DigiTimes – Startup tenacity: Q&A with SparkLabs Taipei founder Edgar Chiu

Original article by Judy Lin, Taipei; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES, posted on DIGITIMES, December 4, 2020 on DigiTimes

COVID-19 has been hammering the world, with many companies facing tremendous challenges amidst risks and uncertainties beyond their control. But many startup teams demonstrating their prowess at the recent Demo Day held by SparkLabs Taipei have seen double-digit growths.

Edgar Chiu, founder and managing partner of SparkLabs, explained what it takes to overcome the adversities of the pandemic and how mature companies can remain open-minded and create the best ways to work with new businesses.

Q: At SparkLabs Taipei Demo Day, you mentioned that 2020 is a year when many startups will be severely impacted by the pandemic. But the teams at the event stage have had brilliant results and rapid growths. How did they make it?

A: For entrepreneurs, the unknown is an everyday occurrence, but during an epidemic, it is double uncertainty, and some entrepreneurs may be blaming bad luck, as they were ready to soar, only to be hit by an epidemic. I tell them the same thing: Be patient, keep your feet on the ground, and reexamine what your users need. Has it become a different form? Has it translated into more demand? For example, our investment in teams working on cloud kitchen, online education and Internet of Things (IoT) devices around year-end 2019 and early 2020 have all seen rapid growths because of the pandemic.

The best example is the cloud kitchen team Just Kitchen. In early 2020 it was a team of only only 10 people but has now expanded to 70, opened eight satellite kitchens, and expanded to Taichung (central Taiwan). It will enter Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2021. Few would understand what cloud kitchen was in later 2019, but the pandemic has sparked strong needs for food delivery…