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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.

2010

 

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.

2011

 

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.

2012

 

・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.

2013

 

・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.

2014

 
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AW#8 and AW#9 joined AppWorks Accelerator.

・Total valuation of AppWorks Startups crossed the US$100 million mark.

2015

 

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.

2016

 

・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.

2017

 

・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.

2018

 

・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.

2019

 

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.

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Greater Southeast Asia’s Leading Startup Launchpad

AppWorks Accelerator

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.

AW#20

AW#21

Parallel Lines
There Isn’t A Founder Community in Greater Southeast Asia 
That’s Greater

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.

395

Active Startups

+8 from 2019

1,331

Total Founders

+218 from 2019

US$11.1B

Total Valuation

+160% from 2019

US$2.4B

Total Capital Raised

+140% from 2019

US$8.1B

Total Annual Revenues

+162% from 2019

17,359

Total Jobs Provided

+73% from 2019

AppWorks Ecosystem Highlights

Making a Dent in the Universe

AW#9

iWEECARE

・The World’s Smallest Wearable Thermometer on the Frontlines of Battling COVID-19 
Raised US$2.4M in Pre-A Extension Round 

AW#13

ShopBack

・No.1 Online Cashback Platform in GSEA 
Expanding into Vietnam, Covering 9 Countries Regionally

AW#14

CakeResume

・Leading Tech Industry Job Searching Platform in Taiwan
・Raised US$900K Seed Round, Expanding into Japan and India

AW#16

Omnichat

・Omni-Channel Conversational Retargeting Solution for ECs
Raised US$800K Seed Round

AW#18

AuthMe

・Taiwan Leading Digitized Identity Authentication Solution

White Hat Hackers Detected National-level Cyber Security Issue

AW#20

Mighty Jaxx

・Platform for Tech-enabled Collectible Figures, Aiming to Authenticate 5 Million Units in 2020
Raised US$3.2M for MightyVerse

Portfolio

Dapper Labs

・Launched Flow Chain & NBA Topshot.
Raised US$18M from Community Sales & Auction

Portfolio

iCHEF

・Leading Restaurant POS System in Taiwan Aiming towards IPO

Raised US$5M Series B Round

Portfolio

KKday

・Top Travel EC Platform in Taiwan

Raised US$75M Series C Round

Image by Ethan Lin
We Are Now One of GSEA’s Largest Early-Stage VCs

AppWorks Funds

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.

256

Graduates

(+77 from 2019)

28 days

Average Job-Seeking Duration

92%

Placement as Engineer

US$25,060

Median Annual Starting Salary

Image by Lisanto 李奕良

It’s Been

Quite a Decade...

2020 and the associated global pandemic marked a rather turbulent end to an otherwise productive decade. It was in this time that AppWorks evolved from barely a handful of fresh entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on Taiwan’s nascent internet industry and into the regional powerhouse community of digital innovators that is today. 

Over the years, our ecosystem has grown to encompass 1,331 founders and 395 active startups across both Taiwan and Southeast Asia, producing countless jobs and immeasurable value in the process. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’d like to extend a special thank you to our friends and partners across Greater Southeast Asia that have helped us along the way. 

Moving into the next 10 years, we’re confident that technologies such as AI / IoT and Blockchain / DeFi will define a whole new generation of startups betting on an increasingly smart and decentralized future. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to further strengthening the regional ecosystem together in 2021.

PARTNERS

ASSOCIATES

ANALYSTS

FELLOW

SPECIALISTS

Investor Relations Manager

Anne Chen
Communications Master

Antony Lee

Recruiting Master

Izza Lin

Finance & Accounting Master
Jasmine Tsai
Alumni Community Manager

Joy Chiang
Legal Master

Liying Wang
Design Master

Tim Tu
Space Director

Vanessa Lu

APPWORKS SCHOOL

Head of AppWorks School

Shirney Huang

Android/iOS Instructor

Wayne Chen

Front-End Instructor

Max Hsu

Backend Instructor

Arthur Lin

And a special thanks to all the Team AppWorks alumni that contributed over the past 10 years:

Jackey Wang, Mike Chen, Joan Cheng, Phini Yang, John Kuo, Yvette Lin, Sam Lam, Judy Hsu, IC Chan, Kay Ko, Gaga Liu, Scylla Tsai, April Shih, Shuhua Wang, Yvonne Wu, TP Lin, Brandon Chiang, Bird Liang, Annie Su, Sandi Wu, Enid Tian, and Douglas Crets.