Sat, May 17, 2014 - Page 14 News List

US$400 million fund established to grow startups

Bloomberg

A fund of about US$400 million has been established to make investments in startups, in an attempt to diversify the economy.

The government will choose teams of advisers and managers to select projects and work with venture capitalists, National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said in an interview in Taipei yesterday.

Taiwan’s Cabinet has already approved the funds, he said.

Computer and electronics exporters have faltered in recent years because they did not develop enough of the technologies used in smartphones and tablets that have defined the post-PC era, Kuan said.

The startups would be housed in an “incubator cluster” under development in Taipei, he added.

“We have a goal to encourage those startups to scale up,” Kuan said. “If you are in the cluster, at most you have two years before you have to go” either because the business failed, or has grown bigger, he said.

The focus is to be on companies that have the potential to be very big, offer unique business models or change people’s lifestyles, he said.

The National Development Fund would match money raised from venture capitalists, with a goal of luring foreign venture capitalists to Taiwan. The fund would cap its stake in any startup at 40 percent, in line with laws curbing government ownership of corporations, he said.

The council is pushing to amend laws that are seen as discouraging startups from operating in Taiwan, after many have moved to Singapore or the Cayman Islands, he said.

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