Taiwan startups secure NT$5.5 billion business opportunities at CES 2019

Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES Asia

A team of 44 startups showcasing their innovations at CES 2019 have managed to win more than NT$5.5 billion (US$178.44 million) in business opportunity, according to science and technology minister Chen Liang-Gee.

The team, formed with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), achieved the business opportunity during the annual event and at a post-CES matchmaking event in Silicon Valley.

Chen said the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) Pavilion at CES 2019 attracted the attention from 20 international media. "It is evident that Taiwan's technological strength and innovation capabilities were well received, said Chen.

The sum of NT$5.5 billion in busines sopportunity well exceeds MOST's original goal of NT$4 billion.

It was the second year that MOST has arranged a startup mission to the CES. At last year's event in Las Vegas, MOST led a team of 32 startups to Eureka Park, winning about NT$3 billion in business opportunity.

For CES 2019, MOST selected 44 promising startups in six categories: Internet of Things (IoT, 25%), cyber s​ecurity and software (20%), artificial intelligence (AI, 18%), healthcare (14%), wearables (14%), and advanced manufacturing (9%). Of the 44 team members, eight won the CES 2019 Innovation Awards before the exhibition, and most of the teams attracted big manufacturers and engaged with venture capitalists during the CES, said MOST.

Fifteen teams also participated at the Taiwan Pitch Night matchmaking event in Silicon Valley to connect directly with global venture capitalists, said MOST.

One of the TTA startup teams Awowo, which developed FreeStyle Drum with a WPW patent technology to replicate a real drum, has replaced the traditional drumhead with a smaller enamel film, and reduced the large space occupied by electronic drum kits. The sensitivity and responsiveness of the FreeStyle Drum are 10-times faster than an electronic drum kit. Joe Liu, CEO of Awowo, said that through the exhibition, they have signed a million-dollar order and will soon be announced in Guangzhou Music Festival in February. Being in music and instruments business for two decades, Liu said that it is CES and the support from MOST that traditional industries can explore new business potential if combining innovative technology application.

Another team AgriTalk Technology develops an AgriTalk Management Platform that controls the production of agricultural products with technology. According to Wen Liang Chen, founder of AgriTalk Technology, the system integrates sensors to acquire biological and environmental data, regulates pests, diseases, soil and fertility. During CES, buyers from Dubai, Chile, Canada, India, the Philippines, Sweden, South Africa, Italy, France and the Netherlands negotiated with AgriTalk. The company also won first place in Taiwan Pitch Night during the post-CES event. MOST said AgriTalk's future business opportunities are estimated to be more than NT$900 million.

Ganzin Technology said it also understands more about the global market via CES and the support from MOST. Ganzin focuses on creating the next generation eye tracking modules that can be easily integrated into AR/VR modules to help unlock the potential of the eye as a seamless interface into the extended reality world. Over the last few years, they have redesigned the necessary algorithms for a highly precise eye-tracking module, the result is Aurora, a re-architected eye-tracking solution with a small form factor and minimal power requirements. Ganzin is one of the teams that participated in CES Unveiled and was included in the Best of CES of Reuters, said Shao-Yi Chien, founder of Ganzin.


MOST minister Chen Liang-Gee (center) with Taiwan's startup teams at a press conference summing up results at CES 2019
Photo: Bryan Chuang, Digitimes, January 2019