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Internet Of Things Needs World Market Leaders, Interest Turns to Startups

Google and Microsoft dominate markets worldwide

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An employee displays ASUS’s new computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Computex will run in Taipei from June 5 to 9. VOA
An employee displays ASUS’s new computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Computex will run in Taipei from June 5 to 9. VOA

A surge in participation by startup companies this week, at a highlight of Asia’s biggest annual tech event, shows an increased reliance on young entrepreneurs and leaders to come with the IT industry’s strongest ideas for connected devices and artificial intelligence.

The InnoVEX segment of Taipei Computex 2018 brought together 388 startups, a term usually defined as founder-owned firms of three to five years old. That number is a jump from 272 at the same event a year ago. Venture capitalists, including at least one with half a billion dollars in investment funds, evaluated them one-on-one and at formal pitching events.

Startups are catching attention as inventors of Internet-of-things technology because there’s no market leader yet, said Jamie Lin, founding partner of AppWorks Ventures, a startup accelerator in Taipei. That technology refers to software and hardware that let computers or phones communicate with everyday devices such as cameras and alarm systems.

Some connections run on artificial intelligence, which means computerized processing of the data collected from those devices. That can mean making human-like decisions.

“Computers continue to morph and there are no dominant players in IoT,” Lin said. “That’s why they need startups and that’s what makes the show relevant.”

In software, by contrast, Google and Microsoft dominate markets worldwide. Apple and Samsung, among others, lead in smartphones.

Coinciding with the tech show this week, Lin’s accelerator, another like it and a Japanese venture capital firm are all holding their own events in Taipei this week for startups.

Visitors review new MSI computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018
Visitors review new MSI computer products during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018, VOA

Expanding market

More than 20 billion things will be connected to the internet by 2020, up from 8.4 billion connected last year, market research firm Gartner forecasts. The number will pick up especially as 5G wireless services speed up connections.

By next year, Gartner anticipates, startup firms working with artificial intelligence will overtake Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM in “driving the artificial intelligence economy” for businesses.

Artificial intelligence, also known by its abbreviation AI, will reach a market value of $1.2 trillion per year by 2020 as investment triples between now and then, Forrester Research said.

“There’s a process, which is experimental — error and trial, error and trial – so there’s no one with a ready solution, and AI is so broad that one that can do it all,” said Tracy Tsai, a Gartner research VP in Taipei.

“With AI startups, they say ‘I’m focused, I just do some part of it and I do it well, and I do it attentively,’” she said. “For companies looking for a full solution, if you can show your part works, then they use it.”

Competitors perform speed tests using dry ice to cool hardware at OC World Record Stage 2018 during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.
Competitors perform speed tests using dry ice to cool hardware at OC World Record Stage 2018 during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.VOA

Venture capitalists watching

Venture capital firms at the three-day InnoVEX show Wednesday watched a spread of mostly Asian startups with software and hardware ideas focused largely on connected devices. Healthcare and the management of drones were among the fields that companies said they could help with AI.

The show offered chances for startups to pitch their ideas to venture capital firms and accelerators, which are programs that show young firms how to improve their businesses.

Startup promotion authorities from 13 countries, including France and the Netherlands, also scanned the exhibition hall for Asian firms that might complement their own.

Visitors review Thermaltake's MFC 2 2nd Place MOD during the Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018.
Visitors review Thermaltake’s MFC 2 2nd Place MOD during the Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest IT expos, in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, 2018. VOA

“What we care about the most is whether these startups or smaller firms have technology, so if it’s a just a business model only, they aren’t suitable for us,” said Amanda Liu, CEO of the Taiwan government-backed business accelerator StarFab. Her accelerator takes 10 to 15 of every 100 applicants. “They need to have products and their core competence must come from technology.”

Taiwanese firms are good at altering hardware specs, Liu said, and for technology ideal for businesses rather than individual consumers, Liu said. Taiwan positioned itself decades ago as a high-tech hardware manufacturing hub for much of the world.

Qara was one AI-dependent startup at InnoVEX. The 4-year-old South Korean developer with $1 million in venture capital funding uses an AI algorithm to predict the movement of stock and cryptocurrency markets. It has earned revenues of $1.5 million and reports a profit.

“Anyone can see the predictions powered by AI,” said Qara’s global CEO Katie Bomi Son. In terms of accuracy, she said, “Some are from 70, or between 70 to 90. Most of our information [comes] from the machine.”

Also read: Russia’s heavy hand to internet to block messaging app

Qara counts mostly companies as clients but it’s looking for a way to monetize the free app for common users. (VOA)

Next Story

How the Growing Number of Entrepreneurs Impacts the Need for Startup Resources

While entrepreneurs see plenty of hope and a solid future in their business, there also lies a future in those willing to assist them.

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Entrepreneurs, Startup, Resources
More and more entrepreneurs coming into the world means that these budding businessmen and women are going to need direction, startup help, and plenty of resources. Pixabay

You don’t have to be a business genius to know that starting a business is a big risk. Even if you have all the tools necessary and do everything right, it could still be a huge failure. It’s like jumping into the deep end as a child.Entrepreneurs

But, don’t tell that to the current generation. 

Every year, we see more and more entrepreneurs from all parts of the world. Estimates say that there are nearly 600 million entrepreneurs today, a staggering number for a potentially risky job.

At that number continues to grow and expand with each passing year.

Entrepreneurs, Startup, Resources
Every year, we see more and more entrepreneurs from all parts of the world. Pixabay

More and more entrepreneurs coming into the world means that these budding businessmen and women are going to need direction, startup help, and plenty of resources.

While entrepreneurs see plenty of hope and a solid future in their business, there also lies a future in those willing to assist them.

Entrepreneurship and Education

It’s impossible to find the “right” path to becoming an entrepreneur. Bill Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft. Jeff Bezos started out as an investment banker on Wall Street. Steve Jobs started Apple out of his own garage. Your neighbor Steve might have started the business with his college roommate after a night out.

Also Read- Stop Consuming Ultra-Processed Foods For A Healthy Heart

Ask a million entrepreneurs and receive a million different answers. Some may have an MBA while others may have a degree in creative writing.

That might be because studying entrepreneurship wasn’t available during their time.

In 1990, there were 180 programs offered by universities in the US. Today? That number is well over 2000. 

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the #1 destination for entrepreneurs is the United States, thanks to its routinely strong economy and support for small businesses. In case you’re curious, the other top countries are Switzerland, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, and Iceland. 

Entrepreneurs, Startup, Resources
Estimates say that there are nearly 600 million entrepreneurs today, a staggering number for a potentially risky job. Pixabay

Thanks to the rise of online learning, remote working, and the internet has also given birth to plenty of online course options that won’t cost you a fortune.

Udemy, Coursera, and even major universities offer courses for free or very little. For example, you can register for a course at the top college for entrepreneurship in the United States for free. 

I Need Somebody, Help!

Even though billions of dollars are being thrown around to rising companies or startups, it’s a lot more than money venture funds and capitalists are helping with.

Also Read- Congo: Volatile Security Situation Stymies Efforts to End Ebola

If you have ever watched Shark Tank, you might be lucky enough to see one of the Shark’s choose to invest in a business idea (although watching the terrible ideas is always funny). 

Billionaire NBA team owner Mark Cuban will often talk about “once my team comes in and helps you…” A contestant isn’t just receiving money, they’re receiving help and guidance.

Investors are smart and as Warren Buffet once said, “Never invest in a business you can’t understand.”

Investors, venture funds, angel investors, and even your family want to make sure you know how to succeed. That’s why they’re also going to be investing in startup tools while paying people to come in to help you market your business, maintain intellectual property, and advise you on why becoming an LLC is the better choice for you. 

Show me the Money

One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is finding cash flow. After working through the nerves, taking the leap, and officially starting, all that’s left is to find some investors.

It’s certainly easier said than done, but it’s much easier now than it was ten years ago.

Venture capital growth has exploded over the last decade, not just to the rise of the popularity of Shark Tank

According to Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor, fundraising went from $33 billion on average between 2013-2017 to a whopping $55 billion in 2018. More and more venture funds are seeing potential in businesses and entrepreneurs, funding their early struggles for a return later.

The total amount invested in rising companies is also a shocker, totaling $131 billion in 2018. This is only the second time in history that number has topped a billion, with the other time being in 2000. 

It’s a Competition

Even though more and more places are funding startup businesses, that also means there is plenty of competition to go around. 

Banks, despite being the most popular place to head to a loan, are quite picky about when and to whom they give loans out. Big banks have a 27% approval rate while small banks don’t even make it to 50%.

Online lenders are becoming more and more popular, but still, don’t have an incredibly high approval rate. 

With so many entrepreneurs popping up, more and more are going to banks, venture funds, online lenders, and more.

Despite these potential road bumps, there is still great growth potential for entrepreneurs that will carry over into the next decade and beyond.