What you need to know
Ten questions with Taiwan Startup Stadium ‘captain’, Anita Huang.
‘It's no use dreaming of the global market while staying at your living room in Taiwan. Go out and see the world.’ – Anita Huang.
Anita Huang (黃蕙雯) heads up Taiwan’s government-funded “startup hub” that works with local founders to help them towards the path of global success.
The News Lens International (TNL): Why was Startup Stadium founded and how does it help Taiwan’s startups?
Anita Huang: Launched in May 2015, Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS) is a startup hub on a mission to internationalize the Taiwan tech startup ecosystem. The backdrop of TSS is a government initiative called "Head Start Taiwan” chartered by the National Development Council and we saw the global extension a missing piece in the startup ecosystem. Our core activities coach Taiwan startups to go global and rock the world through intensive programs, strong leadership, and a broad network of global partners.
TNL: What is the single biggest challenge facing startups in Taiwan?
Huang: Taiwan is generally strong in technology and product, weak in go to market – [including] customer development, sales, channel and partnership development for international markets.
TNL: How many companies and people are you currently working with?
Huang: In a bit over a year, 130-plus Taiwan-based startups participated in our educational programs between three days to six weeks, aiming to go global. We also run a curated membership with around 80 startups.
TNL: What are the biggest success stories to-date?
Huang: The role of TSS is an ecosystem builder and the first year priority had been raising overall awareness of Taiwan startups going global, as well as Taiwan startups visibility in key target regions. Without naming a single company, we've successfully referred 10-plus startups into top global accelerators, five-plus to funding investments and educated 130-plus startups on various “go global” courses. Some startups we work with made big blasts at Slush Asia and TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 top tech conferences this year.
TNL: Why do you think certain companies have succeeded?
Huang: Top qualities across the board: know the customers really well, agility to adjust, hustle.
TNL: What is the most common misconception about the startup scene in Taipei?
Huang: "If I build great technology, customers will come."
TNL: You’ve recently been to TechCrunch/NYC Media Lab, what were the key takeaways for Taiwan startups from that trip?
Huang: We feel confident as Taiwan startups do present high quality and unique concepts and products. Founders should also continue to improve on articulating better on the vision, value proposition, and business potential of their startups to an international audience. Eventually, startups are about generating new business that means something. Storytelling is particularly important at conference setting.
TNL: You mentioned getting Taiwanese startups into some of the top global accelerators, why is it so important to get Taiwan companies and founders into the international startup ecosystem?
Huang: It's no use dreaming of the global market while staying at your living room in Taiwan. Go out and see the world. TSS works with top global accelerators and selected landing partners that provide some systems and structures for startups to fully immerse and build networks in their target market.
TNL: If you could say one thing to a college graduate thinking about starting their own company, what would it be?
Huang: If you feel that you might regret a lifetime not doing something you feel so strongly about, just do it.
TNL: What do you want TSS to have achieved in five years?
Huang: Help to build three to five “hero stories” for Taiwanese young entrepreneurs.
Editor: Edward White