Mr. Tony Yu, partner of Mesh Ventures, indicated that the success enjoyed by the Silicon Valley model today, is a result of mind collision and brainstorming from two groups of people: firstly, countless entrepreneurs coming from different countries who are committed to changing the world through new technologies; and secondly, venture capitalists with unlimited resources who enjoy enriching their assets. After decades of cultivation under free-market capitalism, the integration of these two types of people has given rise to today's Silicon Valley.
Mr. Yu believes that Taiwan does not have to follow suit and completely copy the Silicon Valley experience. Nevertheless, it can draw on its innovative mindset and successful experience to formulate a business model that fits the local environment based on Taiwan's own industry strengths and conditions. Compared with the B2C industry, which has to be established on a market with a large population base, Taiwan has a better chance in developing a unique entrepreneurial ecosystem in the B2B market.
Mr. Yu pointed out that the reason why entrepreneurship is so challenging and stressful is on top of focusing on innovative technology, products and services, and its business model, a startup team also has to learn to grasp the seven vectors of business management, i.e., production, sales, human resources, information management, development, financial management, and regulations, under time constraint.
In particular, production refers to the entire production process of the startup products and services, from upstream raw materials, to adding value to the products and services, and all the way to delivery to customers. Sales refers to two distinctively different tasks, namely, marketing and sales. The former involves identifying the market and setting its positioning, while the latter involves engaging in strategic applications and closes the deal using sales techniques. Human resources do not simply mean the team's recruitment, training, or retention, but also include selecting investors and human resource management. Information management refers to software and hardware tools that are indispensable in information and communication, and cyber security nowadays. They are a necessity for developing products, building services, and business management. Development refers to research and development (R&D). It is the core competency of a tech startup. Financial management refers to the management and planning procedures of finances, accounting and fundraising. Regulations are pertaining to legal affairs, including legal compliance, intellectual property protection and deal negotiations.
The only key to an enterprise's continued success in the market is to possess all seven business management skills. More importantly, the core members must understand what they lack before they can focus on how to gradually make up for their inadequacy in skills and resources, such as industry networks, accelerators, or venture capitalists, through various means in a goal-oriented and deliberate manner. The faster a company could strengthen the "seven-legged table," the sooner it can achieve sustainable success. This is a mental preparation that all entrepreneurs should have.
When it comes to the development trend of Taiwanese startups over the next five to ten years, Mr. Yu believes that the world is changing very rapidly, and emerging opportunities often come and go. In the present stage, Mesh focuses on investing in the so-called "new mobile technology" platform and its derivative services including electric vehicles, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and autonomous vehicles. Other fields such as high-performance computing (HPC) and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications are also favorites. In particular, Mesh believes that enabling technologies, which are necessary for the aforementioned technologies and promote shared use, will continue to undergo positive growth over the next five years.
Mr. Yu also pointed out that if Taiwanese startups wish to create more robust international competitiveness and influence, there is much room for growth in terms of innovations in their business models and their understanding of the international market. A collective effort for improvement is therefore required. Underpinned by such foundation, if the Taiwanese startup teams are able to showcase their qualities and skills in terms of technological management, and utilize their competencies in design optimization and problem solving to help industry grow and advance, the potential business opportunities would be endless.
As a whole, Mr. Yu believes that Taiwan needs more success stories from the new generation of entrepreneurs, so that future startups can look up to them as role models.
From a long-term perspective of building a comprehensive venture capital (VC) environment, and energizing the upstream and downstream of the VC ecosystem, Mr. Yu wishes to encourage corporate venture capital (CVC) to be more proactive in investing in and acquiring startup teams, as this would invigorate and bring brand-new visions to the market. With the support of ample resources and partners, the Taiwanese entrepreneurial ecosystem could undergo a more healthy and robust growth, and give rise to more exciting possibilities.
Readers can download " 2022 Taiwan Startup Ecosystem Survey" jointly conducted by PwC Taiwan, TIER and DIGITIMES: https://www.pwc.tw/en/publications/taiwan-startup-ecosystem-survey.html