Becoming an entrepreneur: insights from industry experts

Wenchi Alice Kuo, Special to DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: NATEA

On July 28th, Friday, at the Company Venture in New York City, the North America Taiwanese Engineering & Science Association (NATEA) NY team hosted a thought-provoking startup talk event, centered around the theme of "Becoming an Entrepreneur". The entrepreneurial journey is often a daring leap from the familiar world of corporate jobs to the uncertain territory of startups. Throughout the talk, industry experts generously shared their invaluable experiences, challenges, and expert advice for those aspiring to make this transformation. Covering a wide array of topics, from finding the right co-founder to understanding the industry and securing venture capital funding, the event provided a treasure trove of insights for budding entrepreneurs.

Finding the Courage to Transition

The event began with Ted Shih, founder & CEO of Teletrx, taking the stage. Having established his third successful startup, Ted emphasized the importance of finding the courage to take the leap into entrepreneurship. He discussed how his background in high-speed IC design, coupled with his passion for innovation, fueled his determination to create Teletrx. Ted's story demonstrates that a strong sense of purpose and expertise in a specific domain can be powerful drivers for aspiring entrepreneurs. Furthermore, he shared the significance of authenticity as a founder, proving to potential investors that you are genuinely committed to your startup.

Unconventional Pathways to Entrepreneurship

Felicia Lin, Producer & Host of Talking Taiwan, shared her unique journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Her eclectic career, spanning finance, banking, human resources, education, and more, demonstrated that the path to entrepreneurship doesn't always follow a linear trajectory. Felicia's transition from social media and content marketing strategist to podcasting highlighted the importance of embracing diverse experiences and passions. She stressed that the fusion of various skill sets can lead to exciting entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, Felicia shared the significance of finding a partner who can co-work with you, making decisions together, and sharing the burden of the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. This way, both individual can grow together and navigate the challenges hand in hand, ensuring a stronger foundation.

Bootstrap and Independence

During the startup talk event, Lee Lin, the founder & CEO of RentHop, shared his remarkable real estate startup story, placing a strong emphasis on bootstrapping as a founder rather than chasing external funding. With an impressive 15 years of existence achieved solely through bootstrapping, RentHop has maintained itself within the seed round, showcasing the power of financial prudence and sustainable growth. Lee's approach highlights the value of independence and strategic decision-making, offering aspiring entrepreneurs valuable insights into building resilient businesses that endure the test of time.

The Role of Accelerators and Networking

Moderated by Alice Kuo, a Business Innovation Consultant at Alice Lab, the event delved into the role of accelerators in startup growth. She emphasized that accelerators offer not just financial support but also valuable mentorship, networking opportunities, and exposure to potential investors. Alice, with her extensive knowledge of both the Taiwan and U.S. startup ecosystems, highlighted the importance of building a robust network and seeking guidance from experienced mentors.

Addressing Challenges and Focusing on Core Business

Throughout the event, several challenges faced by entrepreneurs were discussed. From writing a business plan to fundraising, recruiting, and accepting venture capital funding, the speakers shed light on how to overcome these hurdles. Emphasizing the significance of understanding the industry and finding market fit, they stressed the need to stay focused on the core business and remain adaptable in a dynamic market environment.

The Importance of Trust and Transparency

Another key aspect covered was the importance of trust and transparency within a co-founding team. Creating a strong foundation of trust and open communication is vital for a startup's success. Speakers shared personal anecdotes and experiences that showcased how a harmonious and supportive co-founding team can drive the company forward.

The Value of Mentors and Building a Network

The event concluded with a discussion on the value of mentors and the role they play in an entrepreneur's journey. Having mentors who can provide guidance, share insights, and offer support can significantly enhance an entrepreneur's decision-making process. The speakers encouraged attendees to actively seek out mentorship opportunities and build a diverse network of contacts within the industry.

In conclusion, the "Becoming an Entrepreneur" startup talk event organized by NATEA (North America Taiwanese Engineering and Science Association) NY team surpassed all expectations, leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape. Gathering like-minded Taiwanese working professionals in New York, the event proved to be a catalyst for dynamic interactions, with Q&A session that surpassed 30 minutes, fostering engaging conversations that continued into the post-event dinner. The speakers openly shared their invaluable insights, emphasizing the significance of bootstrapping, strategic decision-making, and sustainable growth. The high attendance rate, with 90% of Taiwanese working professionals in NYC participating, showcased the event's resonance and relevance within the community. This fruitful gathering of entrepreneurial minds served as a testament to the power of knowledge-sharing and networking in empowering aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey to success.


The North America Taiwanese Engineering & Science Association (NATEA) is a vibrant non-profit organization dedicated to promoting technological and scientific exchange and cooperation between North America and Taiwan. Through various events and activities, NATEA fosters a strong community of professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators, contributing to the growth and development of science and technology across borders.

Follow NATEA Instagram (@NATEA_Silicon_Valley) and subscribe Newsletter for upcoming events.

Follow Alice's Medium ( for more US startup community insights