What has AppWorks achieved in its first 10 years?
2009 was the year when the groundwork was laid before the official beginning of AppWorks. In this year, Jamie Lin started blogging on MR. JAMIE and has since written more than 1,300 posts. His writings have provided inspiration to millions of founders in the startup community. Jamie started Project AppWorks in late 2009 as a mission to give Taiwan and subsequently Greater Southeast Asia (Southeast Asia + TW) a big push so we stay on top of an increasingly digitalized, automated, and decentralized 21st-century world.
・AppWorks was officially incorporated in May.
・One of the earliest startup accelerators in Asia, AppWorks Accelerator kicked off its inaugural batch, AW#1, in June with 11 startups. Since then, AppWorks has invited the most promising startups to join the Accelerator twice a year.
・AppWorks led the seed round for EZTABLE (AW#1), marking our first investment into an AppWorks Accelerator alumni startup.
・AW#2 and AW#3 joined AppWorks Accelerator, bringing the total startup count to 32, and among them are CHOCO TV (AW#2) that was acquired by LINE in 2018 and became LINE TV.
・AppWorks successfully raised AppWorks Fund I with US$11 million, one of the only 7 Taiwanese VC funds that was raised that year and the first internet-focused fund since the 2000 dotcom crash, thanks to the support of key investors including Cathay Life Insurance, Phison Electronics, UDN Group, and The CID Group.
・AW#4 and AW#5 joined AppWorks Accelerator, total startup count grew to 57.
・Nice Cheng, ex-Co-founder of Webs-TV, the “Hulu before Hulu”, joined as Partner.
・AppWorks took AppWorks founders out west in our inaugural Bay Area Trek and visited founders / executives at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Square, and A16Z among other key Silicon Valley companies.
・AW#6 and AW#7 joined AppWorks Accelerator, total startup count now at 107.
・Joseph Chan, 11 years VC veteran of CID Group and ex-tech lead of Nasdaq-listed Gigamedia, joined as Partner.
・AW#8 and AW#9 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
・Total valuation of AppWorks Startups crossed the US$100 million mark.
・AppWorks closed AppWorks Fund II with US$51 million, thanks to the support of key investors including Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Cathay Life Insurance, Far EasTone, UDN Group, The CID Group, Fubon Life Insurance, and CDIB & Partners Investment Holdings.
・Now a go-to accelerator in Taiwan with 201 active startups in our network, AppWorks decided to extend its coverage to include founders in Southeast Asia in order to build a regional community and contribute to the rise and prosperity of Greater Southeast Asia.
・AW#10 and AW#11 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
・To increase engineering talent supply and accelerate ecosystem growth while helping to bridge the digital divide in the talent pool, AppWorks started AppWorks School.
・To connect Taiwan and SEA startup ecosystems, AppWorks hosted IMPACT 2016 in Taipei, featuring CEOs and executives from Sea, Lalamove, LAZADA, momo, PChome, Zalora, 17LIVE, Lion Travel, 91APP, KuoBrothers, and Soft-World.
・NetPublishing and KuoBrothers went public on TPEX, marking the first 2 IPO exits for AppWorks Funds portfolio.
・Jamie was elected as Chairman of Taiwan Internet and E-commerce Association (TiEA), Taiwan’s leading trade organization for the digital industry.
・AW#12 and AW#13 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
・After 2 years of hard work flying around SEA countries communicating to entrepreneurs how AppWorks can help them become better founders and scale their startups into regional companies , AppWorks Accelerator for the first time in its history admitted more international startups than local Taiwanese ones with AW#14, officially turning into a regional accelerator.
・Total valuation of all AppWorks Startups crossed the US$1 billion mark, 3 years after hitting the US$100 million mark.
・AW#14 and AW#15 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
・To remind founders the mobile internet ramp is coming to an end with new paradigm shifts underway, AppWorks Accelerator decided to only accept AI and Blockchain startups starting from AW#17.
・AW#16 and AW#17 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
・Jessica Liu and Andy Tsai promoted to Partners, marking a milestone in grooming next generation leadership in-house.
・AppWorks formed a strategic alliance with Taiwan Mobile, Taiwan’s 2nd largest telecom company with Jamie taking over as President of the group.
・AppWorks Fund III was oversubscribed with US$114 million under management, thanks to the support of key investors including Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Taiwan Mobile, Fubon Life Insurance, Cathay Life Insurance, Wistron Corporation, and Hungtai Group.
・AppWorks Associates TP Lin and Brandon Chiang tapped by Chunghwa Telecom and PChome to head Cornerstone Ventures, the newly formed joint corporate VC firm by the 2 heavyweights.
・To connect founders and bring the startup community in Greater Southeast Asia closer together, AppWorks co-hosted SYNC 2019 with Tech in Asia in Singapore, featuring founders and CEOs from Sea, OYO Rooms, Lazada, and Asia Partners.
・AW#18 and AW#19 joined AppWorks Accelerator.
In 2020, AppWorks continued to help founders from many different countries and verticals, contributing to revenue and job growth in the Taiwanese and regional economies. That is AppWorks’ original intention and has never changed in the past 10 years.
Greater Southeast Asia’s Leading Startup Launchpad
This was a year for AppWorks founders to defy convention with their creativity and grit. In 2020, we unveiled our strategy focusing on ABS, encompassing AI, Blockchain, and Southeast Asian startups across the region, and introduced a total of 51 startups.
This year, these startups have navigated the uncertainties brought by the pandemic and begun the process of becoming better founders, with 27 launching AI / IoT products, 13 paying no mind to haters by building Blockchain / Crypto startups with growing traction.
In our tradition of reshaping tradition, over 62% of the accelerator founders hail from markets in GSEA, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
This year, as COVID-19 kept founders across the region locked down in their respective countries, we turned the accelerator program into a hybrid model, crafting both online and on-site events for founders to participate.
There Isn’t A Founder Community in Greater Southeast Asia
The AppWorks Ecosystem
This exceptional group of founders produces US$11.1 billion in valuation -- this is a great milestone that we exceeded US$10 billion for the first time.
+8 from 2019
+218 from 2019
+160% from 2019
Total Capital Raised
+140% from 2019
Total Annual Revenues
+162% from 2019
Total Jobs Provided
+73% from 2019
AppWorks Ecosystem Highlights
Making a Dent in the Universe
・The World’s Smallest Wearable Thermometer on the Frontlines of Battling COVID-19
・Raised US$2.4M in Pre-A Extension Round
・No.1 Online Cashback Platform in GSEA
・Expanding into Vietnam, Covering 9 Countries Regionally
・Leading Tech Industry Job Searching Platform in Taiwan
・Raised US$900K Seed Round, Expanding into Japan and India
・Omni-Channel Conversational Retargeting Solution for ECs
・Raised US$800K Seed Round
・Taiwan Leading Digitized Identity Authentication Solution
・White Hat Hackers Detected National-level Cyber Security Issue
・Platform for Tech-enabled Collectible Figures, Aiming to Authenticate 5 Million Units in 2020
・Raised US$3.2M for MightyVerse
・Launched Flow Chain & NBA Topshot.
・Raised US$18M from Community Sales & Auction
・Leading Restaurant POS System in Taiwan Aiming towards IPO
・Raised US$5M Series B Round
・Top Travel EC Platform in Taiwan
・Raised US$75M Series C Round
We Are Now One of GSEA’s Largest Early-Stage VCs
10 years in, AppWorks is now one of the largest early-stage VCs in the GSEA region with US$176M assets under management.
We appreciate the support of our limited partners along the way, including Taiwan Mobile, Fubon Life Insurance, Cathay Life Insurance, Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Hungtai Group, The CID Group, Wistron Corporation, Phison Electronics, CDIB & Partners Investment Holdings, Far EasTone and UDN Group.
In 2020, AppWorks Funds made 9 investments in AI, Blockchain and SEA startups, including WeMo Scooter, an e-moped sharing operator with the aim of providing greener intra-city transportation; Fabelio, an Indonesia-based quick fashion furniture retailer enabling an online-merge-offline (OMO) customer experience; Dcard, the most popular anonymous social media platform in Taiwan.
We would like to share with you the good news of Fund II. With distribution in 2020, our distribution to total value to paid-in-capital (TVPI) has reached 2.5x, paid-in capital (DPI) was 1x as well as internal rate of return (IRR) was 26.5%, delivering our investors an outstanding performance compared to the top quartile of global PE/VC funds with the same vintage.
We also see founders doing their best to deliver growth and turn things around during this challenging time. iCHEF, the iOS-based point of sale (POS) system provider, managed to grow total active restaurants to more than 8,000 across Taiwan, HK, Singapore, and Malaysia, while also successfully integrating with food delivery platforms like Uber Eats and foodpanda. KKday secured US$ 75M C round this year and will use the funding to deepen foreign market with the support of strategic investors. Dapper Labs, the creator of Cryptokitties, has announced their collaboration with IP owners such as NBA, UFC this year and launched their new blockchain Flow specifically designed for the entertainment ecosystem.
Forging Tomorrow’s Hidden Talent Today
AppWorks School Trains New Engineers to Fuel A Growing Startup Island
Since mid-2016, AppWorks School has graduated 256 newly trained software engineers (+77 from 2019) through our 16-week free coding program. Of these, 92% of the graduates went on to pursue successful software engineering careers in prominent internet companies such iCHEF, 91APP, KKBOX, LINE TV, WeMo Scooter, LineTaxi, PicCollage, Hahow, VoiceTube, Bonio, Omnichat and Gogoro with a median starting annual salary of US$25,060.
(+77 from 2019)
Average Job-Seeking Duration
Placement as Engineer