Thursday, July 16, 2015

What to Startup? Observations of a Common Startup Challenge in Taiwan.
Thursday, July 16, 2015

What to Startup? Observations of a Common Startup Challenge in Taiwan.

One of the biggest questions for a technically sound team with terrific connections, investor resources and a network of support is. . .

What do I actually do? WHAT SHOULD BE MY STARTUP?

Most approach the question of what to do as a startup by examining the resources they have on hand, the people they know in their network and the skills they have. Somehow if they put everything out on a conference room table, the solution as to what they should create should somehow conjure up from the various pieces and inform them.


Because they have the capabilities and resources, many startups do a "me too!" copy of a global internet service, but service a much smaller market such as Taiwan (22 Million pop.).

Taipei's 101 from Xceleration Labs Offices


Instead of starting from what resources do I have available and what skill sets do I have, try the reverse. Ask yourself, if I were in Taiwan, what would I build?

For instance, Silicon Valley is undeniably the place for great consumer focused startups. Therefore, that's where you'd go to mix it up to produce a killer consumer app. While Silicon Alley (NYC)  with it's high concentration of top global banks, international law firms, advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies is known for its business to business startups.  So that's where you'd go to work on an excellent B2B platform. Likewise in the case of Israel, which is in a desert surrounded by it's mortal enemies, and thus security is top of mind; therefore, Israel is the home of top security software. (You with me so far?)

Given the above generalizations, if we were to use location as a determinant, then if you are in Taiwan, what would be the startup business that would make sense, given your locale? Taiwan?

THE WORKING THEORY - What would you build if you were in Taiwan?

What's the DNA of Taiwan?

1. Taiwan's economic success has been built on global trade - the business of understanding brand company needs, outsourcing and sourcing components to put together into a single product. Therefore, it would make sense that Taiwan would create a service offering to solve global trade challenges. Thus, Patisco was born! A service focused on helping smooth out the people, communication and process challenges of global trade. For more on Patisco, please see and!

Patisco CEO Even Chung chatting with Jon Sontag of HP Innovations with Tom Chiu of Sand Hill Angels looking on. 
What are some of the other possibilities for global companies that would originate from Taiwan?

2. I've often heard of Cultural and Creative Innovation as a possibility for Taiwan. Often pointing to the concept of helping bring folk art, Taiwan made aboriginal products, and so forth to the global market. Definitely an admirable idea, but I think the French may have cornered the market on this arena - see LV, Champagne, and everything else Louis the XIV made popular.

3. Cuisine is another one I've heard of, especially the idea that there are so many cuisines, foodies, terrific night market food stalls. . . I don't know how to put that on-line for a global audience, but some smarter than me will come up with it. All I have observed is that I'm uncertain what is Taiwanese cuisine. There are a few signature dishes, but I'm not as a collective if they make a cuisine. Perhaps you'd know?

Regardless, the point is if you're a Taiwan startup, perhaps take a look at Taiwan's DNA, the core essence, and see if there's something there that you could bring to the global stage - such as a SaaS platform that helps manage the complex communication, processes and people involved in the global trade process.

Global trade has been a process and domain that is essentially the backbone of the world global economy and also originates from the days of the early European explorers trying to make their way into the China market or the trade routes through the Middle East bringing spices and other goods to Europe. It became harnessed by our Taiwan elders who turned it into a global phenomena, but the key point is that it's something that most of the world - at least the Western world is unfamiliar with. (I must admit as a young man, when I heard of global trade or import/export, I didn't quite understand what that entailed. I thought - so a manufacturer sells a couple of items to a middle man who then sells it to your local retailer - how complicated can that be? Well, after hanging with Patisco for the last five years - you have no idea how complicated the process is!)

Hopefully this has opened up a new possibility for you, yes, you the Taiwan startup team or any startup team from any locale in the world.

Think about what your culture, history, society could bring to the global stage. What makes sense as a startup that you'd bring to the world using locale as a determinant.

More to come in future blogs on other startups that stem from Taiwan's locale - ideal because of Taiwan's unique geography.