Wraptie was the 2018 Dragons Chamber Taiwan Winner
Starting a business is hard! Everyday is a struggle to move forwards and there are many days when you only seem to fall backwards. At times it can be demoralizing, like you are never going to get your business off the ground.
Winning the 2018 Dragons Chamber Taiwan was, in many ways, a catalyst for Wraptie™ to progress to the next step. It validated us as a company and provided some much needed encouragement to keep fighting.
The application process had forced us to take a good look at our company and try to understand, from an investors point of view, where are we heading and why should someone want to invest in us. By analyzing our company in this way we have come to understand where our strengths and weaknesses lie and have been able to pivot the business to a more sustainable model. This exercise alone has been invaluable.
Prizes and money are most welcome, as any start-up founder will tell you. But the experience of showcasing your company in front of industry experts (and hundreds of people in the audience!) and then trying to convince them to recognize the value that you know your company has, should be required learning for all founders. If you don’t believe your company can win an award like this then how can you believe, deep down, that your company can succeed in the real world?
I’m very pleased to tell you that after a detailed evaluation and examination process, involving two rounds of scrutiny and a face to face presentation pitch, my company has been accepted into a startup accelerator program run by Fil Rouge Capital, a European organization which helps to develop startup companies. Fil Rouge receives hundreds of applications to their accelerator program every year, so even getting on their shortlist is an achievement; being accepted is a major milestone.
This three month program will provide me with weekly mentorship and business skills instruction, which will be extremely useful in developing the business further. The program will also invest an initial EUR 50,000 in my company (with an option to apply for additional funding at the end of the program, and an opportunity to pitch to additional investors), and will help me establish a company branch in Europe, for which Fil Rouge will provide any necessary legal assistance.
I attribute this success in large part to the skills and knowledge I learned during the Dragon’s Chamber event in which I participated last year. The scrutiny and advice you all provided throughout that process was enormously helpful to me, and gave me the ability to pitch my company effectively to one of the largest and most influential startup accelerators in Europe. The second place award I won at Dragon’s Chamber was also very likely a significant contributing factor to my credibility.
I felt it was important to let you know of this progress, since it is a testament to the value of the Dragon’s Chamber program. It was invaluable in helping to transform me from “I have no idea how to answer these questions”, to “Now I’ve finished writing a 16 page business plan, I’ll pitch to this European startup accelerator with EUR 34 million to spend”.
Woodpecker Learning was the 2017 Dragons Chamber Taiwan Winner
We are grateful to the organizers not only for the cash and other prizes, but also for the publicity that came with the event. We promoted our win on social media and to our business partners. This led to higher downloads and greater credibility with those enterprises that we wanted to partner with.
Since our presentation in last November’s competition our products have come a long way in terms of both reliability and functionality. A language learner can now browse the web with close to the same confidence as a native speaker, immersing themselves in video and web pages, understanding the content as never before.
We are just about to launch an API and a WordPress plugin so others can offer their users the same dictionary lookup functions that we have in our Woodpecker app. If you go to our English and Chinese language learner blogs you can see it in operation. Let us know if you would like to be an early adopter and get it for free.
There are many benefits of entering a competition like this one. The obvious ones are the prizes and the publicity but there are some hidden benefits as well. You have to think through every aspect of your business and the questions you may be asked. When we did this, it changed our thinking and forecasts. You must hone your pitch to perfection and give it to a large audience. This was the first time we had done this and we learned a lot. If you have the opportunity to enter this competition then do it.
Peter Sutton and Gijs Slijpen
Last year, My Room Abroad had the pleasure to be finalist of the 2nd Dragons’ Chamber in Meet Taipei. This event has been a drive for our young startup team and has allowed us to deepen our roots in the Taiwanese startup ecosystem. During the different stages of the competition, we’ve been exposed to interesting feedback and we have had the opportunity to meet with dynamic foreigners in Taipei.
At the time of the Dragons’ Chamber, My Room Abroad was able to provide accommodation to 750 international students in Taipei. The number of rooms on the website has since then more than doubled, to close to 2000 rooms in Taipei and New Taipei City. Our team has recently welcomed its first Taiwanese employee, who will help us to grow the supply side of the platform even faster.
On the demand side, My Room Abroad has built new partnerships with interesting partners such as universities and Reach to Teach. The latter has been one of the many positive externalities of last years’ Dragons’ Chamber. While the universities were already our primary communication channel to reach the students’ audience, the new partnership with Reach to Teach has allowed My Room Abroad to target the English Teachers in Taipei.
My Room Abroad has also recently finished AppWorks’ prestigious acceleration program with teams from all over Southeast Asia. Having strengthened our pitch during the Dragons’ Chamber has definitely benefited us to enter the program.
In addition to strengthening its position in Taipei, My Room Abroad has its eyes on Tokyo. The new laws about short term rental are beneficial for us and might help us to increase our supply base even faster than in Taipei. We’re looking forward to address the annual pool of 200,000 international students in Tokyo.
Thank you one more time for the amazing opportunity that we received last year.
Sebastien de Lophem
Eatsmart was the 2017 Dragons Chamber Taiwan 3rd place team
Our company had the honor to participate to the 2017 Dragons’ Chamber event @ Meet Taipei. This was the 1st time my partner and I pitched for our start-up, and the event really helped us to improve our speech quality and company deck. The judges gave us pertinent feedback to help us grow, especially regarding our marketing approach and elements missing to our presentation to fully convince them. Thanks to judge’s constructive comments, we built a greater focus on marketing actions and channels to find new customers.
Dragons’ Chamber Event served as a springboard for us to improve and be more precised for future fundraising and pitching events. We particularly liked the format of the competition which is very similar to pitching to VC’s or potential investors. Also, I have to mention the friendly environment between participants as well as with the judges. This helps to feel more confident to do such presentation
Since last year, we achieved great milestones. Firstly, we finished to develop our website www.eatsmart.tw. Then, we improved the delivery service to customers located outside Taipei, in all of Taiwan. Thirdly, we developed new corporate offers to companies located in Taipei. On the top of all this, we elaborated new IT tools to better analyze company flows and forecasts.
Thank you to the whole Dragons’ Chamber team for its great support!
Our company was a finalist of 2017 Dragon’s Chamber Taiwan event. The Dragons gave us lots of valuable feedback on our business model and strategies to penetrate Taiwan before and after the event. The pitch event was extremely helpful getting huge exposure for innovative startups to showcase their ability to potential customers, local business community and investors. We really felt supported and that the business was going to grow. Through the communication with the pros from the Dragons, we was inspired to think beyond the boarder and be motivated and more confident in what we are working on.
Since last year, our platform memepr.com has finished its 2nd phrase development adding more intelligence features and connecting more marketing channels and agencies in the Greater China and Southeast Asian region making MemePR truly an one-stop marketing expertise for agile and cross boarder marketing service. This year we will focus more on assisting small and mid-sized enterprises on brand consultancy, media exposure, technology marketing (e.g. eShop, ARVR, chatbot,etc.) fields.
We would take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Dragons for their generous support and sharing.
In the year since KP Kitchen Taiwan participated as a finalist in Dragons’ Chamber 2017, we have refocused our business with a growth plan that focuses on our goal to get our DIY baking products into supermarkets. We’ve refined our brand image, developed a new microwave-based product, made more strategic choices for marketing and we’re working towards fully automating our production process.
When starting out in business it’s easy to become consumed by the daily grind and overly focused on working in the business rather than on the business. Preparing for the Dragons’ Chamber event gave us a very real reason to take a step back from day-to-day operations and look at the larger picture of where KP Kitchen Taiwan had been, and how we planned to grow it in the future.
Preparing for and ultimately presenting at Dragons’ Chamber was an invaluable experience. The tough questions from the Dragons during the event and the feedback we got wider business community was extremely helpful in putting out plans into action over the last year. If you are planning to grow your business or are seeking funding in the next year, it’s well worth preparing your pitch for Dragons’ Chamber.