Taiwan startups, embracing the global stage at Slush 2019

Benerva Suarez
December 2, 2019

Over the years, Slush has grown from a local Nordic Tech Conference to one of the top startup events in the world and this year was no exception. With over 25,000 startup enthusiasts, including 3,500 startups and 2,000 investors no wonder Slush is listed as a “must attend” startup event every single year.

Aside from the exhibition, the event itself also had an all-star line up of speakers, including founders from Canva, Twitch, and Giphy, as well as representatives from notable tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel. And once the stage programs are over for the day, the trademark Slush startup experience has just started. The Slush Afterparty is known for music, food, and even karaoke experience.  

As for the main attraction, everyone is here to learn about the top startups around the world, and for this recap we will focus on the five Taiwan delegations that showcased their technology at this year’s event. Taiwan is no stranger to the annual Slush event, last year Taiwan’s Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs (SMEA) also attended the event. For this year’s event the delegation’s technology emphasis was on AR, AI, and smart healthcare. And to get a sense of the team’s caliber, 3drens, one of the Taiwan startups was selected as Top 100 startup at the main Slush Pitch Competition.

3drens on stage pitching

In addition to the main Slush event attraction, the goal is to take the opportunity to forge a continued relationship with local Finnish startup communities in building awareness to Taiwan startup. This year was no exception, with the Taiwan and Finland Demo Day, co-organized by Taiwan’s G Camp and Finland’s Maria 01, Taiwan startups took home one of the top 3 prizes. The Light Up Finland award went to Singular Wings Medical from Taiwan, which develops wearable devices that detect physiological signals.

The five participating Taiwan startups were the finalists of the 3rd G Camp batch, a startup accelerating program organized by Taiwan’s Small and Medium Enterprise Administration and Institute for Information Industry (III). The Institute has been the leading force in presenting Taiwan startups to the global stage through resources such as G Camp, which stands for “Growing,”“Global,” and “Go.” It has joined hands with international incubators and innovation agencies, including 10x Innovation Lab, Silicon Valley Forum, and Blackstorm Consulting, to provide Taiwan startups with a favorable environment to thrive and internationalize.

Winners of the Light Up Finland and the Light Up Taiwan awards

The Light Up Taiwan award was given to Finland’s Selko.io, a pioneering automation tools provider and consultation services in requirements engineering, and brought it the opportunity to enter Taiwan market through the NCTU Industrial Accelerator program. Finland’s Hurricane Unwinder was also selected by APTG 5G Accelerator to join its second phase program for future market development.

The bilateral collaboration enabled not only dialogue, but also concrete resources for startups from Taiwan and Finland to successfully soft-land in the respective countries.

Taiwan x Finland Demo Day

In order for the Taiwan startups to get a better picture of the Finland market, they had the opportunity to visit Business Finland, a public funding agency directed by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy. The main agenda was to introduce the different resources available to startups and understand the general landscape and what it can offer to help Taiwan startups succeed in the region.

Taiwan startups hosted by Mr. Arto Pussinen, Head of Invest in Finland (ICT and Digitalisation) at Business Finland

The learning process continues with the visit to Helsinki Business Hub. The emphasis of this meeting was to allow Taiwan startups to openly discuss their needs and challenges of growth and expansion. Mr. Kimmo Koponen and Mr. Xin Wang, Senior Business Advisors at the Helsinki Business Hub provided tremendous insight during the discussions and even outlined the key next step for startups to consider.

Taiwan startups hosted by Mr. Kimmo Koponen, Senior Business Advisor for Health and Japan and Mr. Xin Wang, Senior Business Advisor for China at Helsinki Business Hub

To wrap up the overall startup immersive experience, each Taiwan startup participated in the business matchmaking session, giving them the opportunity to meet with local professionals related to their industry. These professionals included clinical research manager, CEO of a food tech company, business advisors of the city government on Smart Mobility, as well as the Thematic Lead Health of the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) Programme. And with the support from Blackstorm, not only prepared the startups for the matchmaking sessions, but also during the Slush event to better respond to potential investors.  

Slush is famous for its festival like set up and intimate atmosphere and at this year’s event it was no exception. For this year’s five Taiwan startups, their Slush experience will definitely be an experience like no other as they continue on their startup journey. The overall experience will shape them as they expand outside of Taiwan, and the knowledge and connections they have built will hopefully prepare them for the global startup stage. Can’t wait to see what Taiwan startup has to offer in 2020, to be continued.

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