
我很偶爾會聽到創業者這樣抱怨：「記者採訪前都不做功課、對我們不夠了解。」這背後，其實反映了創業者缺乏換位思考的迷思，我通常會再問：「如果在網路上 Google 搜尋你們，只有公司地址、統編這些工商資訊，官網上的 About Us 簡短到不到一百字，你要記者怎麼做功課？」
多數新創，初期當然鮮少媒體報導，但這不代表不能自己做 PR。持續充實、更新官網的內容，或是不斷優化 About Us 的資訊 (例如創業理念、商業模式、創辦人故事、重要里程碑等)，甚至是長期且穩定地經營 Blog 等 Owned Media 內容，都是被動等待媒體報導之外，更重要的 PR 投資。有策略地經營 Owned Media，再加上陸續開始吸引有觀點、有角度的優質媒體報導，將可讓新創在找到 Product Market Fit 後，更有效率地 Scale Up，讓商業的飛輪加速運轉。
Founded in 2010, AppWorks Accelerator is a startup community created by founders, for founders. We are committed to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs in Greater Southeast Asia and to accelerating the region’s transition into the digital era.
Every six months, we take in startups operating on the frontiers of AI / IoT, Blockchain / DeFi, and Southeast Asia, equipping founders spanning all walks of life with the necessary resources, mentorship, and guidance to get their ventures off the ground. Since our establishment 10 years ago, we’ve graduated 21 batches, with the entire AppWorks Ecosystem now encompassing 395 active teams and 1,331 founders. Collectively, they generate an annual turnover of US$8B and boast an aggregate valuation of US$11B, creating the strongest founder community of its kind in Greater Southeast Asia.
As an international founder we know there are many considerations when applying to an accelerator. That’s why we’ve created an FAQ page to help you decide whether or not AppWorks is suitable for your startup.
As of Nov 4, AppWorks Accelerator #22 is open for applications. You can find important information about the Accelerator experience on our main page.
1. “What do I need to know before joining an accelerator in Taiwan during COVID? What is AppWorks doing to help founders make the most out of the accelerator before it’s completely safe to travel and congregate? How are you helping founders deal with the impact from the pandemic?”
The world has seen nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic, and we can confidently say that no founder we know had this on their disaster mitigation plans. But the experience of being a founder is all about learning and adaptation, even when things look dire. We are here to support you do just that, no matter the circumstances.
To make sure founders accepted to AW#22 will have the benefits of connecting to your batchmates, to mentors, to markets, and to essential knowledge and services, we’ve designed a hybrid program that serves both local Taiwan-based founders as well as international founders abroad that cannot physically enter Taiwan.
Currently, up to six hours of online sessions per week are provided, ranging from office hours with our partners to coaching sessions and workshops with founders from all over GSEA. Such meetings include founder mentoring sessions with veterans of the technology industry who have launched startups from zero to one, and even listed several IPOs.
Finding connections with supply chain partners and other potential business partners will not be a problem, either, since we will help to connect you to these resources through virtual introductions.
In addition to providing these and other aspects of our curriculum online, we will continue to make services such as cloud resources and other perks from our technology partners available, as we have been doing for the past ten years. There is no obligation to sit in the physical accelerator space in order to take advantage of them.
Finally, we will continue to monitor visa and travel restrictions in a timely way and update you with new information we learn during the application process.
The moment it becomes easier to physically travel to Taipei, you and the other AW#22 founders will be the first to know. And rest assured, with our Demo Day plans 100% in planning and execution modes, we will make sure it goes ahead, and you’ll get to meet hundreds of investors / executives in person who can make a positive impact on your founder journey.
For now, here are some standard questions that we see every year. You may wish to read these FAQs as you work on filling out the application to determine if the accelerator is right for your founder journey.
2. “How can AppWorks Accelerator help a founder? Why join an accelerator?”
a. The largest community of entrepreneurs in Greater Southeast Asia
Starting a business is lonely. Most of your family and friends will not understand what you are going through. That’s why it’s critical to put yourself in an environment with like-minded peers, to share the ups and downs, and provide mutual support through any setbacks and challenges. In AppWork Accelerator, there will be 50 – 60 batchmates in the trenches alongside you. Additionally, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with hundreds of AppWorks alumni at various gatherings, many of whom have passed through the 0-1 stage and can help you shortcut potential hurdles through sharing their own experiences.
b. 100+ mentors with rich entrepreneurial experience
The AppWorks Ecosystem has over 100 mentors that have offered up their time to guide young entrepreneurs, which you’ll meet through events like Mentor Day and Mentor office hours. Some will help you in strategy, some will help open doors to new connections, some will become your business partner, and a select few will serve as your lifelong mentor, guiding you every step along your founder journey with their own life experiences, offering advice in times of need, but also celebrating with you in times of joy.
c. Masters and Partners
In the early days of your founder journey, you’ll often be strapped for time and resources, leaving you with little capacity or even experience to handle certain tasks in the course of building your startup. Our in-house Master team consists of 8 subject-matter experts who can assist founders in functional areas such as PR, talent recruitment, finance/accounting, legal, investor relations, alumni relations, design, and workspace management. With average experience of more than 10 years, our Master team can help early-stage founders maximize their time and effort without compromising any additional resources.
In addition to our Master team, one-on-one office hours are arranged with each of our five AppWorks Partners each month. They can advise in all aspects of your startup including business model ideation, analyzing market dynamics, launching new products/services, and building and hiring new teams. Tapping into experiences from their own founder journeys, our Partners can quickly provide targeted advice to help you clarify problem statements and alleviate bottlenecks.
d. Connections in SEA
Southeast Asia has become one of Taiwan’s primary markets when internationalizing. Penetrating these markets on your own is hard enough as it is. In AppWorks Accelerator, on average more than 60% of the teams in each batch come from outside of Taiwan, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, among others. At AppWorks, we very much maintain a “pay-it-forward” mentality, whereby many of your fellow batchmates and alumni will serve as your eyes and ears on the ground, facilitate warm introductions to key contacts, and open doors for your market entry just because you are a part of the community. In addition, AppWorks has established solid relations with local startup communities and investors across the region, giving you more possibilities for a soft landing.
e. Other resources
After joining AppWorks Accelerator, you’ll have access to many other free resources, services, and perks. For example, we regularly hold Fundraising Bootcamp to provide advice and consultations for founders going through the fundraising process. AppWorks is also located near Taipei City Hall MRT station, in the core business district of Taipei City, featuring a free co-working space, accessible 24/7; within walking distance, you can immediately access department stores, restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters, and shopping centers for those of you looking to conduct first-hand user research. Each team in AppWorks Accelerator is also entitled to free cloud credits valued up to US$100,000 from our long-time technology partners Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, greatly reducing your infrastructure costs.
3. “Does AppWorks Accelerator cost anything?”
No. AppWorks Accelerator has always been free for founders. We will not charge rent or service fees, nor will we require any form of compensation, such as sweat equity, options, revenue, or profit-sharing. Our exclusive mission is to help founders.
4. “We need funding now, can we get investment by joining AppWorks?”
The short answer is it depends on what stage you are in your journey. When capital can significantly enhance the strength and competitive advantage of your startup, any AppWorks founder is welcome to start a discussion with us on fundraising. We will do our best to advise and support you.
Please note, AppWorks Accelerator will never require teams to accept our investment before joining the accelerator, nor will teams ever need to provide any form of equity or revenue / profit share returns.
5. “Why does AppWorks focus on accepting AI, Blockchain, or SEA founders?”
We believe the paradigm shift brought about by AI and Blockchain are the two mega opportunities founders in the 2020s must leverage. At the same time, SEA is rising, displaying impressive growth in middle class incomes and GDP. Its citizens participate in an acceleration of tech usage that makes it one of the most pivotal regions in the world for innovation and economic growth. We believe that founders in this region must use these technologies to make the most of the opportunities.
Therefore, this is where we are putting our focus. Founders should think carefully about how to leverage these three areas as much as possible to make the greatest gains with new business models.
6. “I am a student team / I am a one-man team, can I still apply?”
Yes, you can. We are here to help founders. While there are alway some questions to answer about the team, the age of the company, or the makeup of its technical abilities, the founder’s experience and personal journey is the most important of all the factors we look at.
When AppWorks reviews applications submitted by founders, we pay special attention to several characteristics to determine their fit for the accelerator.
We call them the “3Hs,” or “Heart, Head, and Hand,” and we evaluate founders with these following questions, and others, in mind:
Heart: Is there a determination to start a business? Is the founder willing to devote himself wholeheartedly to it for a long period of time? How passionate is the founder about the problem he or she wants to solve?
Head: How fast can the founder learn in the uncertain environment that develops while building a startup? Are they capable of reflection and self-awareness, and applying that vision to creating rapid iterations to the business model and also to their own self-improvement?
Hand: Can they display high-order dexterity in conducting the business, and can they do it expertly? Can they scale their own thinking to a team, and manage that team with skill and attention to detail?
7. “I am not a technical founder, or I need to find an engineer to help scale my idea, can I still apply?”
Yes, you can. In a manner of speaking, you have come to the right country.
Taiwan graduates over 25,000 hardware and computer science engineers each year and is world-famous for the engineering and computer science mastery that has boosted the quality of international companies like Apple and Acer in hardware and Google and Microsoft in the software category, to name but a few.
We strongly recommend founders who come to Taiwan check out the country’s vast human talent resources. Part of the founder journey will be about learning how to hire, and there is probably no better place in Asia to do that engineering hiring than here.
8. “My service (or product) has not yet started to make money. Can I still apply?”
Of course! There probably isn’t a better time to learn in an accelerator than as a founder just starting out. This period before a founder has built a startup into a scalable business model with a Product-Market Fit is called the “seed stage”. During this period, founders always need more than funding; they need a variety of entrepreneurial-related insights, inspiration from other founders, and room for trial and error. AppWorks Accelerator was built to provide these, and more.
9. “I already raised a Series A / I’m profitable, is AppWorks right for me?”
The most important thing for us is to identify where a founder is in their journey.
Reaching a funding goal can be a cause for celebration, but it’s also a relatively minor part of the growth of a founder. So many more things can go right or wrong, even with a funding round. There are many other facets to master. When we admit founders into the program, it is because we have carefully considered what they need as a founder, and how our resources and network, and Taiwan’s unique market and supply chain position in the world, can help them grow.
Joel Leong and Henry Chan at ShopBack had already built a business model and received seed funding in 2015 when they launched in Singapore, before they came to AppWorks Accelerator #13 in 2016.
Joel told us that had the team known about Taiwan’s massive US$ 42.2 Billion GMV a year e-economy and how it made it possible to figure out crucial e-commerce and engineering solutions for them, they would have made the move to Taiwan sooner. It demonstrates that funding rounds and business model maturity do not limit founders to learning something new. As long as you think that AppWorks can help you in the entrepreneurial learning process, you should apply.
10. “Since I am not a Taiwanese citizen, can you help me obtain a proper visa?”
International founders admitted to AppWorks Accelerator can apply for the Entrepreneur Visa in Taiwan. This enables founders from overseas to concentrate on work in Taiwan without having to travel abroad to sort out troublesome visa issues. We have professionals at the Accelerator who can offer advice on this process.
11. “After the AppWorks Accelerator program begins, do I have to be there every day? Can overseas teams participate remotely?”
AppWorks arranges about four to six hours of speaker series, workshops, office hours, and gatherings each week. These are tailored to the needs of current batch founders. We encourage teams to participate in as many of them as possible to learn from the veteran founders we invite to these sessions. AppWorks also provides a free co-working space. As for whether the team should choose to work in AppWorks, this is up to you.
If you want to test the Taiwan market with AppWorks, or set up a technical team, we strongly recommend you to invest the time and effort to personally understand Taiwan’s cultural environment and market.
12. “Do I have to set up a company to join AppWorks Accelerator?”
Not necessarily, but we would recommend an overseas founder to set up a Taiwan office, especially those of you that are B2B facing. This may better enable you to find business partners and negotiate commercial agreements later. AppWorks has professional accounting and legal specialists who can assist in handling procedures for landing in Taiwan.
13. “Do I need a business plan to apply for the Accelerator?
No business plan is required. AppWorks Accelerator’s online application covers about 30 topics related to team background, product/service, business model, market analysis and more. It is very detailed and requires time to complete. It also includes a required one-minute self-intro to the founder (CEO).
We hope the above FAQ can help you clarify your questions about AppWorks Accelerator. If you seek more clarity, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer your questions.
We welcome all AI, Blockchain, or Southeast Asia founders to join AppWorks Accelerator. Applications will be open until January 4th, 2020.
來自新加坡的 Glints，是運用 AI 技術的 HR-Tech 新創。2013 年成立的 Glints，是大東南亞 (東協+台灣) 首個結合人才媒合科技的全端 (包含跨國團隊、遠距工作) 招聘及職業發展平台，目標拓展台灣、香港、印尼和越南等市場，2019 年完成由 Monk’s Hill Ventures 領投的 680 萬美元 B 輪融資。成立至今，Glints 每月發佈超過 4,000 份職缺，累計達 3 萬份職缺、超過 1 00 萬筆的人才履歷資料。
來自台灣的 Steaker，結合 AI 機器人建立新一代全球數位資產管理平台。Steaker 運用 AI 整合多元的投資策略，幫助客戶配置 Crypto 資產，更簡便的創造被動收益。2019 年 9 月創立至今剛滿一年，在封閉測試期間，已發展出超過 10 組資產投資策略、訓練超過 30 個 AI / ML Model、追蹤上百個市場指標，由機器人管理的總資產約 400 萬 USDT、平均 ARR 為 23%，即將開發完整商業模式。
來自新加坡的 Mighty Jaxx，致力針對設計師潮玩與收藏品，打造由 Blockchain 技術驅動的交易平台。Mighty Jaxx 成立於 2012 年，利用 3D 設計，把流行文化的概念融入玩具中，讓收藏者有全新體驗。至今，已與全球數百名藝術家，以及 Marvel、DC、Disney、New Balance、Fox 等國際品牌合作，預計在 2020 年，將可銷售 300 萬件潮玩與收藏品給來自全球超過 60 個國家的收藏者與買家。2019 年，Mighty Jaxx 獲得由 Eight Mercatus 領投的 160 萬美元 Pre-A 輪融資，創辦人 Jackson Aw 則曾在 2018 年獲得 Forbes 30 under 30 Asia。
AHEAD Medicine，開發血癌免疫檢測 AI 分析平台
在本屆 Demo Day 登場的團隊中，可以看到 AI 應用蓬勃發展，已深入各產業與垂直領域，出現不少讓人眼睛一亮的創新應用。例如，來自台灣的 Astra，開發臉部辨識解決方案，協助大型企業管理遠端及現場員工，今年 4 月服務正式上線，在沒有投放廣告、尚未落地拓展的情況下，就已累計近 3,000 名員工用戶，主要來自日本與印尼，重要企業客戶包括日本電信公司 NTT 東日本、物業管理公司合同產業株式會社 (Godo Sangyo)，以及印尼的大型賣場 Pondok Indah 等，都是擁有數千名現場員工的大企業。
同樣來自台灣的 AHEAD Medicine，開發血癌免疫檢測 AI 分析平台。能將血癌檢測的時間，從原本的 7 至 14 天，大幅縮短至檢測當天就能得知結果，降低病患與親友在等待報告期間的心理煎熬，也可爭取寶貴的醫療黃金期，創辦人 Andrea 王毓棻曾有癌症病史，將人生經歷轉換為創業動力，目前合作單位包括 UMPC (匹茲堡大學醫學中心) 以及台大醫學院；Dance Clout 致力打造舞者社群，用戶可上傳自己的跳舞影片，以 AI 骨幹分析和專業老師的舞蹈影片比對動作是否正確，創業團隊僅 17 歲，曾參加建中熱舞社，是正在就讀建中科學班的高中生，滿滿的年輕創業者能量，讓人印象深刻。
在 IoT 領域，本次 Demo Day 登場的團隊，創業成果也不遑多讓。台灣的 iAuto，開發自駕車解決方案，曾參加「2018-2019 杜拜全球自駕運輸挑戰賽」，在新創組脫穎而出，獲得第二名的佳績，並與台灣大哥大、台塑汽車貨運合作，結合 5G 網路，開發將在長庚養生村內落地運作的自駕車系統，是台灣新創與貨車運輸產業龍頭、電信業跨領域合作，發展工商應用自駕車的首例。另外，Aiello 打造的 AI 語音 SaaS 平台，可應用在旅宿、餐飲與旅遊等服務業的後台管理系統和線上數位語音服務；dp smart 成功開發出 6 顆 4K 鏡頭、360° 全景 VR，可一鍵直播的攝影機；WASAI Technology 專注在晶片設計，打造出可運用在 DNA 分析的高速 AI 晶片；來自新加坡的 Cognicept，則提供 SaaS 平台，可遠端即時輔助運行失敗的機器人，協助企業加速機器人實用落地以及 AI 化訓練。
將 AI 運用在教學與學習，提升每一位學習者的成效，是未來重要趨勢，在這次的 Demo Day 上，也有多支團隊以此為創業主題。例如，來自瓜地馬拉的 TUTEEMI，提供不同學習需求的外語家教媒合服務，創辦人 Camila Sáenz，前後共獲得台灣 9 年的獎學金，一路從大學唸到博士班，長期感受到台灣美好的人事物，希望能透過創業回饋台灣，在台灣邁向國際化、雙語化的過程中貢獻價值。來自台灣的 Tera Thinker，運用教育 Big Data 分析，建立自適應學習系統；來自香港的 Sparksine，則開發新一代中文書籍閱聽服務。
2009 年成立，由「創業者」為「創業者」設立的創投與新創社群。致力在大東南亞地區協助下世代的創業者，抓住數位革命的成長機會。正如同 Mobile Internet 帶來了巨變，我們相信 AI 與 Blockchain 是今日的重要典範轉移。我們認為，創造一個偉大事業的過程中，團隊是主角，而投資人則是配角，我們專注扮演配角，從種子時期開始支持有想法的團隊，一路陪著他們打造區域級、世界級的偉大企業。AppWorks 目前共提供 Accelerator、Funds 與 School 等三項主要服務。更多資訊：appworks.tw