AppWorks 公布 2019 Year in Review 年終總回顧:生態系累計募資突破 10 億美元、創造上萬個工作機會,2020 年持續聚焦 ABS 發展策略

正逢歲末年終之際,在 2020 年即將邁入第十年的 AppWorks,於昨晚 (1/7) 舉辦 AppWorks Accelerator  聯合大尾牙。這是 AppWorks 每年最重要的活動之一,不僅邀請 AppWorks Accelerator 歷屆新創校友與員工們回娘家,也藉此讓人數較為精簡的新創員工們同歡,一同感受聯合尾牙的溫馨、熱鬧、抽大獎的氣氛,這次尾牙,總共約 80 支新創團隊、近 400 人參加。

AppWorks Accelerator 聯合大尾牙,AppWorks 董事長暨合夥人林之晨和歷屆新創校友與員工們熱鬧同歡。

在尾牙席間,AppWorks 也公布 2019 Year in Review 年終總回顧專屬網頁,展現過去一整年的成果。回顧 2019 年,在 AppWorks Accelerator 創業加速器、The AppWorks Ecosystem 校友生態系、AppWorks Funds 創投基金,以及 AppWorks School 數位人才培育等各面向上,AppWorks 都寫下重要里程碑,持續結合各界資源,努力推升台灣成為大東南亞 (東協 + 台灣) 數位經濟的發展重鎮。展望 2020 年,AppWorks 則將持續聚焦於 ABS (AI、Blockchain、Southeast Asia) 長期發展策略。

回顧 2019 年,是 AppWorks 豐收的一年,繳出了各項亮眼的成績單。其中,大東南亞校友規模最大的 AppWorks Accelerator,正加速吸引來自以大東南亞為主的 AI / IoT 與 Blockchain 新創來台北進駐,持續扮演大東南亞領先的創業加速器。在 2019 年畢業的 AW#18、AW#19 共 48 支新創團隊,其中 29 支以 AI / IoT、19 支以 Blockchain 為創業主題,這群優秀的創業者中,有出身自 Google、Microsoft、Ripple、Uber、Amazon、Qualcomm、Samsung、聯發科技、Agoda 高管所創辦的公司,也有來自 Y-Combinator 的校友、獲選為 Forbes 30 Under 30 的年輕創業家以及《端傳媒》的創辦人。此外,48 支團隊中,73% 為台灣以外的國際團隊,其中更有超過六成的新創團隊來自東南亞,包括香港、新加坡、越南、馬來西亞、印尼。兩屆團隊也分別在各自的 Demo Day 登場,展現讓人驚艷的創業實力與能量,兩場 Demo Day,各吸引超過 1,200 位投資人、業界代表出席。

AppWorks 生態系里程碑:突破千名創業者、10 億美元募資、創造 1 萬名就業人數

隨著 AW#18 與 AW#19 兩屆生力軍的加入,以及 AppWorks Accelerator 歷屆新創校友們的共同努力,在 2019 年帶動 The AppWorks Ecosystem 校友生態系大幅成長。活躍新創累積至 376 家、共 1,113 位創業者;全體總估值達到 47.2 億美元  (約為 1,440 億新台幣),較前一年成長 29%;生態系累積募資金額為 11.1 億美元 (約為 339 億新台幣),年增率達 36%;所有新創的加總年營業額來到 49.7 億美元 (約為 1,516 億新台幣),較 2018 年大幅成長 98%;整體新創提供的就業人數達 11,162 位,年增率為 16%。其中,創業者人數、整體募資金額、創造的就業數量,分別突破 1,000 位、10 億美元、1 萬位的整數關卡,不僅因此寫下新歷史,也代表 AppWorks 生態系將在 2020 年起的下一個十年,換檔進入另一個成長階段。

回顧 2019 年,AppWorks Accelerator 有多家新創校友,繳出了以下的亮眼成績:

AppWorks Accelerator 校友好成績:VoiceTube 拓展日本、越南市場;WeMo Scooter 累積騎乘數突破 500 萬人次

2010 年成立、專攻成效型行銷廣告的 Tagtoo 塔圖科技 (AW#1),是台灣最早一批投入 AI 領域的代表新創。除了站穩台灣市場外,Tagtoo 近年也積極拓展大東南亞市場,繼 2018 年

獲得亞洲知名行銷社群 CMO Asia 評選為 2018 年印尼最佳品牌獎之後,Tagtoo 在 2019 年完成 180 萬美元 A 輪募資,持續拓展並深耕印尼市場。

台灣規模最大的寵物連鎖服務業集團 WonderPet 萬達寵物,在 2019 年完成購併 Petpetgo 毛孩市集 (AW#3) 。根據預估,2020 年台灣毛小孩數量將達 280 萬,首度超越 15 歲以下兒童,在台灣持續成長的毛孩經濟中,兩者的結合,將有助更進一步擴展市場版圖。

台灣最大的語言科技教育平台 VoiceTube (AW#7),在 2019 年完成 350 萬美元的 A 輪融資,將用於拓展日本、越南等海外市場,以及強化產品技術與開發。目前 VoiceTube 擁有 360 萬用戶,月活躍用戶達 150 萬,其中日本用戶超過 25 萬人,預估 2019 年營收為 2018 年的 3 倍。

VoiceTube 在台灣寫下傲人成績後,未來將進一步拓展日本、越南市場。

台灣最具代表性的 AI 安全監控新創 Umbo CV (AW#9),在 2019 年完成 800 萬美元的 A+ 輪募資,將繼續加速國際化拓展。Umbo CV 目前擁有來自全球 30 個國家、超過 200 家企業客戶,是台灣在 AI 領域中,國際化拓展最為成功的新創典範之一。

台灣知名的計程車叫車平台 TaxiGo (AW#11),在 2019 年獲得 LINE 投資,並成為最大股東,TaxiGo 也因此更名為 LINE Taxi。LINE 正在打造「Life on LINE」全方位的數位生活圈,LINE Taxi 便是其中在交通領域的重要佈局。

台灣最大、亞洲第一個推出的共享電動車服務的 WeMo Scooter (AW#12) 在 2019 年歡慶成立三週年,並完成多項重要里程碑。包括進軍高雄市,全台投放量突破 5,000 台,累積超過 500 萬次騎乘數,平均每 5.7 秒就有一人租借 WeMo。

WeMo Scooter 在 2019 年順利突破 500 萬次騎乘數。

台灣領先的股票投資資訊與下單行動平台 Fugle 富果 (AW#12),2019 年獲得玉山證券、國發會等共 2,900 萬新台幣的天使輪投資。目前,Fugle 的 App 用戶突破 8 萬人,並在六個月內創下總交易金額 (GTV) 突破五億新台幣的佳績。

大東南亞最大現金回饋平台 ShopBack (AW#13),在 2019 年完成 4,500 萬美元募資,將持續拓展大東南亞區業務,穩坐龍頭寶座。ShopBack 於 2014 年在新加坡成立,五年來,已陸續拓展至馬來西亞、菲律賓、印尼、台灣、泰國、澳洲等市場。

台灣最大美髮設計師預約平台 StyleMap 美配 (AW#14),在 2019 年完成近 2,000 萬新台幣的Pre-A輪募資,此輪資金將投入平台新開發的行動支付功能「美Pay」,並跨出美髮領域,前進相關產業如美甲、美容、美睫。成立三年多來,StyleMap 平台上累積超過 8,000 名設計師, 平均每月成功媒合美髮服務的次數高達 2 萬次。

領先亞洲開發出社群電商整單系統的 FBbuy (AW#15),在 2019 年獲台灣直播平台龍頭 M17 購併,並更名為「HandsUP 舉手購物」,共同進軍直播電商市場。在直播電商新業務的挹注下,M17集團預計在 2019 年營收將突破 100 億新台幣。

香港共享工作空間平台 Booqed (AW#15),在 2019 年完成 168 萬美元的種子輪募資。Booqed 現擁有超過 35 家企業客戶,涵蓋科技、保險和零售等行業,在香港、深圳、新加坡等三個城市,共擁有 1,600 筆房源。

自動化機器學習 (AutoML) 新創 MoBagel 行動貝果 (AW#16),2019 年完成 500 萬美元 A 輪募資,用來加速普及 AutoML 技術至需要準確預測的企業。MoBagel 客戶來自美國、日本、中國及台灣,涵蓋政府部門、電信業、零售業、製造業、金融保險業等領域,預計 2019 年營收維持倍數成長。

成立於新加坡、在大東南亞居於領先的限量潮牌運動鞋與服飾電商 Novelship (AW#16),在 2019 年完成規模 205 萬美元的種子輪募資,新資金將用來拓展香港、馬來西亞、印尼市場。

台灣第一家透過 App 即時媒合酒後代駕服務的 TWDD 台灣代駕 (AW#16),2019 年宣布獲得規模 130 萬美元的 A 輪募資。自從 2016 年正式上線後,至今已經服務超過 3 萬名顧客,累計達成 20 萬趟代駕服務,近兩年每月平均以兩位數的成長率持續發展。

推出全球第一款 AI 智慧寶寶攝影機的 Cubo (AW#16),繼 2018 年於群眾募資網站上架,創下 30 分鐘內集資破百萬、2 小時內破 300 萬、總金額突破千萬新台幣的好成績後,在 2019 年進一步完成 400 萬美元的 A 輪募資,持續衝刺全球第一名寶座。

台灣領先、專注於開發嵌入式軟體平台、打造 Hardware-as-a-Service 硬體孵化育成模式的 Soda Labs (AW#17),在 2019 年完成 200 萬美元的種子輪募資,通過與 OEM 大廠合作孵化電子硬體、開發嵌入式軟體和可擴展的商業模式,加快硬體創新的腳步。

AppWorks Funds 影響力大增:三檔創投基金總規模達 1.7 億美元

在 AppWorks Funds,同樣也有不俗的表現。2019 年,隨著台灣大哥大、富邦人壽、國泰人壽、緯創資通、宏泰集團、群益金鼎證券以及國發基金成為 AppWorks Fund III 的主要股東,累計 AppWorks 旗下管理的三檔創投基金,總資金規模為 1.7 億美元 (約 51 億新台幣),因此成為大東南亞區域內,較具規模的創業投資機構。

AppWorks Funds 近年,逐漸聚焦於 ABS (AI、Blockchain、Southeast Asia) 策略上,在 2019 年 AppWorks Funds 也完成 11 項投資案。包括開發 CryptoKitties (迷戀貓) 紅遍全球、以 Blockchain 提供新娛樂應用體驗的 Dapper Labs;提供 AI 驅動的家庭安全監控攝影網絡的 Deep Sentinel;以及來自印尼,打造線上學習平台的 HarukaEDU、推動革命性支付應用服務的 Infra Digital。在 AppWorks Funds 既有的投資案上,也有多家新創展現驚人的成長爆發力,包括晉身為獨角獸、在大東南亞超過 260 個城市提供共享快遞物流服務的 Lalamove;亞洲最大旅遊體驗平台 KKday 則持續保持每年三位數成長、月活躍用戶 (MAU) 高達 640 萬人。

AppWorks School 關鍵數字:91.6% 畢業學員順利轉任軟體工程師

人才是新創企業最重要的資產,為了因應新創以及網路企業對軟體工程師的龐大需求,同時也提供想投入數位、網路與電商產業的人才,重新快速學習與成長的機會。AppWorks 在 2016 年 6 月開辦 AppWorks School,現經營有 iOS、Android 與 Web 專班。透過免費、實作、高效、與業界結合的紮實培訓計畫,培育新一代的優秀工程師。

自 2016 年創辦以來,AppWorks School 已有 179 名學員順利畢業。其中 91.6% 成功在網路公司擔任軟體工程師,包括 momo 購物網、91APP、KKBOX、LINE TV、WeMo Scooter、LineTaxi、Hahow、VoiceTube、OmniChat 以及 Gogoro,起始年薪中位數近 70 萬新台幣,學員表現在業界也享有極佳口碑。AppWorks School 的成功模式,為所有想踏入數位產業的年輕朋友提供了一條最快速、有效的道路,也幫新創團隊和網路公司補足人才缺口。

AppWorks School 成立三年多來,已有 179 名畢業學員順利畢業,其中 91.6% 成功在網路公司擔任軟體工程師。

回顧 2019 年,AppWorks 董事長暨合夥人林之晨說:「2019 年是 AppWorks 大放異彩的一年。我們將與各界繼續一起合作、持續努力,為大東南亞的數位經濟浪潮貢獻更多力量,敬請期待我們 2020 年的表現。」不論是在 AppWorks 整體生態系、AppWorks Accelerator 校友、AppWorks Funds、AppWorks School 等各面向,2019 年都有遠優於往年的成果,代表歷經多年努力後,AppWorks 的飛輪效應正進入換檔加速階段。

歲末年終,趁此回顧機會,林之晨也代表 AppWorks 全體,對曾在 2019 年協助過 AppWorks 的各界夥伴致謝。他說:「衷心感謝所有給 AppWorks 機會、接受我們服務的創業者,也感謝所有熱情付出輔導新創的 AppWorks Mentors,還要感謝包括 Amazon、Microsoft、Google 等國際企業在內的平台夥伴,以及 AppWorks Funds 的投資人、創投業界先進,以及政府部門的夥伴們,在 2019 年給我們的支持和指導。最後,當然也要感謝媒體朋友們對 AppWorks 的照顧。2020 年,也請大家繼續和我們一起奮鬥、努力翻轉台灣與大東南亞。」

Economic and Innovation Developments in GSEA Should Be Tempting More Founders to Launch Startups in the Region by Leveraging Taiwan

This map tracks the quarterly economic and technological changes in a region that should be the dominant startup generating region throughout the next decade.

Douglas Crets, Communications Master
Douglas is the English Master in Communication. A passionate marketing strategist and content writer, he spent three years with Microsoft in Silicon Valley managing the global social media marketing strategy for BizSpark, Microsoft’s Azure and software program for entrepreneurs. Douglas has a deep love for technology, literature and travel. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. One day, he hopes to travel around the world for a year.

The latest Map of Greater Southeast Asia’s digital economies, which we develop at least once every quarter, is indicating to founders in Greater Southeast Asia that the rise of mobile broadband in economies where GDP growth is accelerating past 6 per cent is setting the stage for amazing improvisation in tech use and commercial problem-solving.

It may come as a surprise to some, but Taiwan can play a pivotal role in that innovation surge. I have written a few thoughts about this to show you what we mean.

As the supporter of the largest accelerator-born community in the region focused on tech founders, our team watches closely these developments. Our portfolio companies and the 1113 founders and 376 active startups of our Accelerator alumni network are living examples of the magnet that Taiwan has become for founders in this region. 

Starting small, in a huge region called GSEA

We refer to this region as Greater Southeast Asia (GSEA), positioning it as ASEAN + Taiwan, inclusive of such territories as Hong Kong and Macau, and East Timor. The nomenclature is driven by our observation of consumption habits and statistical data, as you can see in the map below, which hangs in our accelerator space. 

We include Taiwan in this grouping because its economic evolution has become something of a beacon for SEA founders who want to build beachheads around the region. Let’s start with a single statistic to understand why. 

The total e-commerce economy market size in Taiwan is USD$42 billion. This is almost 66 per cent of the size of the entire GSEA combined.

Founders who emerge in GSEA and come to Taiwan to grow stronger 

This unique attribute of Taiwan is a magnet. There is also a push factor in ASEAN nations. That mechanism is prompting SEA founders to seek out a tested, developed market for their ideas.

This movement is observable through growth statistics that suggest a plethora of pent up consumption demand driven by tech adoption and through example companies that have done it. Let’s start with the country data. 

Five countries in GSEA show growth in GDP per capita of over 6 per cent, as of last year. They are Cambodia at 6.83 per cent; Laos at 6.72 per cent; Vietnam at 6.5 per cent; the Philippines at 6.47 per cent; Myanmar at 6.45 per cent. Indonesia and East Timor show growth of 5.2 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. 

In Vietnam, a country of 95 million people, many early-stage startups are rapidly developing — Sky Mavis; Axie Infinity; Triip.me (AW#18). Engineering talent that moved overseas and went to tough schools like Harvard have now come back and are starting new companies by the dozens. 

In Indonesia, we have seen the growth of five unicorns, including Gojek and Bukalapak. In other areas, it’s not so straightforward. 

Google recently released yearly results from a long-term study that looked at the potential for SEA’s growth. 

Useful data by Google shows that GSEA presents great opportunities for smart founders who want to leverage a glut of software to reach populations that exist outside of the mainstream marketplaces — from Google’s E-economy report, Swipe Up and to the Right

Today, seven urban centres drive over 50 per cent of the internet economy in the countries depicted in GSEA. The “beyond metros,” or rural areas of a few SEA countries, account for 85 per cent of the population, but only 48 per cent of the Internet economy, as you can see from the picture below. 

While use cases may exist for tech, and while consumer demand may be growing, it’s harder to really scale in some emerging markets without solid strategies and consistent talent.

Even though the creativity and innovation ideas are off the charts, many things like stagnant offline players, unavailability of engineering talent, government red tape and just pure infrastructure fragmentation stand in the way of “moving fast and breaking things,” so to speak. 

SEA founders are coming to Taiwan is because they see a microcosm of development opportunities in Taiwan that they can take back to the rest of Asia, after getting focused here.

“Taiwan was a great gateway to Chinese-speaking countries [in SEA],” says Triip.me founder Hai Ho (AW#18). “There are [also] 200,000 and growing Vietnamese living in Taiwan. There are more daily direct flights between Taiwan and Vietnam, too. It is a good market.” 

AppWorks startups are gaining momentum in Taiwan

Over 376 AppWorks startups have continued to scale and expand by staging in Taiwan through our Accelerator or by becoming one of the AppWorks portfolio companies. Over 1,113 founders in our network have helped the country become a focal point for this region’s growth. 

These companies demonstrate just how nimbly a company locating in Taiwan can grow, figure out e-commerce strategies, and even acquire other companies and engineering teams while nurturing a huge market inside and outside of Taiwan. 

Shopback (AW#13), the e-rebates payment platform founded by Henry Chan and Joel Leong in Singapore, came to Taiwan to scale up their e-commerce knowledge and market deployment. 

Shopback has reported annualized sales figures of USD$500 million a year. It has operations in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Some other investments include 91APP (Taiwan’s Shopify); Carousell, which has localised to Taiwan by building an office here (it’s also localised in several other ASEAN markets). 

Taiwan is also the kind of place where you can build a company, or two, and IPO them, in a relatively quick time. For example, Jerry Kuo, one of the two siblings that started Kuobrothers, IPO’d in 2016. Jerry then IPO’d a second company that grew out of the original Kuobrothers Group, called MobiX, earlier this year. 

There’s also M17, started by Singaporean Joseph Phua. M17 started as a dating app company called Paktor and was based in Singapore. Joseph merged that company with a Taiwanese company called 17 Media to form what is fast becoming a massive social entertainment company that focuses on live-streaming. A recent acquisition of competitor MeMe Live has brought M17’s live stream market share to over 60 per cent in SEA’s developed markets. That wasn’t the only M17 procurement, though. 

M17 bought AppWorks Accelerator alum FBbuy, a company that developed an innovative way for people to buy items on Facebook. If someone simply typed in “+1,” in a comment, the scanning app would move the coveted item being discussed into a shopping cart. Joseph acquired that company and integrated it into a live-streaming commerce app called HandsUp

Early-stage is also heading to Taiwan

There are also a number of early-stage companies with inherent exposure to SEA who have heeded the call to come to Taiwan. 

At our upcoming Demo Day #19, over 65 per cent of the cohort will have originated or started their startup ideas in GSEA. Two female founders offer some examples.

Annie Zhang, from Hong Kong, will pitch Matters Lab as a decentralised platform for media and content sharing, which enables content providers to generate their own immutable content and get paid for it. They’ve generated about 25,000 customers in seven months. 

Telepod founder Jin-Ni Gan, a Malaysian living in Singapore, will also pitch. At a recent mentor day, she showed off her miniEV startup already operating in seven markets in the region. 

Telepod founder Jin-Ni Gan explains her product line and founder story to a room of Taiwan’s most successful entrepreneurs and corporate executives during Cohort #19’s Mentor Day, September 2019

Her last slide was a photo of kids without shoes walking down a dirt road that cut through what looked like smoke from a jungle fire at a rubber plantation.

“My childhood was similar to this one,” she said, and then ended her pitch with the message that tech and creativity have a strong potential to make this life better for billions of people. 

That’s a story that is familiar to many founders here in Taiwan, and it’s one that will only scale rapidly in time. As the region grows, the probability that mission-driven founders who are intent on building fast-moving scalable startups will see that Taiwan is a launchpad for the regional market.

Another quick look at the GSEA market landscape should give founders, and investors, something to think about. 

Out of the five countries mentioned earlier that have GDP growth north of 6 per cent, three of them — Cambodia, Laos, and East Timor — have mobile internet penetration rates under 40 per cent. 

Myanmar, which has 21 million Internet users, only provides Internet to 36 per cent of its population. Nearly all of those users — 99.8 per cent — get their Internet through mobile phones.

In emerging market economies, a glut of software and tech availability is enabling founders to test use cases for new technology and consumer products.  Often, these use cases employ leapfrog innovations that are further ahead than the traditional infrastructure or tech use cases in developed markets. 

After spending six months in Taiwan, XFers (#18) teamed up with Zilliqa in Singapore to launch a stablecoin. The lack of avenues for remittances makes the mobile form factor an attractive device for gaining access to capital and tapping into new virtual banks and blockchain technologies. Going forward , data seems to indicate that this innovation in SE Asia driven by a connection to Taiwan will be more prevalent. And it will continue to shape fintech and more.

If you are a founder working on AI and / or Blockchain, you can stay updated on our Accelerator application process and news by visiting our AppWorks Accelerator page. Our next application process starts very soon.

 


The Warlord In the Park: How x-Googler Andy Cheng Used Constant Problem-Solving to Deliver Better Products to the Market and Grow His Startup

foundi Founder Andy Cheng

Douglas Crets, Communications Master

Douglas is the English Master in Communication. A passionate marketing strategist and content writer, he spent three years with Microsoft in Silicon Valley managing the global social media marketing strategy for BizSpark, Microsoft’s Azure and software program for entrepreneurs. Douglas has a deep love for technology, literature and travel. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. One day, he hopes to travel around the world for a year.

First attempts at startup products usually fall short. This can be really frustrating, but early-stage founders don’t often realize that these false starts are real opportunities.

Why? When founders give this product to new users, they are trying to help a new customer fare better than those “normal” people who do things in what founders consider the “old way.”

Most people using a new feature or a product for the first time are used to doing business, or experiencing something in what they consider the normal way. They are not like the founder, who has dreamed up a vision of how things should be done. When a founder gives this new product to a potential customer, he or she is trying to do three things:

  1. Sell the product!
  2. Integrate this new vision into the customer’s reality.
  3. Solve a problem that often a potential customer didn’t even know they had.

This new approach takes time to understand and appreciate. It’s almost like taking someone and plopping them down in a new culture, or in a different era somewhere far into the future. By giving these potential customers something very new, they will approach it with some skepticism, some doubt, and some reasons why it won’t work.

As a result, it’s inevitable that a first trial will end in incremental data and not much customer acquisition.

But this new confrontation with tech is a chance to seek feedback. This feedback creates a cycle of improvement. This is why founders who struggle with their own problem first usually have a better chance of finding product-market fit.

I will tell you a story about a founder who went through the AppWorks Accelerator and launched his own product successfully to demonstrate this point.

The park

It was a spring day in Taipei around the year 2011 and then-Googler Andy Cheng was looking for a house to buy. Married and with a young son, Andy wanted a property his family could grow into. A real estate agent showed him a house in a desirable neighborhood. A stretch of park just behind the house meant this was exactly what he was looking for.

Andy nearly made an offer. Then he found out that the park was slated for school construction. Rushing to close, the broker hid this from Andy. The seed of an idea was planted in Andy’s mind.

“I thought, ‘Man, what else have you not told me,’” says Andy, as he looked back at how he developed foundi (AppWorks #8), a real estate listing platform.

The first thought Andy had had when he set to work was not: How could he solve the problem of a culture of manipulation and secrecy that seemed endemic to real estate brokers?

He only sees that his startup could make an impact in that area in retrospect. Like many founders, Andy’s MVP alone didn’t help the real end user — at the time, house buyers — but it started a process that eventually got him there. And this is really important for early founders to understand.

A new product alone is never enough to create scale and customer growth. You have to do a whole lot of digging to get there.

How it all started

From Andy’s perspective, there were so many houses to choose from, so wouldn’t trust and honesty be the winning factor for an agent closing a contract?

Andy learned that relatively low-paid real estate agents live off of commission, and in doing so, they often worked in ferocious competition against each other, even in the same agencies. In contract bidding — even before negotiations — the potential future sale of a home often goes to the agent that creates the most perfect too good to be true contract. House sellers want a good return, so agents will find ways to make their pitch of the future contract as lucrative as possible.

It doesn’t matter if the price is true, or if it accurately reflects the true conditions of the house. It’s every man for himself.

It gets worse!

Since every agent is motivated by commission, agents who are first to find the listing will also try to hide the listing info from other agents, making it nearly impossible for other agents to pitch a contract.

This unethical weirdness became more than an engineering puzzle for Andy, who was quite proficient with software programming and maps. Previously, he had worked as one of Google’s first hires in Taiwan, managing a team of engineers in the maps division. Code and problem-solving are in his wheelhouse. “I always go to the computer to code, to figure things out,” he says. But to tackle this problem, he had to go beyond the screen.

He created an early version of foundi. House sellers and buyers would use that version to find information about listings. But they took this info back to agents and used it to try to haggle better deals. This put burdens on the buyers of houses, though; this was exactly the position Andy was in before and didn’t want.

The founder becomes the warlord

He booked meetings with influential agencies and set up face-to-face consultations. He discovered that real estate agents were typically not the best performers in school. They are also technology-averse. It explained a lot.

With the right technology, they wouldn’t have had to be dishonest to compete. By sitting down and walking through foundi features with early adopter agents, Andy finally got to a point where he was able to convince more of them to use the product.

Like an arms dealer selling his weapons to different cartels, Andy started to spread his tool to different agencies. Whereas previously agents in the same agencies would be pitted against each other, teams began to perform at a higher level. Other agencies saw agencies doing better, and wanted the same tool.

“I felt like I was a warlord,” Andy jokes.

Has he made the market more transparent? It’s hard to say this early in the game. But according to Andy, this counterintuitive outcome holds promise.

By taking away the old things that made agents competitive — their secrecy and manipulation — he has actually made real estate agents more competitive. Therein lies a fundamental concept of startup building, and the core reason why data drives product development. Early-stage founders might take note of this technique.

Now, Andy’s customers number about 12,000 agents of the total 40,000 in Taiwan, who rely on foundi to serve their customers better and in turn maximize their income. Andy takes a long-term approach to this door-to-door sales effort.

Creating new tech to solve real problems is really the experience of giving people new mental models to live a better life. If a founder has a good head on his shoulders, and is passionate about what he’s doing, he will eventually build something that people need, in a market people didn’t know could exist. No newly launched product can do this immediately. It’s always a process, and it involves founders stepping away from the computer and even leaving the building, to get it right.

Answers, and your product, exist in people’s heads and hearts, whether they know it or not. As a founder, you are quite simply the enabler that will help them experience that by delivering a tangible good that unlocks a mental model. Think of it as a game, with a constant state of going on side quests. Without those quests, you cannot complete the journey.

2019H2 台灣 Blockchain 生態地圖,寒冬後的曙光

Ching Tseng, Associate (曾意晴 / 投資經理)

負責區塊鏈投資,尤其專注東南亞市場。學生時期曾於 AppWorks 實習一年半,2015 年政大企管系畢業後正式加入擔任分析師,主要參與投資案相關業務,最得意的案例是協助 CHOCO TV 從 A 輪一路到被 LINE 併入。是我們的年輕人趨勢專家,2019 正式升任經理。平常熱愛嚐鮮、美食以及旅遊。

過去兩年,Blockchain 與 Cryptocurrency 的發展變化十分劇烈。歷經 ICO 熱潮、雨後春筍般的公鏈誕生、長達數年的牛市,在 2018 年,隨著 Cryptocurrency 幣價下跌,Blockchain 進入長達一年的熊市,而在 2019 年下半,隨著幣價回穩,Bitcoin 價格在年中一度逼近 13,000 美元,市場漸漸再度熱絡起來。綜觀整個 Blockchain 鏈圈,現今留下一群體會一番激情,又見證了海水退去的倖存者,也因著如此,許多 Blochchain 的新創團隊,朝著更落地的應用走去,亦有團隊朝更純粹的技術提供方發展而去。

AppWorks Accelerator 每半年更新一次「2019 H2 台灣 Blockchain 生態系地圖」(The Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map 19H2) 的過程中,我們發現,在過去半年中,台灣的 Blockchain 生態系,正在逐漸展現幾項值得關注的新面貌:

(原始檔案下載:Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem 19H2)

帶著台灣 DNA 與國際齊頭前進

走過硬體代工製造的盛世後,台灣在軟體的發展即便日趨成熟,卻仍缺少了一些國際發光的色彩。即便陸續有一些軟體、Internet 服務相關的新創,逐漸在亞洲嶄露頭角,但相較於歐美業者,總會有些許時間差上的進度落後。然而,或許是因為 Blockchain 本身的技術特性,新創從成立 Day 1,就必須以做出區域級、甚至於全球的服務為目標,所以,台灣的 Blockchain 新創團隊,在跟上全球最新發展上,並沒有絲毫落後,在遊戲、DeFi 等垂直項目中,都可以看到台灣新創的身影。

過去半年,即便台灣的 Blockchain 新創業團隊增加速度減緩,但整體生態系的深度與質量,卻有顯著提升。例如,在這之中,我們發現不少創業已有一段時日的團隊,所打造的 Module 開始外銷,在全球各類 Blockchain 服務商所打造的服務體系中,這些台灣新創所打造的 Module,成為其中重要的一環,頗類似台積電的晶圓代工模式,讓台灣製造的 IC 成為全球科技產業不可或缺的關鍵零件。以 AppWorks Accelerator 第 17 屆 (AW#17) FundersToken (現名為 FST Network) 為例,所開發的 Module,便被多家保險、物流以及交易所所採納,成為其他 Blockchain 服務的關鍵技術提供商。Softbank 旗下的虛擬資產交易所,亦採用 CoolBitX 冷錢包團隊所開發的 SYGNA KYC 系統

低潮之下脫胎換骨的新局

2019 上半年,Blockchain 新創圈頗負盛名的 Cobinhood / DEXON 宣告解散,對台灣 Blockchain 發展無非是一大打擊。然而,在低潮之下,卻也釋放出大量優秀的人才,產生了至少四組的 Blockchain 新創團隊。例如,曾擔任 DEXON 工程團隊主管的 Hsuan 李玄以及 BD 團隊主管的 Edwin 顏維佐,就共同創辦 portto (AW#19),組建了七人團隊,一起開始了另一段旅程,嘗試以透過開發更優質的 Blockchain 瀏覽器,降低用戶使用 DApp 的進入門檻,目前也已經與同為 DEXON 出身的前技術長黃偉寧打造的 Tangerine,以及區塊鏈工程團隊沛理科技,一起推出去中心化版本 BBS。

台灣 Blockchain 社群活絡

過去一年,全球各地不少的 Blockchain 產業論壇、社群活動的規模皆相對縮減,然而,台灣 Blockchain 相關的論壇與社群活動,參與度依舊相當熱絡,同時技術含金量高。無論是由 Taipei Ethereum Meetup 所主辦的 Crosslink 或者是由 AW#16 BlockTempo 所舉辦的 Asia Blockchain Summit 都依舊盛大舉行。以 Asia Blockchain Summit 為例,講者多達 135 位,參與者亦有 4,000 位。此外,知名團隊 Maicoin 也推出了 MAX 實體店,強化社群活動以及提供線下 KYC 服務,降低一般用戶進入加密貨幣市場的門檻。

機構投資人投資力道未減,但形式更多元

隨著產業的發展,以及市場不再追捧,無論是創業者或者是投資人,對於 Token 是否為 Blockchain 商業模式中的必要元素,都有了更深的反思與了解。即便是以投資 Token 起家的 Crypto Fund,都已逐漸不再純以 Token 經濟為單一投資工具,而是加上可轉債、或是傳統投資股權來支持新創團隊。

Blockchain 政策有進度

過去半年,台灣Blockchain 生態系除了團隊持續發展外,政府的對應政策也比半年前更有進展。討論以久的 Security Token (證券型代幣),台灣證券櫃買中心於 9 月公布相關細節,或許考量在產業發展初期避免重大缺失,設計上相對略為保守,新創團隊能透過 STO 募資最高上限為新台幣 3,000 萬,同時募資平台亦有資本額限制,投資方對於個體戶限制多,若非專業法人或基金,自然人每案認購金額的上限為 10 萬元。

由國家發展委員會推動成立的台灣區塊鏈大聯盟,在 2019 年 7 月成立後,也在 9 月會員大會中,推出 Blockchain 服務運用計畫。包含公共服務、金融保險、能源、醫療、農業五大領域共 12 項計畫,負責機構也涵蓋了包括中央銀行、金管會、內政部等多個政府單位。除此之外,國發會亦直接投資鏈科科技、思偉達創新科技兩支 Blockchain 新創團隊

2019 下半年,台灣 Blockchain 生態系無論在新創團隊的產品開發、社群成熟度,以及政府的產業發展計畫上仍然有不少進度。我們期待看到越來越多 Blockchain 新創團隊,開始跳脫 Blockchain 的同業社群,與更多不同領域的創業者互動,將目標設得更加長遠,學習如何建立一個長青的事業。

The Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map 19H2 由 AppWorks,以及 Blockchain 媒體 Blockcast 區塊客 (AW#14)、BlockTempo 動區 (AW#16) 聯合製作,每半年更新一次,有任何指教與建議,請 email 至 a@appworks.tw

【歡迎所有 AI / IoT、Blockchain 的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

Photo by shutterbean on Pixabay

申請 AppWorks Accelerator 常見問題與回覆 (FAQ)

AppWorks Accelerator 在 2010 年創立,每半年招募一屆,對象是來自台灣、東南亞與世界各地的網路創業者。成立 9 年多以來,至 2019 年總共畢業 19 屆,並自 2018 年 8 月招募的第 17 屆 (AW#17) 開始,限定召募 AI / IoT 與 Blockchain 兩個領域的新創。整個 AppWorks Ecosystem 的活躍團隊有 376 個、共 1,113 位創業者,全體加總年營業額 49.7 億美元,形成一個緊密的新創網絡,是大東南亞 (東協 + 台灣) 校友規模最大的創業者社群。

每次招募團隊,AppWorks 都會收到許多申請書,過程中我們發現,新創團隊在看完網站的介紹後,對我們的加速器計畫仍有些許疑問,因此,我們整理了幾個常見問題,如果你也有類似疑惑,或許可以從中得到解答。

1. AppWorks Accelerator 可以提供創業團隊什麼幫助?

  • 大東南亞最大的創業者社群

創業是一件很孤獨的事,創業之後,大部分的朋友、家人都不知道你在經歷什麼。因為這樣,有越多厲害的創辦人和你一起同甘共苦,可以讓你遇到挫折的時候有人懂,也更有動力撐下去。除了同一屆會有約 50-60 位創辦人一起加速外,我們會頻繁地舉辦各式校友聚會,許多校友已經走過 0 到 1 的階段,透過他們的分享和交流,可以讓你少走許多冤枉路。

除此之外,由 AppWorks Accelerator 校友們建立起的生態系,或是 AppWorks 與大型企業的關係,將是新創拓展業務與尋找策略夥伴的重要管道。例如,AI 新創要建立 Data Pipeline、Blockchain 要開發落地應用,或是希望尋求大企業的資源協助,AppWorks 每位同事的重要任務之一,就是在其中穿針引線將資源與人脈引介給各新創團隊。

  • 100 位創業經驗豐富的 Mentor

AppWorks Ecosystem 有大約 100 位左右的 Mentor,透過 Mentor Day,當屆團隊可以認識不同類型的 Mentor,有的 Mentor 會是你商業上的助力,幫你推薦人脈、和你進行商業合作;有的 Mentor 會是你心靈上的支柱,在你煩惱的時候替你分擔、分享他們寶貴的人生經驗與創業建議。

  • 9 位全職、專業、最懂新創的 Master Team

早期新創團隊資源有限、人手精簡,導致新創在商業上許多重要、尚不常發生的工作,缺乏專業人才來處理。我們內建的 Master Team 共有 9 位專家,分別從中文及英文媒體公關、人才招募、財務會計、法務、設計、投資人關係、校友關係、工作空間管理等領域來協助創業者,他們在原本專業領域的平均資歷超過十年,透過我們 Master Team 的協助,讓新創在資源較少的早期階段,就能有效率地獲得專業奧援。

例如,在新創找到 Product Market Fit 之前,商業模式或業務形態尚未成熟,在人才面向上,我們會協助提供徵才建議或是每年舉辦 AppWorks 新創聯合大徵才,而不是建議新創在太早期就建立人事考評制度;或是新創的創新服務或產品,如何處理因此延伸的會計課目與認列方式,我們也能提供創業者符合公開會計原則的建議。

  • 與 AppWorks 的 Partner 安排一對一 Office Hour

除了 Master Team 之外,新創進駐 AppWorks Accelerator 期間,我們五位 Partner 每月也都會與各團隊安排一對一的 Office Hour。在建立商業模式、分析市場動態、開發新產品與服務、建立團隊、分享創業經驗等各個面向,每位 Partner 都能從本身的專業與經驗中,提供一針見血的有力建議,幫助創業者瞬間釐清問題與瓶頸。

  • 豐富多元的創業服務與資源

加入 AppWorks Accelerator 的新創,還可享受其他我們提供的服務與資源。例如,我們定期舉辦 Fundraising Bootcamp,針對有募資需求的新創團隊提供建議與諮詢;AppWorks 位於捷運台北市政府站附近,身處台北市最核心的商業區,不僅免費提供 Co-working Space 給進駐的新創使用,在步行的距離內,就有百貨公司、熱門餐廳、知名書店、電影院、高中等人潮熱點,方便創業者進行潛在用戶研究;Amazon Web Services、Microsoft Azure 與 Google Cloud Platform 也是 AppWorks Accelerator 長期贊助企業,每支進駐團隊,可獲得價值超過 10 萬美元的贊助資源,大幅降低新創團隊的實驗成本。

  • 大東南亞地區的連結

東南亞地區已成為台灣跨向國際的首要考量之一,透過自己打市場,可能要花費許多心力也不得其門而入。在 AppWorks Accelerator 每屆有超過六成的團隊來自國際,其中包含印尼、新加坡、香港、越南、泰國、馬來西亞等地的創業者,讓你能擁有第一手的市場資訊與在地人脈網絡。除此之外,AppWorks 也和當地的新創社群與投資人擁有良好的關係,讓你在當地的市場有更多可能性。

2. AppWorks Accelerator 要收費嗎?

AppWorks Accelerator 是針對創業者完全免費的服務。我們不會向新創團隊收取租金、服務費,也不會要求技術股、選擇權、營收、獲利分成,或是選擇權等任何形式的回饋。

3. 我們現在需要一筆資金,加入 AppWorks 就可以被投資嗎?

當資金可以大幅提升新創的實力與競爭優勢時,歡迎團隊隨時與 AppWorks 聯絡開啟關於募資的討論,AppWorks 管理的創投基金將隨時準備好提供協助。另一方面,AppWorks Accelerator 不會要求新創團隊在加入前,就接受我們的投資,也不會跟進駐的團隊收取股權回報。

4. 為什麼 AppWorks 現在只收 AI 和 Blockchain 的團隊?

多年來,AppWorks 很幸運獲得了新創圈的關注,因此在 2018 的時間點,我們覺得有義務透過既有的影響力去提醒大家「Mobile Internet 帶來的典範轉移已經來到尾聲」,而 AI 與 Blockchain 是下個 10 年創業者必須槓桿的新巨大板塊位移。

所以我們決定帶頭,藉由限定招募 AI、Blockchain 新創團隊,去刺激創業圈思考「為什麼 AppWorks 只收 AI 和 Blockchain?」「我是不是也該去思考 AI 和 Blockchain 是不是比較好的創業機會?」我們希望盡可能提醒創業社群,去思考如何跳往下一個成長曲線。

5. 我是學生團隊 / 我是一人團隊 / 我的團隊沒有工程師,這樣能申請嗎?

AppWorks 招收團隊時,不會因為團隊的身份或狀態而有所設限,但會特別注重創業者的幾項特質,我們稱為「3H」:

Heart:是否有創業的決心?是否願意全心全意投入?對想解決的問題有多大的熱情?

Head:能用多快的速度學會多少東西?是否具有反思與覺察能力?

Hand:是否具有執行力?

當然,對新創團隊來說,工程師是相當重要的人才資源,如果團隊組成中有優秀且經歷豐富的工程師,的確會幫團隊加分許多。但找尋合適且能為團隊加分的成員,需要花費不少心思。建議創業者在招募時,先審慎釐清團隊現階段最需要的人才項目,逐步補足,寧缺勿濫,而 AppWorks 也會針對有需要的團隊,提供人才媒合與專業人資顧問的輔導諮詢,協助創業者找到他們需要的優秀人才。

6. 我的服務 (或產品) 還沒開始賺錢,這樣能申請嗎?

當然可以。從公司創立到找到可規模化商業模式這段期間,稱為「種子期」。種子期新創公司需要的多半不是資金,而是各種與創業有關的知識、啟發,以及嘗試與犯錯的空間。AppWorks Accelerator 主要在協助種子期新創尋找可規模化商業模式,幫助他們順利邁向下一階段。此外,我們也有專業會計與法務 Master,可以為團隊提供成立公司過程中,所需要的協助。

7. 如果我已經募資過 Series A 或是我已經賺錢了,那 AppWorks 是不是不適合我?

我們並沒有限定申請團隊的成熟階段,過去也有許多較成熟的團隊加入,只要你認為在創業過程中,AppWorks 可以幫助你。以過去的例子來說,有些團隊已經在台灣做的小有成績,想往東南亞發展,那 AppWorks 可以成為走向東南亞的橋樑或踏板。像是 AW#19 的 Beseye 雲守護,已經在全球擁有超過 2000 家企業用戶,其中包含日本東急鐵道、JFE 鋼鐵,以及台灣的遠傳、中華電信,他們希望透過 AppWorks Accelerator 的創業者社群,可以跨入東南亞市場;又或是規模已不小的國際團隊,想在台灣建立技術團隊或開發市場商機,那加入 AppWorks 可以成為他們落地的第一步,像是 AW#13 的 ShopBack 透過在 AppWorks Accelerator 的時間,在台灣建立起技術團隊,並同時測試台灣市場的可能性。

8. 我是國際團隊,能否幫忙申請居留簽證?

入選 AppWorks Accelerator 的國際創業者,皆可申請「Entrepreneur Visa 創業家簽證」,讓來自海外的創業者能在台灣專心工作,不需為了簽證問題出境往返。

9. 進駐 Accelerator 後,是否每週一到五整天都要待在 AppWorks?海外團隊可以遠距參加嗎?

AppWorks 每週會安排約 4 – 6 小時的講座、Workshop、交流聚會,這些都是我們針對創業者的需求所設計,因此我們會鼓勵團隊盡量參加,認識由我們邀請而來的厲害創業者,從中得到靈感或啟發。此外,AppWorks 也提供免費的工作空間,至於團隊是否要選擇在 AppWorks 的空間工作,可以自由決定。

如果你是希望藉由 AppWorks 來測試台灣市場,又或是設立技術團隊,依照我們輔導團隊的經驗,我們建議創業者投入必要的時間與心力,親自來了解台灣的人文環境、市場狀況,拓展必要人脈。

10. 加入 AppWorks Accelerator 一定要設立公司嗎?

不一定,但我們會建議做 B2B 的海外團隊設立台灣公司。因為根據我們的經驗,這將有助於你尋找事業夥伴並洽談後續合作。AppWorks 備有專業的會計與法務 Master,能協助海外團隊處理落地台灣的手續。

11.第一階段申請和第二階段申請有何差別?

AppWorks Accelerator 的面談與入選採先收先審制度 (Rolling-basis),根據過去的經驗,先繳交申請書的團隊,有較高的入選機率,且能提早知道自己已經入選,有更充裕的時間預先規劃相關事宜。因此,我們會鼓勵創業者在第一階段就填寫申請書,以免到了最後申請截止前夕,競爭變得更加激烈。

12. 申請 Accelerator 是否需要附商業計畫書?申請書的題目都是英文,用中文寫會不會影響分數?

不需附商業計畫書。AppWorks Accelerator 的線上申請書共有約 30 個題目,包含團隊、產品、商業模式,與市場分析等眾多面向,非常詳盡,需要花一定的時間與心思填寫。我們希望可以透過這些題目協助每一個來申請的團隊,知道自己當下的發展狀態與所需協助。

填寫報名表是一種自我「健檢」,因為在填寫過程中,創業者必須深入思考自己的產品、市場策略、團隊分工,以及整體產業環境,對事業或團隊的後續發展非常有幫助。因此,不管申請與否,我們都建議創業者針對這些問題仔細思考、研究。

我們鼓勵你嘗試以英文作答,但用中文填寫並不會影響評估結果,最重要的是必須清楚表達你想傳達的訊息。另外,我們也鼓勵創業者拍攝一支約一分鐘的自我介紹影片,讓我們能夠更快且更深入的認識你。

希望以上整理能幫助你釐清對 AppWorks Accelerator 的諸多疑問。若還有其他需要進一步瞭解的地方,歡迎留言給我們,或是來信至:a@appworks.tw,我們將盡量為你解答。

【歡迎所有 AI / IoT、Blockchain 的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator