At the occasion of the upcoming business delegation to Taiwan, accompanying the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, the Czech Taiwanese Business Chamber and Startup Kitchen will hold the first-ever Ideathon between two countries that have dumplings as one of their national foods.
The primary purpose of Dumplings Hack is to gather software developers, startupers, data scientists, data visualization, and UX/UI experts to hack the growth and develop tailor-made solutions for DUMPLINGS HACK (25. – 26.3.) partners and the Czech Taiwanese business community in AI / IoT, circular economy, defense, e-mobility, healthcare, nanotechnology, and smart cities.
Welcome Tomas, Hope you’re doing great!
Hi Tom, thanks for having me!
Great to have you on board on our historical first-ever Ideathon between Taiwan and the Czech Republic. Are you looking forward?
Indeed, I am very excited to be a part of this historical Ideathon between Taiwan and the Czech Republic. It presents an exciting opportunity to witness innovative ideas and collaboration between two countries with distinct cultures and expertise. I am thrilled as this will be my first visit to Taiwan, and I look forward to exploring the country and meeting people I have been working with for some time now. Professionally, the Taiwania CEE Fund team and I are looking forward to the opportunity to meet our partners and potential partners in person.
Are your bags already packed? : )
Not yet, I prefer to leave it until the last minute 🙂
Tell us more about Taiwania Capital. When was the VC fund founded, and how many investments are there?
Taiwania Capital is an established global venture capital company investing in innovative startups in High-tech and Biotech sectors since 2017 and currently manages six funds with USD 865m in assets under management. As of now, Taiwania Capital has invested in over 61 companies in Taiwan, USA, and the CEE region.
Entrusted by Taiwan’s National Development Council, Taiwania has managed the CEE Fund since March 2022 and has already invested in three companies. Now that the fund has firmly established its presence in the region, we are planning to make 5-10 additional investments in 2023, with a couple of these investments to be made in the Czech Republic.
What does a typical startup for an investment look like? What stage, industry, or sector is in? How big a cheque do you usually write? What stage are you going in?
Our focus in the startup ecosystem is on the later stages of a company’s life cycle. Typically, the startup would have already developed its product to a point where it can generate revenue. Ideally, the company should aim to target a global market or collaborate with Taiwan, and our investment will assist the team in scaling up rapidly and efficiently. We invest tickets ranging from USD 2-20m, which indicates the company stages we are interested in. As a sector-agnostic investor, we have a broad industry focus and can invest in various technologies.
There is a new 200m EUR fund, why is the CEE region interesting for you and Taiwania Capital?
The USD 200m CEE Fund was initially set up to strengthen the relationship between Taiwan and the CEE region countries, primarily the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Lithuania, to show appreciation for their help during the pandemic. In addition, as many local investors may already know, the CEE region is currently a desirable market for venture capital investors for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is that companies in the region are underfunded, especially compared to their counterparts in Western Europe and the United States. As a result, many exceptional companies with global potential are often overlooked, offering an excellent opportunity for those who invest in the CEE market.
Another reason is the need for scale-up capital in the region. Despite a considerable number of seed and pre-seed funds, companies that outgrow these stages often struggle to find investors who concentrate specifically on the CEE region. This challenge is particularly evident in sectors such as biotech or semiconductors, where there is not only a scarcity of capital but also a need for more technical expertise to assess such companies. With our extensive experience and knowledge in these fields, our goal is to invest and take the lead in investment rounds, helping local investors identify the top projects in the region.
We are so happy to have you as a Main Partner at the DUMPLINGS HACK! What made you decide to join the spectacular event?
While our primary focus is to make excellent investments and deliver a high return on investment, our fund is also highly committed to bridging the gap between the CEE region and Taiwan. We are continuously looking for ways to support initiatives that foster business partnerships between these two regions, and the Dumplings Hack is one of the best ideas we heard.
What roles may participants meet and greet you in?
With my colleagues from the Taipei office, I will mentor the teams who have chosen to participate in the hackathon. Mitch Yang, CEE Fund Managing Partner, will also serve as a jury member, and I am confident that some of our other colleagues from Taiwania will also participate.
What are the specifics of Taiwanese work ethics? What may Czech participants expect from their Taiwanese colleagues?
Taiwanese people are very welcoming and some of the nicest people I have met. At the same time, when it comes to work, people are very much goal-oriented and have a high work ethic. These characteristics are crucial for innovation and will help make the Dumplings Hack successful. Czech participants can expect a warm welcome, a lot of fun, a little work, and plenty of great opportunities to build partnerships.
Thank you! We hope this gonna be a great event! And first of many! Now let us turn our attention to you. How long have you been in Taiwania Capital?
I joined Taiwania Capital in the summer of 2022 as the CEE Fund started actively looking for investments in the region so about ten months ago.
What brought you there? Do you still remember your first day?
The appeal is obvious for someone interested in venture capital based in the CEE region. Only a few companies of this size, with this kind of expertise, focus specifically on the CEE region and would have experience running professional funds on a global scale. The initial days were fantastic but hectic as we immediately spent about three weeks traveling with the entire team to become acquainted with the local startup ecosystems.
We are Startup Kitchen, therefore we have to ask -> what’s your favorite food?
From a young age, I enjoyed the traditional Czech Republic and Slovakia sweets, so Vetrnik is one of my favorites.
And what’s the craziest food you have ever eaten?
I would not want to offend any animal lowers, so I would say eating durian in southeast Asia was a great experience. Speaking of smelly foods in southeast Asia, I keep hearing about Taiwanese stinky tofu, a local delicacy, so can’t wait to try that one.
Thank you and looking forward to meeting you in Taipei!
Thank you, and I look forward to meeting all the participants in Taipei.