This year’s exhibition brought together thousands of visitors and highlighted innovative solutions from international startups in diverse sectors, from sustainable fashion to AI-driven finance.
Now in its third year, Meet Greater South is a startup-focused exhibition that showcases and champions southern Taiwan’s innovation ecosystem. For two days each August, the event in Kaohsiung connects a wide range of stakeholders, including early-stage companies, local and central governments, academia, established industry players, and investors.
Organized by tech media outlet Business Next and its Meet Global startup platform, this year’s exhibition, held August 25 and 26 at the eye–catching Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, was attended by such officials as Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chi-mai, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin, and the American Institute in Taiwan’s Deputy Kaohsiung Branch Chief Samuel Goffman.
More than 10,000 attendees visited the hundreds of booths highlighting the latest technologies and innovations from private companies and leading R&D organizations. Virtual reality, AI, green energy, and sustainability were key themes this year. Some highlights included solutions relevant to Taiwan’s nascent offshore wind industry, drone development, innovative healthcare, ESG, multimedia, and Web3.
Apart from the 232 Taiwanese companies participating in Meet Greater South, this year’s event also featured 38 startups from 10 countries around the world. International interest in the startup event has grown over the years, an encouraging sign that Taiwan is making its mark in the global startup scene.
Here are some of the teams from abroad that stood out:
We all need help and direction sometimes, particularly in our careers, so why not seek advice from someone with more experience than you? ADPList – short for Amazing Design People List – currently boasts 20,000 mentors offering their advice and expertise for free on a wide range of professional topics.
From drafting a resume and negotiating a raise to managing a remote team or improving business strategy skills, everyone has something to learn during each stage of their career. ADPList even lists mentors who can help mentees manage their imposter syndrome. Those with advice to share with the next generation of business leaders can sign up to become mentors, which is also free.
Aviantech’s founders were dismayed to discover that after graduating from renowned universities, they spent more than half of their time at work on mindless administrative tasks such as reminding managers to approve action items and responding to emails. What if these tasks could be handled more efficiently by software?
Designed for SMEs, Aviantech’s AvianFlow process management software acts like a digital manager. By providing insights and tracking progress, the software alleviates the pain felt by many business workers who are burdened by menial tasks. This service frees up employees’ time for more creative, meaningful work – and, more importantly, value generation.
FundFluent, Hong Kong
According to the U.S, Small Business Administration, 20% of new companies fail in their first year due to a lack of funding. For entrepreneurs around the world, starting a company without financial backing is therefore highly risky.
FundFluent leverages AI to collate funding information centrally, enabling small businesses to find the right financial assistance in their active markets. Given that useful information is often stored in tucked-away and hard-to-find websites – if available online at all – it can be difficult to find the right funding source. FundFluent aims to improve the survival rate for entrepreneurs and companies that are just getting started by removing the challenge of finding and accessing funding support.
Lebo Robotics, Japan
Installed several kilometers offshore, or high up on land, wind turbines are expensive and complicated to maintain. Repairs become potentially dangerous for technicians, who must climb 100 meters or more in the air to reach the turbines.
Inspection robots designed by Lebo Robotics can access, view, and inspect damage to turbine blades, allowing technicians to safely assess the situation from the ground. The company also provides paint and materials to repair and protect damaged blades, ensuring a continuous supply of clean energy. Wind energy giant Siemens Gamesa – the world’s second-largest turbine manufacturer – is among this startup’s clients.
Luceda Photonics, Belgium
Luceda Photonics specializes in software development for the design of photonic integrated circuits. The company’s suite of tools can be used to produce component designs for the telecoms market, self-driving cars, quantum computing, and sensing. Luceda Photonics also offers experts who can help designers create and validate compact model libraries, process design kits (PDKs), and reusable design toolboxes.
Paka Electric, Taiwan/United States
Somewhat of an international hybrid, Taichung-based but American-founded Paka Electric has designed an off-road cargo-ready electric motorbike for the North American outdoor adventure market.
CEO Andrew Hall previously worked for a company that manufactures heavy-duty bicycles for use in rough, unforgiving terrain. He decided to combine this experience with his technical design background in central Taiwan’s supply chain hub to create his Taiwan-based brand of electric motorbikes. Hall is a recent winner of Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan, a Shark Tank-inspired pitch competition for Taiwan-based immigrant entrepreneurs.
Peel Lab, Japan
In keeping with the theme of sustainability at Meet Greater South, Japanese startup Peel Lab has managed to turn pineapple leaves into vegan leather. The tactile, hard-wearing, but soft-to-the-touch material can be used to make handbags, wallets, bucket hats, and even car seats.
Aside from making its own products, the company also works with corporate clients to design ethical pineapple leather goods, including the seats at the St. Regis Bangkok’s Sushi KiShin restaurant. Peel Lab also produces yoga mats made from bamboo.
Spaceship, Hong Kong
Post-Covid inflation and logistical challenges could make or break a fledgling e-commerce startup, especially as it’s unable to leverage scale the way big e-commerce players can.
Spaceship is a tool that helps SMEs reduce their shipping costs by providing them with a smart logistics platform that optimizes the shipping and labeling process, saving up to 90% on costs. Customers can compare Spaceship prices to the larger international logistics companies DHL, UPS, and FedEx, ensuring they get the best deal for their international shipping needs.
Find more startups in Taipei
For those who cannot wait for next year’s Meet Greater South, its larger sister event Meet Taipei will be held between November 30 and December 2 at the Nangang Exhibition Center. For more information, visit the event’s website at meettaipei.tw.