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Left to right: Betty Hu ( Deputy Director General of Small & Medium Enterprise Administration at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan), Martim Gois (Valpas CEO and Co-Founder), Lance Chang (TWBIO founder), and Kim Oguilve ( Maria 01 CMO) after the award presentation

The Taiwan x Finland Demo Day concluded on Tuesday, December 4, with Taiwanese startup TWBIO and Finnish startup Valpas being crowned as winners.

TWBIO is a biotech startup that aims to build a faster, natural, more economical, and more sustainable way to produce bio supplements for farmed salmon fish.

Its first product Astaxanthin is a super-antioxidant that improves the appearance of salmon fish, and eventually, its market value.

In his presentation, TWBIO founder Lance Chang named Europe, with its salmon industry, as a potential market for the product.

As a winner of the Demo Day, TWBIO is set to receive a free coworking space and coaching session with the chief executive of Helsinki-based startup hub Maria01.

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Taiwan x Finland Demo Day participants posed after the event

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As for Valpas, the startup’s business was inspired CEO and Co-Founder Martim Gois’s experience of going on a holiday to Indonesia, where he found out that the hotel bed was infested with bed bugs.

Together with his partner, Gois then developed a solution in the form of an IoT device to replace bed legs. The smart bed legs will then capture the bed bugs; the system is also complemented with a desktop application that will allow staffs to monitor the device.

In addition to the IoT solution, Valpas also provides a certification for hotels who had their devices installed, and customers can find out the list on the startup’s website to provide ease of mind.

Through their winning of the Demo Day, the company is set to receive a free coworking space and a booth at the prestigious COMPUTEX Taipei event.

The Taiwan x Finland Demo Day brought together 11 startups from the two countries to showcase their products and services, as well as the cultural, economic, and socio-political disparities that led to the their development.

It was made possible through the partnership between the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA), the Ministry of Economic Affair (MOEA) of Taiwan, the Institute for Information Industry, and Maria 01.

Held at Helsinki Games Factory, the Demo Day was a side-event of the globally renowned SLUSH Helsinki 2018.

Bridging the nations

Betty Hu, Deputy Director General of Small & Medium Enterprise Administration at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan, spoke to e27 about the country’s goal in arranging this event.

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Betty Hu, Deputy Director General of Small & Medium Enterprise Administration at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan, delivered her opening remarks

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“Taiwan and Finland share the same value of entrepreneurship and innovation,” Hu said.

“Taiwanese government is very supportive of the country’s young startups in its effort to go global; we also welcome foreign startups to do business in Taiwan as a hub to Asian market,” she added.

Hu also noted on the importance for Taiwanese startups to get exposure to international market.

In addition to gaining market access, the opportunity provided by their participation in events such as SLUSH Helsinki will help these startups to strengthen their business.

She also said that the event opens up opportunities for future collaboration between startups in the two countries.

“I think there are similarities between the startups that have participated in the Demo Day today,” she said.

The similarities between the two countries’ tech industry do not go unnoticed by Voitto Kangas, CEO of Maria 01.

According to him, both Taiwan and Finland have a strong background in hardware manufacturing.

“… Within the next five years Asia will be our exit market instead of the US, and Taiwan is obviously the place to do it. It is the obvious landing path for these Finnish companies,” he said.

Kangas also named several benefits for Taiwanese startups of entering the European market through Finland.

Apart from geographical benefits such as Finland being the fastest airline route to Europe, once a product receives compliance from the Finnish government, it will be easier for them to be accepted in other European markets.

“Launching in Nordic makes sense because of the trust that these Nordic countries carry inside the European market,” he said.

Image Credit: Disney Huang for Taiwan x Finland Demo Day