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Taiwan’s One and Only: TripPlus Chosen by Silicon Valley Accelerator
 
 
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Group photo of TripPlus founders. First from the left: Taiwan Tech alumnus Ryan Lin. (Image by Taiwan Tech) 
 
 
TripPlus in 500 Startups. Founded by an alumnus of Taiwan Tech, TripPlus has been selected as one of the famed U.S. Silicon Valley accelerator 500 Startups’ next batch of incubator companies. It is the only Taiwanese team that stood out this year. (Image by Taiwan Tech)
 
TripPlus founder Ryan Lin gives a presentation at 500 Startups Demo Day. (Image by Taiwan Tech)
 
The trend for traveling has become more popular than ever. How can one fly well and economically? Taiwan Tech Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering alumnus Ryan Lin braved the rigors of Silicon Valley and founded TripPlus, which has been chosen as one of the famed U.S. Silicon Valley accelerator 500 Startups’ next batch of incubator companies. This batch consists of 31 companies chosen from among over 3,000 startup teams, and TripPlus is the only Taiwanese team that stood out this year.
 
500 Startups is a top-ten seed accelerator in America. In the newest Forbes Best Startup Accelerators 2017, 500 Startups is listed under “Gold.” Startup accelerators support early-stage companies through education, mentorship, funding matchups and so on. So far, 500 Startups has fostered three startup companies valued at over US$1 billion (e.g., unicorns). One of them is Twilio, a company which offers call tracking programs and has already issued an initial public offering.
 
TripPlus is a metasearch platform that helps its users rapidly redeem frequent flier points for free flight tickets so that consumers can gain the maximum value for every dollar they spend on travel. The founder is Taiwan Tech alumnus Ryan Lin, who came home from the Silicon Valley to share his experience starting a new company with Taiwan Tech startup teams.
 
Taiwan Tech President Liao Ching-Jong pointed out that Taiwan Tech established the Taiwan Tech Silicon Valley Center last year (2016) and has continuously selected startup teams to visit America. The school arranges exchange programs for startup teams to interact with alumni as well as assisting to match the teams with accelerator resources in Silicon Valley. The sharing of hands-on experience by Taiwan Tech alumni has always greatly benefited the school’s startup teams.
 
Ryan Lin graduated from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering and has a passion for software design. After graduation, he worked for Acer, where he was responsible for projects related to software innovation and development. He was sent abroad to the Acer-IDEO Joint Design Studio in Silicon Valley because of his outstanding technical ability. After that, he decided to start his own business and develop software, which he has always been enthusiastic about.
 
The first software that Lin developed after he started his own company was Pichat. This interesting communication software was not a success. Rather, Lin encountered new business adversities such as disputes, money shortages and business closure. However, Lin learned from his first startup failure. He managed to see things rationally and learned more about business models and target customers. After resolving the disagreement with his partners, he discovered the great demand for frequent flier mileage redemption. In order to simplify the complicated procedure, he began writing another program and subsequently founded TripPlus.
 
Lin believes that a startup team should be able to decipher the needs of its target group, to understand how the market operates and to be certain about what the company wants to achieve. It is advisable to listen to different opinions, but it is also important to maintain independent thinking without being affected easily by others, so that the team can remain the real decision maker.  
 
Ryan Lin also encourages Taiwanese teams to conduct better publicity and marketing and to actively engage in fighting for resources, “because startups are very competitive.” If a company is unable to show people exactly what it is about and sell its products, there is hardly any chance of success.
 
Lin stated that he has gained a lot of valuable lessons from becoming part of 500 Startups. One of the important lessons is how to make sales pitches and do demos successfully. Now he is able to give presentations of either 2 minutes, 3 minutes or 5 minutes anytime. The first step toward success is to train oneself to help consumers or investors to quickly learn about the company and its products by constantly practicing promoting them.
 
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