A brief update on the OM Share Charging team since taking top prize at the Competition of Entrepreneurship for Sustainability earlier this year. The annual competition is a national call for startup ideas that achieve United Nations Strategic Development Goals (UNSDG), hosted by National Chengchi University — one of Asia’s top business schools. After winning, our team visited Europe with the general manager of KPMG Taiwan’s sustainability consulting unit. I have stories and a treasure chest of photos I haven’t organized. In the meantime, 3/4 of us presented at TaiFu Association’s International Forum.
TaiFu Association is the alumni association for the executive MBA (EMBA) programs of National Taiwan University (NTU) and Fudan University in Shanghai. The two EMBA programs have a partnership that sends students to each university. When you put together Taiwan and Fudan, you get TaiFu.
But why does the alumni association have to be a separate organization?
I’ll explain. To be an alumni association in Taiwan, its members must be in Taiwan. This means you’re out of luck if you’re a NTU or Fudan University EMBAer living in China.
The EMBA also has its own alumni association. But the reasons why a university keeps track of alumni are different from why its graduates get together. For example, fundraising vs. networking. Helping the school vs. helping each other. We should be doing both, and here, it’s served by different organizations.
Networking is one reason why presenting at the members-only International Forum is valuable. It’s a stage for startups and enterprises with a connection to TaiFu Association — a group of people helping each other, and Taiwan, develop international connections. TaiFu Association has actually become a wake-up call for Taiwan to build its global profile, through its relationships with diplomatic and economic development offices of other world powers.
For this, I thank Mr. Peter Lee, founder of iFoodbank, director of international affairs for TaiFu Association, and an alumni of my graduate program at National Taiwan University for bringing us in. We’re very grateful for the opportunity. Shyam, the man who fathered the idea, couldn’t be with us the day of the presentation. But we have voices and know how to use them.
The OM team described the problem we’re trying to solve, and why the platform business model we propose is compelling. Some key points:
- We use the platform to provide a practical and more environmentally-friendly solution to last-mile connectivity, through a novel distributed power system.
- Unlike other technology-based transportation solutions (Tesla, Gogoro, etc.), ours benefits people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
- We’re not a solution for the wealthy, and we’re not for all people. We believe we have the right solution for the right people.
- Who are the right people? Those at the very ends of a public transportation system — the “last-mile.” It’s not a sexy idea, but creating something practical is more important for our audience.
- We now have a certain smart city in mind for a pilot project. It enables the city to potentially claim the world’s first public transportation system to be powered by renewable energy.
This is vague, but accurate and probably all we’re ready to say right now. On a personal level, I am looking to create a system dynamics model for capacity planning. I know, I have weird hobbies. The objective is to anticipate and account for the effects of demand. Also, externalities, which are unexpected results on people who are not users. This leads to better business decisions and in our case, civic planning — because we are talking urban transportation infrastructure.
In system dynamics, no one at my university has active expertise or interest in exploring this area. In fairness, one can’t expect a university to have an expert in every single area. Right now, it comes out of my spare time. Or, I may need to come up with a fellowship at another university. Our journey continues…