TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kdan Mobile co-founder Wang Wei-chung (王為中) joined the Startup Island TAIWAN podcast on Friday (Feb. 3) to discuss the success of Kdan, its unusual head office location, and how focusing on core functionality was key to the company’s success.
Software as a service (SaaS) is a massive growth area, with predictions for total investment in the industry exceeding US$70 billion (NT$2 trillion) in 2022, more than four times the amount it was a decade ago. Despite this being a reduction in investment levels from the 2021 peak of US$98 billion, Wang said he believes the future is still in software.
“The app market in my opinion has already tapped out ... When Kdan launched its first app there were fewer than 1,000 apps on the Appstore, so it was relatively easier to gain exposure,” he said. “We don’t call ourselves an app developer any more. We started off as an app developer to get our foot in the door. We are a software solution provider at this point.”
Wang said the software solutions Kdan provides are about optimizing efficiency and cultivating creativity in the evolving digital workplace. They have done this by focusing on the core functionality of the software they provide.
“Most of them have too many bells and whistles, and the majority of clients just want the core functionality,” Wang said. For one of their most successful products, their PDF software, this meant reducing the number of features, and putting more focus on one, the digital signature.
Wang said the digital signature function has been very popular, especially during the pandemic, when users were seeking contactless ways to sign and send documents. He also said Kdan’s focusing on core functionality means the product is easier to use from the beginning, which also helps attract customers.
“Many of our customers were attracted to the solution because they wanted to save money, but after a few months they realized that is all they needed,” Wang said.
One of Kdan's most popular services has been digital signatures. (Kdan Facebook photo)
Having a diverse team is important for Wang, and so is having a high level of English fluency. “I value diversity. I understand that you have got to have different ideas. You’ve got to be able to find a way to have that idea influx, and that influx is going to be better if you have people from different backgrounds,” he said.
Wang said his business, and other Taiwanese in the SaaS space would benefit from more government help. “Not only capital influx, that’s obviously one important thing,” Wang said, “but how do we bridge the Taiwanese startups with the startup communities in the West.”
He said the Taiwan government could support businesses to attend the Consumer Electronics Show in the U.S., the industry’s largest expo, helping them to make connections in the world’s largest consumer market.
Unlike most tech startups in Taiwan, Kdan is headquartered in Tainan. “When (my other co-founders) told me they wanted to pick Tainan as a location, I was taken aback,” Wang said, but the choice has turned out to be a good one.
“There were a lot of talents that were forced to go to Taipei, because they weren’t able to find any opportunities in the southern part of the country,” Wang said. He said that they offer staff an opportunity to work in their hometown, and be with their families and their communities.