4 factors turning Vietnam into Southeast Asia’s next growth story

Several batches ago, we started to see a steady influx of Vietnamese founders applying to our AppWorks Accelerator. It was a rather curious phenomenon because at the time, we had only begun expanding our scope outside of Taiwan to include Southeast Asia and had really only seen inward interest coming from developed markets like Singapore and Hong Kong.

AppWorks Analysts Natalie Lin and Jun Wakabayashi (from left to right) join several Vietnam founders at an AppWorks Founders Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam November 2019

Indonesia had long been earmarked for obvious reasons, but Vietnam was nowhere on our radar. And yet, we ended up having founders of startups such as Innaway (AW#17), Triip.me (AW#18), KardiaChain (AW#18), and Abivin (AW#19) join our program. Granted, each of them had different motivations for coming to Taiwan, but it was enough to pique my interest in understanding the Vietnamese market, specifically the context and mentality in which these founders were coming from.

A handful of trips and dozens of meetings later, I’ve grown to become quite fond of the ecosystem in Vietnam. There’s an almost festive-like energy reverberating throughout the local startup scene. The country is experiencing a level of economic prosperity it has never seen before, and as a result, a generation of eager entrepreneurs laser-focused on tapping into the limitless possibilities at hand. Based on my observations, there are several key factors currently driving this growth.

The macros

Vietnam’s ascension to the regional, if not global, spotlight has been nothing short of an economic miracle. Just three decades ago, the country was one of the poorest in the world, with gross domestic product per capita treading around US$100 and over 70% of its population living in poverty.

Thanks to the Doi Moi reforms introduced in 1986 that gradually saw the liberalization, privatization, and diversification of its economy, Vietnam today is a comfortably middle-income country, with an accelerating market driven by a large, increasingly wealthy, and digitally connected middle class. From 2000 to 2015, Vietnam exhibited an average GDP growth rate of 6.9%, most recently clocking in at 7.08% in 2018, placing it among the fastest-growing economies in the world.

With 95.5 million people, Vietnam boasts not only the third-largest population in Southeast Asia, but also a young one, with over half under the age of 35. Levels of disposable income have also never been higher, and internet and mobile adoption are becoming more ubiquitous among its consumer base.

These are the fundamentals that should whet the appetite of any early-stage investor worth their salt, and many seem to agree. In the 2019 eConomy SEA report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, Vietnam was designated as the third-most funded country in Southeast Asia after Singapore and Indonesia, having attracted over US$1 billion in funds over the last few years. The country’s internet economy has expanded by 38% on an annualized basis since 2015 – growing far more quickly than its regional peers with the exception of Indonesia – and is now set to reach US$12 billion or 5% of its GDP in 2019, according to the report.

It was only a few years ago when Vietnam lagged behind the majority of its peers in terms of capital allocation, deals done, and overall interest. But now, the conversations are evidently shifting from “Why Vietnam?” to “How do I get a piece of Vietnam?”

The tech talent

A classic characterization of the ideal Southeast Asian startup is one that is headquartered in Singapore, targeting Indonesia, with designers in Thailand, customer service in the Philippines, and engineers in Vietnam. It’s a gross oversimplification of each country’s strengths, but it’s nonetheless rooted in some degree of truth.

Vietnam’s heavy investment in science, technology, engineering, and math education over the last 15 years, combined with improved internet connectivity and a young, low-cost workforce, has spawned a thriving IT outsourcing industry. Vietnam is now home to roughly 30,000 IT companies, while churning out 80,000 IT graduates a year from its universities, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The country has also usurped China as Japan’s second-largest software outsourcing partner, right behind India, and houses substantial research and devvelopment bases from the likes of IBM, Intel, Oracle, Samsung, and Grab.

What does this mean for startups? This country is producing a legion of skilled developers ready to join a startup or bootstrap one of their own.

Many of the local founders I met previously worked for an outsourcing company (or in many cases simultaneously), but turned to entrepreneurship and startups in search of greater opportunities for growth and impact.

Of course, the talent pool is not without its challenges. The talent is certainly there, but it’s raw, and it’s young. As the ecosystem is still relatively nascent, there are very few people who have experience managing teams and solving problems at scale.

Moreover, while Vietnam’s education curricula in technical subjects like math and science have evolved tremendously in the last two decades, outsourcing is still an inherently low-level, low-value process, leaving a void of product-focused engineers that understand the holistic impact of their efforts on end users.

Nevertheless, the foundation is there. Vietnamese students regularly outperform the majority of their regional peers, while notably surpassing student performance in several Western countries, such as the UK and the US. Especially now, as we embrace the onset of deep technologies like AI and blockchain, Vietnam’s massive talent pool – if properly refined and nurtured – gives the country a unique comparative advantage over other Southeast Asian countries when it comes to producing prospective tech startups.

The sea turtles

In Taiwan, they’re called “hai gui;” in the Philippines, “balikbayan;” and in Vietnam, “Viet Kieu.” Collectively, they’re commonly referred to as “sea turtles”: locals who lived overseas, typically in Western countries, and eventually returned home to work or start their own businesses.

These returnees are often a primary driver of value creation for developing markets. That’s largely due to the experience gained, best practices learned, and network accumulated from some of the world’s leading universities and companies, which they’re able to integrate into their own ventures. Among Southeast Asia’s current crop of unicorns, the majority of their founders received some form of education abroad. For example, Grab’s Anthony Tan, Gojek’s Nadiem Makarim, and Traveloka’s Ferry Unardi all studied at Harvard Business School.

Looking at Vietnam’s current startup hall of fame, the majority of founders studied abroad at some point or another:

  • Son Tran, founder of Tiki.vn, University of New South Wales
  • Hai Linh Tran, co-founder and CEO of Sendo, Nanyang Technological University
  • Ba Diep Nguyen, founder of Momo, Curtin University
  • Tuan Pham, founder and CEO of Topica Edtech Group, New York University

And the list just goes on from there. In fact, even Minh Le, chairman and CEO of VNG – the country’s one and only unicorn – received a part of his higher education abroad at Monash University.

But this is just the beginning. There’s an estimated 4 million Vietnamese currently living overseas, with more than 130,000 of them studying abroad every year. Ho Chi Minh itself receives approximately 30,000 young Vietnamese returning from overseas annually to seek business and startup opportunities. The government has also doubled down on its efforts to attract overseas talent by creating relaxed visa programs for Viet Kieu and exempting them from certain investment requirements.

The homegrown ecosystem

Although Vietnam has yet to produce a regional success story the likes of a Grab or Shopee, the country does have its fair share of rising stars and homegrown champions that are effectively holding their own against foreign entrants. There’s Tiki.vn for ecommerce (reportedly raising over US$100 million in its latest round), Momo for e-wallet (recently raised US$100 million in series C funding), Zalo for messaging (owned by VNG), and also a handful of local ride-hailing contenders including Be (started by VNG’s co-founder) and FastGo (recently expanded in Singapore).

The fact that consumption hasn’t been completely dominated by international companies is indicative of a robust, end-to-end, and local ecosystem, underpinned by key pillars of support including angels, institutional investors, accelerators/incubators, media, and co-working spaces collectively split across major tech hubs in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Da Nang.

The tone at the top has also played a pivotal role in the proliferation of the startup scene in Vietnam. Techfest, for example, is an annual event organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology that draws out over 5,500 attendees, 250 investors, and 600 startups. Earlier this year, the ministry also hosted the first iteration of the Vietnam Venture Summit, which brought out over 100 domestic and international funds to “unfreeze capital flows” and jumpstart innovation.

The time is now

Vietnam has come a long way since its agrarian roots. The country’s transition into the digital era is full steam ahead, with the transformation of its major cities into sprawling metropolises and key economic centers already well under way.

And the ones at the heart of this metamorphosis are the Vietnamese people, defined by a growing population of students, coders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.

For locals, there’s never been a better time to start a business. The country’s overall development and rapid urbanization over the past 20 years, sprinkled in with a formidable sense of national pride and ethnic belonging have collectively opened up a waterfall of opportunities that are now ripe for the taking.

For international stakeholders, especially those from developed markets where several generations of serial entrepreneurs and investor know-how have already run their course, there still exists a level of experience arbitrage in Vietnam. It’s a unique window of opportunity to diffuse tactics, playbooks, and best practices into an emerging market just now coming to terms with increasing affluence, consumer sophistication, and digital transformation.

AppWorks Year in Review 2018: Onwards Towards a Smart and Decentralized Future

  • In 2018, AppWorks Accelerator narrowed its focus to recruiting only AI / blockchain startups
  • AppWorks Funds invested US$ 15M across 11 deals spanning AI, blockchain, EC & fintech
  • The AppWorks Ecosystem reached US$ 3.6B in valuation, encompassing 328 startups & 925 founders
  • AppWorks initiates the first wave of internal promotions, yielding 2 new partners & associates

For AppWorks, 2018 marked a critical juncture in our organization’s history. After 16 batches and 8 years of operations, AppWorks Accelerator decided to narrow its semi-annual intake of startups to accept only those working with AI / blockchain technologies starting from batch AW#17. Meanwhile, AppWorks Funds carried out the first of several investments into AI / blockchain startups out of our newly minted US$ 100M Fund III.

Just as mobile had completely transformed the status quo for companies and startups alike over the last decade, we believe AI and blockchain, while still nascent technologies, will set forth a similarly disruptive paradigm shift and define an entirely new era for industries in the years to come. As such, AppWorks has iterated upon several aspects of our organization this past year to elevate our community and help founders fully embrace a smart and decentralized future.

Our latest accelerator batch AW#17 was the first instance of this iteration, ultimately yielding 34 teams, 21 working with AI/IoT & 13 with blockchain/crypto. With the addition of the 29 startups from AW#16, AppWorks Accelerator graduated a total of 63 startups in 2018, with 38% hailing from countries outside of Taiwan including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Belgium, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and the US.

On the venture capital side, AppWorks Funds made 11 investments collectively worth US$ 15M in several promising startups operating on the forefront of technologies including Deep Sentinel, XREX (AW#17), 91APP, Carousell, EMQ, and Pickone (AW#9), while helping them raise a total of US$ 222 million across these rounds.

The AppWorks Ecosystem now counts 328 active startups and 925 founders in its network. These AppWorks startups are generating US$ 2.5B in total annual revenues, growing at 90% year-over-year, and have created 9,586 jobs, increasing by 67% from the prior year. They have raised US$ 806M from both AppWorks Funds and third-party investors, up 82% from last year, and together exhibit a composite valuation of US$ 3.6B, roughly a 127% uptick over the last 12 months.

Our efforts this past year have allowed AppWorks to achieve a new echelon of success and truly revitalized our position as the strongest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia—and there are perhaps no better indicators of that status than the recent milestones achieved by a few of our alumni. Ztore (AW#13) and AsiaYo (AW#12) both closed a Series B round amounting to US$ 8M and US$ 7M+ respectively to accelerate vertical expansion and international growth. Meanwhile, Nuwa Robotics closed a US$ 10M Series A Round and Origami Labs (AW#15) a US$ 2.6M Seed Round to fuel product development and jumpstart market traction. Opting for a more alternative form of financing, Mr. Living (AW#12) and Cubo (AW#16) carried out successful crowdsourcing campaigns, raising US$ 700K and US$ 350K respectively.

With the region’s startup ecosystem rapidly maturing, the demand for quality talent has never been greater. We started AppWorks School in 2016 to cultivate talents for today’s digital career while at the same time infusing quality new blood into the ecosystem. In 2018, AppWorks School graduated 49 newly trained developers through our 14-week free coding programs. 85% of these graduates went on to pursue successful software engineering careers in prominent Internet companies such as 91APP, KKBOX, CHOCO TV, PicCollage, and UDN Group, with an average annual salary of US$ 20,400. Currently, our curriculum offers iOS, Android, and web development tracks, and will soon tack on a data science track in anticipation of changing talent demands.

To say it’s been a productive year would have been an understatement. Tapping into the collective effort of each and every one of our team members, we successfully shifted our focus to AI / blockchain and made substantial strides in empowering founders across Greater Southeast Asia to fully embrace a smart and decentralized future. Executing such a strategy also accelerated our team’s growth. A few of our members have matured to a point where they are ready to shoulder more responsibilities and take on newer challenges. We are therefore happy to announce that as of today, our Associates, Jessica Liu and Andy Tsai, have officially been promoted to Partners, while our Analysts, Alyssa Chen and Ching Tseng, are now Associates.

Finally, we’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our partners and friends in the startup community and look forward to working together to strengthen the regional ecosystem even further in 2019.

Click here to check AppWorks 2018 Year In Review!

AppWorks 公布 2018 Year in Review 年終總回顧:生態系總估值突破千億新台幣;持續聚焦 AI、Blockchain,加速拓展大東南亞

正值歲末年終之際,成立邁入第九年的 AppWorks,公布 2018 Year in Review 年終總回顧專屬網站,展現過去一年的整體成果。在 2018,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 數位人才培育等面向上,AppWorks 都繳出亮眼的成績,持續結合各界資源,努力推升台灣成為大東南亞數位經濟的領航重鎮。

AppWorks 來說,2018 年達到多項重要里程碑。其中,大東南亞 (東協 + 台灣) 校友規模最大的創業加速器 AppWorks Accelerator,在八月進駐的 AW#17,是首屆限定招募 AI/IoT 或 Blockchain/Crypto 新創團隊,共有 34 組新創團隊通過海選,其中 21 支以  AI/IoT 為主,13 支以 Blockchain/Crypto 為主。這群潛力新創中,有曾擔任 eBay、HTC、華碩、Proofpoint (Nasdaq 上市公司) 高管,也有來自 Y-Combinator 的校友,顯示 AI 與 Blockchain 所帶來的典範轉移,正在全球各地上演,吸引更多優秀創業者投入。AppWorks Accelerator 也將持續限定招募這兩個領域的新創團隊,直到下一個更巨大的典範轉移出現為止。

2018 年首度限定招募 AI 與 Blockchain 的 AW#17 ,Demo Day #17 吸引外界廣泛關注,吸引超過 1,200 位投資人、業界代表出席。

在 2018,AppWorks Accelerator 吸引到更多國際新創前來台北進駐,持續扮演大東南亞領先的創業加速器。在 2018 年畢業的 AW#16、AW#17 共 63 支新創團隊中,38% 來自海外,包括香港、新加坡、越南、泰國、馬來西亞、斯里蘭卡、美國、瑞典、比利時等。兩屆團隊也分別在各自的 Demo Day 登場,展現豐沛且令人驚艷的創業實力,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:328 加活躍新創、925 位創業者、創造就業數 9,586 位

隨著 AW#16 與 AW#17 加入,以及加速器各個新創團隊校友們的努力,在 2018 年帶動 The AppWorks Ecosystem 校友生態系大幅成長。活躍新創累積至 328 家、共 925 位創業者,所有企業的加總年營業額來到 25 億美元 (約為 769 億新台幣),較 2017 年大幅成長 90%,創造就業數 9,586 位,年增高達 67%,生態系累積募資金額為 8.06 億美元 (約為 248 億新台幣),年增率達到 82%,總估值突破 36 億美金 (約為 1,107 億新台幣),較前一年大幅增加 127%。

此外,AppWorks Funds 2018 年完成包括 91APPCarousel 旋轉拍賣Deep SentinelEMQ 易安聯PickOne (AW#9)、Xrex (AW#17) 等共 11 個新創投資案,金額達 1,500 萬美金 (約為 4.66 億新台幣),並因此帶動高達 2.22 億美元 (約 68.93 億新台幣) 的總投資。

在人才培養方面,AppWorks School 軟體工程師培育計畫自 2016 年創辦以來,已有 106 名學員畢業,其中 85% 成功在網路公司擔任軟體工程師,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,也幫新創團隊和企業補足人才缺口。

CHOCO TV 與 LINE 策略整合、Nuwa Robotics 進軍中國與日本

AppWorks 生態系 328 支團隊各自有其專精領域,包括 OTT (over-the-top)、電商、AI、IoT、共享經濟等領域,2018 年都有不凡的表現,其中,又以以下幾個團隊的成績最為突出:

2015 年正式營運的 CHOCO TV (AW#2),打造出在台灣擁有超過 200 萬月活躍用戶的串流影音服務,於 2018 年與 LINE TV 整併,同時推出全新 LINE TV 服務。此外,CHOCO TV 也於 2018 年完成 B 輪融資,由 NAVER 集團與日本 LINE Corporation 透過旗下 Mirai Fund 資金共同投資逾千萬美元,成為最大股東。

專攻 AI 陪伴機器人的 Nuwa Robotics (女媧創造,AW#10),2018 年完成 A 輪融資 1000 萬美元,並推出第一台 AI 機器人小丹在小米有品開賣,每台價格 1,999 元人民幣,開賣 10 分鐘就創下 34 萬元人民幣銷售成績,24 小時內銷售破千台,台灣版凱比同學也開放試賣,並宣布進軍日本。

Nuwa Robotics 打造的 AI 陪伴機器人「凱比同學」,已在台灣開賣。

香港電商平台 Ztore (AW#13),主打銷售香港品牌商品,2015 年創立曾寫下 24 個月超過 20 萬用戶的佳績。Ztore 在 2018 年完成 800 萬美元 B 輪融資,將用來提升各種營運系統,透過科技優化平台以及開發更多新服務,為用戶帶來更佳購物體驗。

台灣最大的特色旅宿訂房平台 AsiaYo (AW#12),已累積出 6 萬筆房源、30 萬位會員,2019 年完成超過 2 億新台幣(700 萬美元) 的 B 輪融資。AsiaYo 目前已完成英文、中文、韓文三種語系線上平台,預計 2019 年將完成日文版線上訂房。AsiaYo 擁有台灣、日本、韓國、香港、泰國等地房源,同時也將於 2019  年第一季啟動新加坡、馬來西亞等地房源,AsiaYo 的亞洲版圖日趨完整,將從東北亞一路延伸至東南亞。

來自香港的 Origami Labs (AW#15) 研發出的 ORII 聲控智慧戒指,是全球第一只採用骨傳導技術 (Bone Conduction) 的智慧戒指。2018 年 Origami Labs 完成 250 萬美元的種子輪融資,將用作擴展 ORII 的 B2B 業務、研發下一代的產品,以及提升產品的骨傳導技術。

傢具電商品牌 MR.LIVING 居家先生 (AW#12),標榜「去中間化」,跳過傳統產業鏈貿易商、批發商、中盤商等關卡,直接聯繫上游製造商,讓傢俱以市價 3 至 5 折的價格回饋給消費者。在 2018 年研發出適合台灣氣候的「恆溫冷凝記憶棉床墊」,並透過群眾集資創下超過 2,200 萬新台幣的佳績。

台灣最大共享空間平台 Pickone (AW#9),每月有超過 5,000 個活動透過 Pickone 舉辦,服務人數高達 10 萬人。2018 年,Pickone 完成 1,500 萬新台幣的種子輪融資,主要將用大幅擴建軟體團隊,進一步升級旗下場地租借市集 Pickone 挑場地、針對活動主辦人設計的管理平台 onEvent,並展開東南亞、東北亞拓展的初期工作。

推出全球第一款 AI 智慧寶寶攝影機的 Cubo (AW#16),產品在 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。

AppWorks 是亞洲最早、最具規模的創業加速器,同時管理兩支創投基金共 18 億新台幣,以不同服務協助不同階段的創業者。先利用 Accelerator 與校友網路,協助新創團隊調整出符合市場需求的產品與服務、發展出可規模化的商業模式之後,AppWorks Funds 便會在適當的時機提供資金挹注,為這些蓄勢待發的明日之星提供加速成長所需的資源。

2018 年 AppWorks Funds 創投基金,超過一半金額投資大東南亞新創

2018 年,AppWorks 針對 AI 安全監控 Deep Sentinel、提供新零售及虛實融合解決方案的 91APP、新加坡行動電商平台旋轉拍賣 (Carousell)、台灣最大共享空間平台 Pickone、提供 FinTech 服務的 EMQ、以 Paas 或 SaaS 模式提供 Crypto 解決方案的 Xrex 等 11 個新創投資案,總金額達 1,500 萬美元,並進一步協助他們完成募資總金額達 2.22 億美元。值得一提的,是2018 年 AppWorks Fund 投資的 1,500 萬美元中,有超過一半是投資於來自大東南的國際新創團隊。

2018 年 AppWorks 宣布領投台灣最大共享空間平台 Pickone 規模 1,500 萬新台幣的種子輪融資。

人才是新創企業最重要的資產,為了因應創業生態系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 Class。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。

成立兩年多以來,截至 2018 年底,AppWorks School 已畢業 106 位學員,其中 90 位成功轉職,在 91APPKKBOXCHOCO TVPicCollageUDN Group 等知名網路企業中擔任軟體工程師,就職率高達 85%,薪資中位數比行情高出將近一成,學員表現在業界也享有極佳口碑。

AppWorks School 兩年多來,持續為台灣網路產業培養優秀的工程師人才。

回顧 2018 年,AppWorks 創辦合夥人林之晨說:「2018 年是 AppWorks 再聚焦與正式國際化的一年。」再聚焦指的是經營八年的 AppWorks Accelerator,自 2018 年中的 AW#17 起,限定招募 AI 或 Blockchain 相關的新創,鼓勵創業者好好掌握這兩個重要的典範轉移,同時提醒創業生態系更關注 AI 與 Blockchain 的發展趨勢;正式國際化則在於 AppWorks 佈局大東南亞,2018 年,總投資金額超過一半投資於來自大東南亞的國際團隊,兩屆的 Accelerator 進駐團隊,也有高達 38% 來自以大東南亞為主的國際團隊,持續推動台灣融入大東南亞地區正在高速發展的數位浪潮,並預計 2019 年三月進駐 AppWorks Accelerator 的新創團隊,將有五成以上為來自大東南亞的國際團隊。

在 2019 年初,為了加速推展各項業務,AppWorks 同時內部晉升包括兩位新晉合夥人 (Partner) 劉侊縈 Jessica、蔡欣翰 Andy,以及兩位新任投資經理 (Associate) 陳敬旻 (Alyssa)、曾意晴 (Ching)。蔡欣翰 Andy 將負責管理 AppWorks 創投基金,劉侊縈 Jessica 則將負責 AppWorks 在印尼當地的拓展。林之晨說:「AppWorks 將與各界一起合作、持續努力,敬請期待我們 2019 年的表現。」

趁此回顧機會,林之晨也代表 AppWorks 全體,對所有在 2018 年幫助 AppWorks 的夥伴表達感謝,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、Facebook 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 2018 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。2019 年,也請大家繼續和我們一起奮鬥、努力翻轉台灣。」

AppWorks Accelerator 聯合尾牙,AppWorks 創辦合夥人林之晨與各新創團隊同歡。

AppWorks Launches Internal Promotion Track, Promoting Two New Partners and Associates

As of today, AppWorks has promoted two new partners, Jessica Liu and Andy Tsai, and two new associates, Alyssa Chen and Ching Tseng.

Jessica Liu graduated from the University of Southern California’s (USC) Marshall School of Business and has been working with AppWorks for nearly five years. She was responsible for several important AppWorks portfolio, including Carousell, the region’s leading C2C marketplace, ShopBack, the largest cashback platform in Greater Southeast Asia, KKday, the leading travel experience platform in Asia; and 91APP, one of the largest digital commerce enabler in Asia. Moving forward, she will be responsible for leading AppWorks’ expansion plans in Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on Indonesia.

Andy Tsai, another new partner, has more than 10 years of venture capital experience with leading firms such as the CID Group and China Development Industrial Bank, Before joining AppWorks in 2018, and will now lead the management of AppWorks Funds.

Newly promoted Associate Ching Tseng will be mainly covering the region’s burgeoning blockchain ecosystem, while the other newly promoted Associate Alyssa Chen will continue spearheading AppWorks Accelerator.

With these promotions, we’ve marked a new milestone in AppWorks history. This the first time that AppWorks partners have been promoted from within. Moreover, at 30 years old, Jessica is the now youngest partner at AppWorks. The two new associates, Alyssa and Ching actually started their careers at AppWorks together as interns in college, joined full-time as Analysts after graduation and are now ready to tackle the next stage in their careers.

The founding partner of AppWorks Jamie Lin said, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. Congratulations to Jessica, Andy, Alyssa and Ching. I hope that you will continue to train the next generation and enable AppWorks to create an even bigger impact in the next 10 years.”

Andy Tsai (left), Jessica Liu (right) become the first internally promoted partners at AppWorks since its inception

This is the first time AppWorks has carried out internal promotions since our establishment in 2009. It not only demonstrates our ability to cultivate quality talent from within, but also puts in place an institutionalized system for aspiring junior VCs seeking long-term career development and upward mobility. We recognize that the younger generation is the region’s lifeblood and will be largely responsible for taking the startup ecosystem both in Taiwan and SEA into its next phase of development. This is why we’re looking for similarly like-minded and passionate individuals to come on board as Associates and Analysts at AppWorks—both of which are paid according to their professional experience and performance.

AppWorks Associates’ salary range for 2019 will hover between US$ 73K and US$ 140K, whereas Analysts’ will range from US$43K and US$83K. The salary is complemented by benefits including unlimited vacation days, flexible working hours and location, an annual full-body health check, and an annual company retreat, among other perks.

We believe talent is the most important asset of 21st century enterprises, and this mantra is not merely a slogan, but a core pillar of our DNA. In addition to competitive compensation, we are committed to creating an environment where decisions are open, transparent, and consensus-driven. Every single AppWorks colleague has equal say in pending discussions and prospective resolutions, from the operation of AppWorks Accelerator to investment decisions to overall company policies. Team members are not confined to the boundaries of their job title or description and are encouraged to provide insight into or communicate differing opinions on any matters of interest to them.

Newly minted partner Jessica remarks, “AppWorks is not just a startup accelerator, but also an employee accelerator. Looking back at AppWorks over the past five years, I constantly found myself in the face of new challenges and hurdles, forcing myself to learn and grow at an accelerated pace. I am very pleased that the company has welcomed me into the partnership and entrusted me with more responsibility. I look forward to continue helping entrepreneurs achieve their ambitions, as well as leading the AppWorks team forward into the future.”

Our team members were not only the only ones to experience substantial growth. By the end of 2018, the AppWorks Ecosystem encompassed a total of 328 active startups and 925 founders. Collectively, all companies generated an annual turnover of US$ 2.5 billion, increasing 90% over the same period last year, while creating 9,586 jobs, an annual increase of 67%. The cumulative amount of funds raised was US$ 806 million, growing 82% YoY, with a total valuation exceeding US$ 3.6 billion, a significant uptick of 127% compared to 2017.

Looking forward to 2019, AppWorks Accelerator will continue driving the exploration and adoption of AI / blockchain technologies among Greater Southeast Asia’s emerging startups through our 6-month equity-free AI/ blockchain accelerator. Meanwhile, AppWorks’ US$ 100 million Fund III will complete its first closing in 1Q19, equipping us with the necessary resources to tap into the next phase of growth in SEA. Finally, with the new internal promotions and initiatives set in stone, we look forward to becoming an influential platform for more young, outstanding talent to amplify their impact. “Welcome to join us and write the next chapter of Greater Southeast Asia’s digital economy,” comments Jamie.

交棒年輕人!AppWorks 啟動內部晉升引擎,首波拔擢兩位合夥人、兩位經理,並擴大人才招募

大東南亞創業加速器龍頭,同時也是本區指標性創投的 AppWorks,今 (22 日) 宣布啟動內部晉升引擎,正式開始交棒年輕人。首波內部晉升包含兩位合夥人、兩位經理,其中 30 歲的劉侊縈 (Jessica) 升職後,成為 AppWorks 歷來最年輕的合夥人。此外,AppWorks 同時擴大招募,邀請優秀人才加入,與 AppWorks 一起輔導、投資大東南亞新創團隊、串接東協與台灣生態系,推動台灣成為區域數位重鎮。

新年初始,大東南亞校友規模最大的創業加速器、同時也是台灣與東協區域最活躍創投之一的 AppWorks 宣布共有四位團隊成員獲得內部晉升。包括兩位新晉合夥人 (Partner) 劉侊縈 (Jessica)蔡欣翰 (Andy),以及兩位新任投資經理 (Associate) 陳敬旻 (Alyssa)曾意晴 (Ching)

對 2009 年創立至今的 AppWorks,這波內部晉升共寫下三個第一次,不僅顯示 AppWorks 內部培育飛輪成功啟動,建立起人才向上流動的機構制度,同時也期待透過晉升賦予下一代成員更大的舞台與挑戰。第一個第一,這是 AppWorks 首度透過內部拔擢,產生新的合夥人;第二個第一,是 30 歲的劉侊縈 (Jessica),成為 AppWorks 歷來最年輕的合夥人;第三個第一,是陳敬旻 (Alyssa) 與曾意晴 (Ching) 兩位在學生時期,都曾擔任過 AppWorks 實習生,歷經 AppWorks 工作、內部訓練獲得長足成長,成為首批從 AppWorks 實習生一路晉升的投資經理。

Andy 蔡欣翰 (左)、Jessica 劉侊縈 (右) 成為 AppWorks 自創立以來,首度透過內部晉升的合夥人 (Partner)。

未來,隨著新角色,除了原本就負責投資案之外,四位團隊成員也將在 AppWorks 扮演更重要的角色。新任合夥人的 Andy 蔡欣翰,擁有政治大學財務管理碩士學位,2018 年加入 AppWorks 前,擁有超過 10 年 CID 華威國際等創投經驗,未來將督導 AppWorks 創投基金的管理;另一位新任合夥人 Jessica 劉侊縈,畢業於南加州大學 (USC) 商學系,在 AppWorks 服務近五年,負責 AppWorks 多項重要投資案,包括台灣最大虛實融合新零售解決方案供應商 91APP、亞洲旅遊體驗平台龍頭 KKday、大東南亞網購反饋平台龍頭 ShopBack,以及大東南亞行動拍賣領先平台 Carousell (旋轉拍賣),未來將負責主導 AppWorks 在印尼的拓展計畫。Ching 曾意晴將負責 AppWorks 的 Blockchain 相關計畫、Alyssa 陳敬旻則將負責 AppWorks Accelerator。

除了團隊成員晉升,展望 2019 年,AppWorks 也展開擴大徵才,邀請對 AI、Blockchain、大東南亞數位經濟等領域有興趣,希望透過輔導、投資新創團隊,推動台灣成為大東南亞數位重鎮的好手加入。

目前亟需人才加入的職務主要為投資經理 (Associate) 分析師 (Analyst),兩者皆按專業能力與工作表現敘薪,投資經理 2019 年薪將在 220 萬至 420 萬新台幣間 (US$ 73K ~ 140K)、分析師在 130 萬至 250 萬新台幣間 (US$ 43K ~ 83K),此外還有年假無上限、不限制工作時間與地點、年度健康檢查、年度員工旅遊等福利。

由於長期輔導新創團隊,對 AppWorks 來說,「人才是 21 世紀企業最重要的資產」不是口號而是 DNA,在各個環節,皆展現對人才的重視。除了提供在業界具有競爭力的待遇,也致力打造資訊公開、制度透明、人人皆平等的環境。例如,從每一支進駐 AppWorks Accelerator 的新創團隊、各個投資案,到 AppWorks 內部的政策與制度,每一個 AppWorks 的下一步行動,皆採取共識決議,每位成員皆不受限於職務而有提供建議、表達不同意見的平等權利,藉由大鳴大放的溝通與交流,讓擁有不同專業與工作內容的每一個人,都能因為認同、共同參與團隊的所有決議,一起朝同個目標、方向快速前進。

AppWorks 創辦合夥人林之晨 (Jamie) 表示:「期待這一天很久了,非常興奮 AppWorks 終於能啟動交棒計畫,恭喜 Jessica、Andy、Alyssa 與 Ching,期許你們承先啟後、持續培養下一代,讓 AppWorks 的第二個 10 年更精彩、發揮更大的 Impact。」

剛升任合夥人的 Jessica 劉侊縈也表示:「AppWorks 不只是新創加速器,也是員工加速器,回頭看加入 AppWorks 的這近五年,發現自己無時無刻不在面對變化、挑戰,也因此被迫更快成長。很高興公司在此刻賦予我更大責任,非常期待在新職位繼續幫助創業者,同時帶領 AppWorks 團隊前進。」

Jamie 林之晨同時指出,在 2018 年,AppWorks 生態系展現了大幅成長,328 家活躍企業加總年營收超過 700 億新台幣,已經跨越規模門檻。展望 2019 年,除了旗下的 AppWorks Accelerator 將持續領跑大東南亞 AI / Blockchain 新創加速,30 億新台幣的 AppWorks Fund III 也即將在第一季完成 First Closing (第一階段募集),AppWorks 將有更大能量,可以協助大東南亞新創的成長。在此刻,內部晉升有助於推動各項新計畫,AppWorks 也期待成為更多優秀年輕人才放大影響力的舞台。

截至 2018 年底,AppWorks 生態系活躍新創累積至 328 家、共 925 位創業者,所有企業的加總年營業額來到 25 億美元 (約為 769 億新台幣),較前一年同期大幅成長 90%,員工數 9,586 位,年增高達 67%,生態系累積募資金額為 8.06 億美元 (約為 248 億新台幣),年增率達到 82%,總估值突破 36 億美元 (約為 1,107 億新台幣),較 2017 年大幅增加 127%,種種優異的成長數字背後,皆來自 AppWorks 團隊與各個新創團隊共同努力,Jamie 林之晨說:「歡迎加入我們,一起來寫大東南亞數位經濟的下一個篇章。」