Top Taiwan Venture Capital optimistic about development opportunities in new economy & Taiwan's competitive industries

Ambrose Huang, DIGITIMES, Taipei 0

Vice President of TOP TAIWAN Venture Capital Group, Tsung Liang Yang

In its early days, Top Taiwan Venture Capital mostly focused on investing in enterprises in their expansion and mature stages, as well as in electronic technology industries. It has successfully completed a dozen venture capital (VC) fundraising based on its past investment performance. Its shareholders included major finance and insurance businesses in Taiwan, as well as corporate shareholders including Chunghwa Telecom, Inventec, ELAN Microelectronics, and SINBON Electronics. By building a well-rounded VC platform and ecosystem, Top Taiwan strives to realize its vision in developing and investing the Taiwan market, and leading Taiwan toward future transformations and challenges.

On top of being optimistic about the continued expansion of the semiconductor industry, Top Taiwan mostly factors in Taiwan's extension of core strengths, as well as solutions to the human race's current and upcoming major challenges when making investments. Therefore, in terms of sustainable energy, Top Taiwan has included electric vehicle technologies and the relevant components into its portfolio. Top Taiwan has also expanded into bicycle manufacturing, which is one of Taiwan's core strengths. Bicycles are one of the few products that Taiwan has complete autonomy over—from proprietary brands, global sales channels, to manufacturing and production. Furthermore, bicycles with a traditional mechanical structure can be upgraded to electric bicycles by integrating electronic components and batteries, thereby presenting higher value-added. They are ideal investment targets that focus on upgrading Taiwan's competitive industries, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues since they take into account many functions ranging from environmental protection, sports, health, to recreation.

In addition, since challenges facing the human race for its current and future developments include severe climate change, sustainable energy is another issue that we must focus on. Of which, areas that deserve our attention include solar power, wind power, hydrogen, and energy storage, circular investments, and waste recycling and reuse. These are all development projects worthy of investments.

Meanwhile, the demand for medical, healthcare, and sports has also increased due to an aging population around the world. Moreover, food shortages caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change will drive new demand for pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, tests, and agricultural technology. These are all new areas that Taiwanese startups can explore.

Mr. Tsung-Liang Yang from Top Taiwan suggested that in dealing with the next wave of industry transformation, Taiwan must begin by strengthening its pool of international talents. As such, Taiwan also needs to provide sufficient incentives to attract talents to either return from overseas, or to recruit foreigners to work in Taiwan. Over the past few decades, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has played an important role in the development of Taiwan's electronic technology and advanced manufacturing industries. As Taiwan embarks on an era of digital economy, an institution of similar gravity should also be formed to drive the development of digital economy in Taiwan. Mr. Yang hopes that the Ministry of Digital Affairs will play a similar role as ITRI did in the past.

Nowadays, although Taiwan is currently planning to develop its software and digital economy industries, it has not tailored its development to follow major new-generation software and networking players such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Adobe, Salesforce, or Netflix closely. Taiwan should integrate efforts from the government and private enterprises to connect Taiwanese startup teams to these IT giants that have emerged in the past two decades, so as to re-establish Taiwan as an indispensable player in the global digital industry chain.

Startup teams are currently confronted with challenges including a drastic cooldown of global tech stocks, and a credit squeeze brought forth by a rapid interest hike to curb inflation, all of which affect the funding of startup teams. Nevertheless, resource constraints often inspire greater creativity and more productive executions. Top Taiwan has proposed the following three recommendations for the fundraising efforts of startup teams amid such economic climate:

1. Startup teams should continue to optimize their products and services to make sure that customers are willing to pay. They also need to get back to the true nature of commerce, which is to find business models that generate liquidity quickly.

2. Startup teams need to be very clear of their core products. All non-core products should be discarded.

3. The purpose of fundraising for a startup is not merely to get through these tough times, but also to strengthen investments in its core products and to widen its competitive edge over its competitors.

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Top Taiwan Venture Capital hopes to become a steadfast partner that offers the strongest support for entrepreneurs. By making investment, it wishes to help Taiwanese entrepreneurs who will lead future transformations, and thereby nurturing world-class Taiwanese enterprises.

Readers can download '2022 Taiwan Startup Ecosystem Survey' jointly conducted by PwC Taiwan, TIER and DIGITIMES: