Taiwan’s NEXT BIG Project: 9 Industry-Leading Startups You Must Know
On August 4, 2021, Startup Island TAIWAN, Taiwan’s national startup brand backed by the National Development Council (NDC) of Taiwan, launched the “NEXT BIG” project and nominated nine startups to represent the island and strengthen Taiwan’s international reputation, drive innovation, and convey Taiwan’s entrepreneurial talent to the world.
Two of our portfolio companies 17LIVE and Pinkoi, are among the nine start-up representatives nominated by the NDC of Taiwan.
Established in 2015, 17LIVE is the largest live streaming platform in Asia, has operations in nine countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the United States. 17LIVE uses AI and machine-learning technology to provide authentic and zero-time difference streaming services to more than 45 million users all over the world.
We invested in 17LIVE from 2015. Then, in 2017, 17LIVE established its branch in Japan, and we spent only one year building 17LIVE Japan from scratch to the number one live streaming platform in Japan. In 2020, the founder and CEO of 17 Japan and our former Partner, Hirofumi Ono, became CEO of the entire 17LIVE Group.
During the pandemic, live streaming has gone mainstream. As a result, the number of signed live streamers nearly increased to 300 percent in 2020, comparing to the previous year. With the business motto of “Anyone Can Be an Artist,” 17LIVE has helped live-streaming talent develop their careers online. Their stars have gone on to inspire new and creative content in the world of entertainment. You can even tour ancient Japanese tombs on 17LIVE.
Established in 2011, Pinkoi, the leading e-commerce platform for creatives in Asia, aims at creating a design ecosystem and environment. With the slogan “Design the Way You Are,” Pinkoi’s marketplace connects with consumers with curated original goods from indie artists and creatives and helps designers build their brands internationally.
We noticed the high potential of Pinkoi’s business and invested in them in early 2013. Later on, in 2015, Sequoia Capital also invested in Pinkoi. In 2016, Pinkoi has become the biggest shareholder of “iichi,” its Japanese competitor, and advanced its business in Japan.
Today, Pinkoi provides over 25,000 designer shops to over four million members across 93 countries, and has operations in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, the United States, Canada, and other international markets.
We are pleased to see our portfolio companies being part of the force in accelerating Taiwan’s business growth in international markets.
Other NEXT BIG Taiwanese Startups
CoolBitX, founded in 2014, is a FinTech company that specializes in blockchain security technology. It is famous for credit-card-sized “CoolWallet,” the world’s first mobile hardware wallet.
Their mission statement is: “Transform to Create Positive Change.” Gogoro, the electric vehicle company, provides battery swapping and shared vehicle platforms to create a sustainable ecosystem for scooter users.
Established in 2011, skincare company Greenvines has won the “Best For The World: Environment” award by B Lab for five years running. They‘ve’ banned 2,700 non-essential ingredients, and are focused on developing clean, natural skincare.
Founded in 2011, iKala provides AI-driven digital transformation solutions and data-driven new retail services to more than 400 enterprise customers across 12 industries and eight countries in Asia, along with over 15,000 advertisers.
Founded in 2009, Kdan Mobile is a global SaaS provider that provides enterprise cloud solutions, including tools for managing office documents and creative content. They’re supported by over 200 million downloads and over 10 million members worldwide.
Since 2014, KKday, Asia’s largest in-depth travel e-commerce platform, has expanded to over ten countries and covered more than 30,000 itineraries in 92 countries and 550 cities worldwide.
Established in 2013, 91APP is the first Online Merge Offline (OMO) new retail software cloud service and the first SaaS company listed in Taiwan. With a market value exceeding NT$40 billion, they provide omnichannel solutions for retail brands.
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