Venturap 2015／Appier’s Experience on Being A Successful Startup
Venturap 2015 – a global forum held by Department of Economic Development Taipei City Government and TVCA that gathers nearly hundreds of entrepreneurs, start-ups, start-up accelerators, incubators, Venture Capitals. Moreover, the conference invited more than 40 well-known speakers to Venturap 2015.
Venturap 2015 was a two-days event consisting of ten forums that cover various topics, including innovation, venture capitals, female entrepreneurship, and etc. “Successful Fund-Raising of Taiwan Startups” was a topic of one of the forums, in which Venturap 2015 invited start-ups who already obtained early-stage investments to share their experiences on fund-raising in their businesses.
Looking for a Right Venture Capital Is Like Finding Your “Mr. Or Mrs. Right”
“To be honest, we focus on developing the products instead of spending time fund-raising and marketing the product because we have to find a way to survive,” said by Chih-Han Yu, the CEO of Appier.
Nevertheless, Appier was the first Taiwanese start-up who received 6 million USD from Round A investment from Sequoia Capital in 2014, and moreover, they received 2.3 million USD from Round B investment again in March last year. People might wonder how Appier promotes its produce and service by using the simplest and the most efficient way?
Appier is consisted of a group of scientists and engineers in AI expertise. They provide cross-screen service by big data to conduct the digital marketing. Appier already earned revenues before Sequoia Capital’s investment, and Yu said, this is one of the advantage of Appier when looking for investments. Yu shared ten important points on looking for venture capitals:
1. Validate: Having a convincing business model and validated product can not only demonstrate your company’s ability to VCs, it also allows your company to operate more efficiently
2. Team and Vision: A team should move toward the right director with a good vision.
3. Growth: Growth of the business is the priority. Operations and Survivals are always the most important factors in your company.
4. Investors: Investors are partners of the enterprise. You have to pick carefully because it is difficult to get rid of them within 5 to 15 years.
5. Early On Stage: Do not underestimate your company in the early on stage. Do not ignore the resources you would need in this stage.
6. Fund-raising Management: You have to manage the fund-raising. If you receive too much from fund-raising, it will cause the risk to the company; yet, you will be distracted from fund-raising routine if you do not receive enough money from fund-raising.
7. Value > Price: What is valuable is the product and service your company created, but not how much money you earned from the fund-raising.
8. Investors who value your product: You should look for investors who understand and value your company instead of their fame and backgrounds.
9. Investor’s Management and Advice: It is best for an enterprise to find investors who can provide helpful opinion on your business and also give you the capacity of managing your own company
10. Many a little make a mickle: You have to believe the company’s vision, and devoted yourself to it. By the end of the day, many a little will make a mickle.
Yu also mentioned about “globalization”. In his opinion, startups need to be aware that to get the investment from global venture capitals, your product or service needs to satisfy the international scale. “You have to convince that your team and the market of the product or service are worth the investment to those venture capitals,” said by Yu. He also emphasized that meeting the standard of international scale does not mean that a team must consist of members from different countries. It simply means that to reach the international standard, you have to prove that your product can be accepted by different cultures, languages and countries in comparison of others.
Demonstrating Ideas and Receiving Funds from Crowd-Funding
Adms Chung, the CEO from MoBagel, a start-up that was elected as one of 500 startups in the United States and and the founder of “Meeti IoT” added advice to the forum – they were advised by the mentor from 500 Startups not to easily accept the investment from venture capitals because it would cause problems for the business operation, such as the over-involvement from the investors that would hurt the growth of startups.
In addition to finding potential venture capitals and angel investors, crowd-funding is also a strategy to help startups get funds in a short time. FLUX, a startup that combines with 3D screening, 3D printing and laser cutting, successfully obtained 1.5 million USD from Kickstarter in 2013. Shawn Lin, the co-founder of FLUX said that crowd-funding is not financing, but more like a marketing and pre-sale platform. Startups are able to find out what the public likes and how to make your product to meet the public’s preference.
“We are still at a very young stage. Our members include college students and thus others would think that we are still inexperienced in business. This is also the reason we start with crowd-funding,” said by Lin.
Crowd-funding can not only receive funds and demonstrate your product in a short time, but also a way to improve your product or service through different resources, including the feedback and opinion from the followers and backers. Besides, due to the product exposed on the crowd-funding platform, FLUX was able to attract SVT Angel’s attention to provide sponsorship of three-months internship in Silicon Valley to experience the spirit of entrepreneurship.
中文版連結Cover photo from Venturap website