FUNDING

Taiwan-based hardware development platform HWTrek closes US$4 million Series A funding round

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 2:00pm

A Taipei-based cloud platform which connects hardware start-ups with manufacturers and experts has raised US$4 million in a Series A funding round led by US-Chinese venture firm WI Harper and ITIC.

Chinese business-to-consumer e-commerce platform JD.com, Legend Star Capital, the investment arm of Lenovo parent company Legend Holdings, and Japanese venture firm Global Brain also participated.

"[These companies] are critical strategic partners in this round and we greatly appreciate their participation at this early stage," said Lucas Wang, chief executive of HWTrek.

"China and Japan ... are both significant sources of technological innovation, supply chain components, precision design and manufacturing. With their partnership, HWTrek will be able to assist an ever greater number of startups in the region and globally to manage their product development and bring product to market."

More than 2,500 entrepreneurs and start-ups have used HKTrek's Project Development Hub platform, which helps creators bring products to market by connecting them with relevant experts and potential collaborators.

“There is tremendous demand for supply chain resources from hardware entrepreneurs and HWTrek’s platform offers a more efficient system for bridging the resources of the supply chain and requirements of the start-ups,” said Keven Wang, executive director of Legend Star Capital.

Partnering with HWTrek gives JD a potential source of new products for its JD Smart open smart devices ecosystem, according to Na Xin, vice president of JD Smart.

"JD Smart can further support hardware start-ups that develop products that align with our own market strategy. We highly value HWTrek's commitment to [solving] many of the manufacturing problems that start-ups so often face," Na said.

As mainland China's tech industry continues to grow, fuelled by the success of homegrown giants such as smartphone maker Xiaomi and world-leading drone manufacturer DJI, Taiwan has struggled to keep up.

Like Hong Kong, the territory has sought to foster a start-up economy, encouraging local entrepreneurs and innovators.

In March, Jack Ma Yun, founder of Alibaba Group, announced the creation of a US$316 million start-up fund for Taiwanese businesses.