Ching: 對我們來說，外部最大的改變，就是數據的範疇與含量比以前大幅增加。Internet 應用普及後，剛開始相關的數據，集中在使用者行為數據的搜集、觀察與分析，但我們看到，現在數據的應用範圍更廣，例如各種影像、語言、IoT 等數據。此外，我們也看到新興技術創新、發展與應用，變化越來越快，影響的範圍越來越廣。同時，因為疫情所帶來的轉變，讓 Work From Home 的工作型態更加普遍，這也呼應我們長期致力於提升全球交付能力的策略，在疫情後客戶的接受度更高，為我們帶來明顯的業務成長。
第二部分，我注意到大部分新創，儘管掌握了某個主流的關鍵技術，但不必然是從技術角度來切入市場，更多的是著眼於更利基、更前衛的應用場景。例如，我們看到一家新創運用 AI 技術去養雞，來確保同一個生長週期的雞隻都能長得一樣大，或是結合 IoT 技術來養蝦，透過檢測水質、溫度，以確保同批蝦子能養得健康。創業者能夠很快識別不同利基市場需求的能力，相當令人驚艷，對我們來說，這是日常工作或生活中未必能涉獵的場景，幫助我們用新角度去看待那些原本就已熟悉的關鍵技術。
Ching: 對於與新創的各種合作機會，我們都抱持著開放態度，同樣的，我也建議新創在與企業合作時，能抱著更開放的心態。過去多年來，我們看到外界整體對於 IT 人才的需求快速增加，以及從中延伸出的外包趨勢非常巨大，我相信新創也會有同樣需求，應該更聚焦在核心競爭力的創新、想法和執行上，未來我們與新創的合作之間，應該會有更多新綜效出現。我們內部有一句話展現我們的價值觀：「以人為本，以客為尊。用 IT 技術為核心，與客戶一起成就美好世界。」不管是前面提到具有發展潛力的領域，或是在台灣、中國大陸這些我們已經很有很好基礎的市場，以及美國、日本、東南亞這些我們正在積極拓展的市場，我們都很期待與新創一起合作共同探索。
Ling-Fen: 在輔導新創的過程中，我們也發現，進入成長期的新創，往往要面對日常營運的柴米油鹽，創業者除了保持不斷學習的心態外，也要開始學習借力使力，將更多心力聚焦在核心競爭力上。透過更開放的合作關係，來共同解決所面對的問題，這也有助縮短新產品與服務的 Time to Market，我們目前幾個與新創合作成功的經驗，大部分都有這樣的發展脈絡，彼此互相加值，一起創造雙贏成果。
Jack is an Analyst covering AppWorks Accelerator. Before joining the team, he was a co-founder and early team member at two InsurTech startups, where he developed a passion in user experience and product development. Previous to his startup journey he worked as a commercial property underwriter at Chubb Insurance in New Zealand. Jack graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Waikato University where he studied classical piano. He loves to cook, read and is a practicing stoic.
With the introduction of a new form of asset ownership such as fungible tokens (cryptocurrencies) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) powered by blockchain, accounting for production value is perhaps at the most efficient point in human history. These new tools – and any other tool that came before – change human behavior as suddenly the world we perceive now works differently. This could very well be the first ripple to forever change how humans organize and collaborate with each other.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, DAOs for short, is envisioned to be a re-invented form of community-owned organization that follows rules encoded by computer program, decision making and financial transactions following these rules are transparently made for the community and kept on blockchain ledger, creating this “trust-less” environment that open up the possibility for organizations to function without relying on total oversight such as the government or a few selected authoritative. This allows organizations to operate from anywhere in the world, as they are incorporated on-chain instead of with local sovereign regimes, and the payment for these operations can also be made to anyone in the world leveraging cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
DAOs really took off this year as all sorts of communities adopted this form of on-chain organization from gaming to DeFI, to social and non-profit organizations. The most prominent and immediate DAOs that are seeing strong traction right now are investment DAOs where people pool money together and make investments similar to an angel club. These on-chain investment DAOs are able to invest in both NFTs and tokens, while people in the DAO possess something representing their ownership stake of the collective funding. Investment DAOs have seemingly found a product-market-fit (PMF) this year.
That’s why we are very excited to make our investment into Origami, Inc., launched by veteran founder and crypto native Ben Huh, alongside Bloomberg Beta, Protocol Labs, Dylan Field, Balaji Srinivasan, and many others. Ben and his co-founders are extremely passionate about helping humans co-create their tribes and organizations by building tools and playbooks that can help scale these organizations into the future.
Origami co-founders – a true test to decentralization organization
The co-founders of Origami are spread across different time zones. Ben (CEO) and Johnny Chin (CGO) are both based in San Francisco, while Matt Voska (COO) is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Stephen Caudill (CTO) is based in Colorado. This made scheduling our calls slightly difficult with AppWorks being in Taipei. But in those early morning calls we were still able to really find resonance with the team’s passion for collaboration, even with thousands of miles between them. Which stands as a solid proof that DAOs can work and they can work very well together.
Being decentralized, the team was naturally formed on the internet like most DAOs these days. But more than just randomly DM’ing each other, the Origami team already had an interesting track record together co-founding OrangeDAO and raising US$80 million to back ambitious crypto founders around the world. The team initially connected as they were all part of different Y Combinator programs, but as YC didn’t really focus on crypto and web3, the Origami founders turned their maxed-out WhatsApp crypto group of 256 people into OrangeDAO with over 1,000 members.
The founding of OrangeDAO wasn’t by luck either. Just before the WhatsApp group started, Ben was introduced by friends to some famous internet cats that took the crypto world by storm – Cryptokittes – created by Dapper Labs, an AppWorks portfolio. Ben is a veteran when it comes to cats on the internet, having built I-Can-Has-Cheezburger.com (ICHC), a collection of User Generated Content (UGC) websites fueled with memes. And at the prime of their operation had 400 million unique views per month.
Ben immediately made the connection between the relationship of blockchain and how it can power communities in a whole new way. With his time at ICHC, Ben and his team cultivated thriving communities that produced endless streams of new content, metas, and derivative content of everything in between. However, there simply wasn’t a way to account for the values created by the community itself nor the value of cultivating the community itself. This problem seems finally solvable with the new tools brought to us by blockchain.
Onboarding the next 100,000 DAOs
The team took their learnings from OrangeDAO and made it into a framework for other investment DAOs to adopt, including Kauffman Fellows VC3 DAO, Techstars Constellation DAO, and Bessemer Venture’s BessemerDAO. But it doesn’t just stop there. Although investment DAOs have found PMF this year, there are also countless other DAOs formed and operated across Decentralized Finance, web3 gaming, open-source NFT governance, social clubs, and so much more that in 2021 alone the assets held by DAO treasuries grew 40x to US$11 billion in one year. Even the 2022 Taipei Blockchain Week is run and hosted by a DAO dubbed Bu Zhi DAO.
However, it isn’t easy to run a DAO. A lot of DAOs struggle to keep their communities engaged, select the best voting style for their community, or still find it difficult to properly communicate among their peers. And this is where Origami comes in. With the funding, Origami will be able to scale up technologies and support a variety of DAOs, with their framework in tandem to provide these new organizations a guideline on how to optimize coordination in voting, decision making, and member management so they can produce a consensus decision wherever they are and in whatever field of focus.
Places to belong
Ben, the Origami team and their investors, including we at AppWorks, all believe DAOs will play a very crucial role through onboarding general users and giving them their first web3 aha moment. At the end of the day, humans are a very diverse bunch with all sorts of different wants and needs, and each of us desires to belong and spend our time here on earth on things we find meaningful. We’ve already witnessed the result of connecting diverse communities and organizations that span around the world via Reddit or other forums alike. But for the very first time, these assorted forums of fascination can now be so much more than just text with efficient organization powered by DAOs.
At AppWorks, we look for great founders who are building new and innovative models. We’re honored to have the privilege to partner with Ben and the entire Origami team as they continue to push the envelope on DAOs and how people organize in the digital age.
【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with web3 and AI / IoT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】
Wistron has been working closely with AppWorks since 2014 and is one of the major limited partners of AppWorks Fund II and Fund III. It also invested in MoBagel (AW#16), ANIWARE (AW#17), LucidPix (AW#18), and other alumni who have graduated from AppWorks Accelerator. Wistron and AppWorks have been working closely together and have a long-term strategic partnership, and launched the Wistron Accelerator in September 2021. AppWorks, itself a leading accelerator in Greater Southeast Asia, provides core logistics and operations support.
We put together some frequently asked questions for startup teams who still had questions about the Wistron Accelerator program after reading the information on the landing page. If you have similar questions, we hope you can find the answers below.
1. What outcomes does Wistron expect to achieve through the Accelerator program? What kind of support can Wistron provide?
Some domain-specific perks include:
a. Access to C-level Mentors from Wistron subsidiaries/business units
The most significant value of this accelerator is that the C-levels of different business units at Wistron will serve as your Mentors. Startups in the Wistron Accelerator can directly discuss partnerships and business insights with C-level Mentors at Wistron, significantly increasing the chance of collaborative success.
The Mentors participating in the Wistron Accelerator are from the following business units:
Wistron Group (including Wistron Smart Device, Wistron Technology, Innovation Integration Center, and the CVC team)
People who have experience working with enterprises know that the CEO or C-level manager is usually responsible for the strategy, and their team is accountable for execution. Therefore, if you can directly communicate with high-level managers, you may significantly increase the chances of developing a strategic partnership, new services, and new business.
In addition, even though startups already have domain knowledge in their focus area, when facing different industries and large enterprises, there is still much to learn, including both hard and soft skills.
In the Wistron Accelerator program, Mentors take on the role to solve the aforementioned issues. During the accelerator period, startups will have in-depth collaboration and interaction with the heads of the designated business unit. Startups can further understand companies’ needs, plans, and insights, and learn how to work with large corporations effectively.
b. Exclusive PoC collaboration with Wistron
Startups running B2B businesses know that it takes a long time to successfully onboard corporate partners because of the different organizational nature and the longer decision-making processes. It’s very common to take a quarter or even more than six months to kick off a collaboration.
Wistron Accelerator has thoughtfully planned the schedule, process, and goals to speed up the collaboration process. The startups participating in the Wistron Accelerator will directly collaborate with Wistron’s business units or subsidiaries to come up with a PoC. During the program, AppWorks will facilitate the discussion and implementation of the PoC. Startups can develop the minimum viable product (MVP) within the four-month timeline and further discuss more in-depth collaboration after the program.
2. What are the important factors you consider when evaluating applications?
The application review process combines AppWorks’s experience in mentoring startups and Wistron’s industry expertise. We are looking for founders who continuously work on themselves and have a clear North Star in their founder journey, which we believe will help founders overcome obstacles and build up the product’s core competitive advantages.
The following questions can help you think about whether you are suitable to join Wistron Accelerator:
Why did you start your business?
What problem do you want to solve? Why?
What efforts have you made in solving these problems?
How is your product different from existing solutions?
What do you expect from the collaboration with Wistron? What value can you bring to Wistron?
3. Is there a charge for the Wistron Accelerator? If we need capital now, will we receive investment after joining?
Wistron Accelerator is an entirely free service for founders. We will not ask for rent, service fees, or any types of concessions such as stock, options, revenue, or profit-sharing. At the same time, every enrolled startup will receive a NT$200K subsidy from Wistron, which is not in exchange for any shares.
Wistron has been a bullish strategic investor, in recent years investing more than NT$10 billion with a total of 60 companies in their portfolio. In 2020, Wistron established a corporate venture capital (CVC) team and is actively looking into strategic investments. Startups selected for the Wistron Accelerator will have the opportunity to discuss further collaboration or investment with Wistron CVC, business units, or its subsidiaries during and after the program.
4. Why does Wistron recruit startups only from AI, IoT, cloud, cyber security, education, and medical technology industries?
Wistron is one of the world’s leading manufacturers in the ICT industry. In recent years, Wistron has been investing in R&D, tech innovation, and diversified product development, and has also seized on the growing trend of cloud applications. They have successfully integrated a multitude of hardware devices, software services, and cloud applications, and offer technical service platforms and solutions. During this time they have also expanded their business to new fields like education, corporate services, IoT, and medical care.
Through the Wistron Accelerator, Wistron hopes to share its industry experience and rich resources with startups, and to explore innovative opportunities by working on a PoC together. Wistron is happy to be one of the case studies for startups to test their B2B solution. Wistron Group also expects to develop growth opportunities for the next decade through this collaboration.
5. What stage of startups is suitable for the Wistron Accelerator?
We do not have a strict standard on the stage of the startup. But we do recommend startups that have experience working with enterprises or have a few proven PoCs to apply. These startups should be able to better utilize the four-month timeline and can reasonably expect a certain level of results from the program.
If you are still in the MVP stage and have not yet defined your target customers, we would suggest you focus on developing your product first, try to get some initial users, collect feedback, and iterate accordingly. Once you validate the problem you want to solve and know the core advantage of your product, that will be a better time to apply for the Wistron Accelerator.
If you already have a product prototype but have not yet established a company, we recommend that you complete the company setup process first. From our experience, it can help you onboard business partners and initiate collaborations more efficiently.
AppWorks can provide professional accounting and legal services to help founders set up a company, whether you are from Taiwan or overseas.
6. I am not a citizen of Taiwan. Can you help me get a visa?
Wistron and AppWorks can assist international founders enrolled in the Wistron Accelerator to apply for the Entrepreneur Visa, the employment Gold Card or the Business Visa based on certain conditions. Founders from overseas can concentrate on their work without worrying about visa issues.
We will closely track government border policies regarding COVID-19 and provide adequate support as the policy changes.
7. While participating in the Wistron Accelerator, do we have to stay at Wistron’s office all day from Monday to Friday? Can we participate remotely?
We do not stipulate work locations. Every startup will discuss the meeting frequency, and format with the Mentor on a case-by-case basis.
If you need coworking space during the accelerator program, you can reach out to Wistron and AppWorks. We can provide free coworking space based on your needs.
8. The application questions are written in English. Will writing in Chinese affect the score?
Wistron Accelerator’s application has 26 questions, covering team, product, business model, market analysis, etc. It requires a certain amount of time and effort to fill out. We hope that by this design, we can help every team clarify their current status and the assistance they are looking for.
Filling in the application is like having a health check-up. Founders must think profoundly about their products, market strategies, team and the overall industry environment. Therefore, regardless of if you decide to apply or not, we still recommend you to carefully think about these questions.
We encourage you to answer in English; however, using Chinese will not affect the results. The most important thing is to express your views clearly. Furthermore, we also encourage the founder (CEO) to make a one-minute self-introduction video for us to get to know you better.
9. What is the difference between the first round and final round application?
Wistron Accelerator’s admission is on a rolling basis. Based on previous experience, teams that applied earlier had a higher chance of being selected. They could also know the results earlier to have adequate time to plan for the PoC. Therefore, we encourage founders to apply early to avoid high competition during the final application deadline.
We hope the answers mentioned above can help you clarify any questions about the Wistron Accelerator.
If there are further questions, please send a message to us or write to: [email protected]. We will reply to you as soon as possible.
[Calling founders working on AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, EduTech, and MedTech. The deadline for the Early Bird Round is December 5, 2022]