Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Asustek to launch US$50m fund for global start-ups

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) yesterday announced a partnership with California-based venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital to launch a US$50 million fund for global tech start-ups as part of Asustek’s efforts to accelerate its development in advanced technologies.

“Finding the right global partners was a key step in our search for cutting-edge technologies that will enhance the experience of our customers,” Asustek chairman Johny Shih (施崇棠) said in a press release.

Fenox is to help Asustek seek investment opportunities in tech start-ups in North America, Europe and Asia, Asustek chief financial officer and spokesman Nick Wu (吳長榮) told the Taipei Times.

The company declined to elaborate on the US$50 million investment program.

Fenox general partner and chief executive officer Anis Uzzaman was quoted by TechCrunch, a tech news Web site, as saying that the US$50 million will be focused on start-ups in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“Asustek wants an edge in technology through collaboration with start-ups,” Uzzaman said in the report.

The fund’s targets are start-ups that are looking to raise between US$250,000 and US$1 million in seed capital, Uzzaman said.

The fund is to initially focus on taking Silicon Valley start-ups into Asia, Uzzaman said, adding that Asustek is also interested in investing in emerging companies in Taiwan, Japan and China.

Asustek plans to invest mostly in firms that have completed Series A funding and are already selling products in the US or Europe, but need a strategic partner to assist them to enter the Asian market, Uzzaman said.

Asustek plans to give US$3 million to US$5 million for use by post-Series A companies, he said.

Fenox is in the process of talking to several start-ups that have the potential to get initial investments from Asustek, he said.

The company’s announcement represents its latest effort in speeding up its development in the advanced technologies, such as AI.

Asustek chief strategy officer Ted Hsu (徐世昌) on Sept. 4 said in an interview with the Chinese-language Apple Daily that he is to lead 500 Asustek engineers to work on the research and development for AI technology.

About 200 of the 500 engineers will be developing basic input and output systems and management information systems, Hsu said.

The team is expected to spend a year integrating Asustek’s internal resources for AI technology development and then the firm will be looking for feasible business opportunities in the field, he said.

Hsu said Asustek is confident that AI-powered applications will thrive in the tech industry in the next two to three years.

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