As the global economy hitting hard by the pandemic, many unicorn companies are facing difficulties in seeking funding for their projects. Yet, a Taiwanese entrepreneur Albert Liu believes that “with crisis comes opportunities.” Instead of being a unicorn, he urges people to learn from “camel” to adapt and survive in the desert.
Albert Liu, the founder and CEO of Kneron, had led the company to success in the field of Edge AI. Within five years since the establishment, Kneron has already received financial support from international investors, including Horizons Ventures funded by Ka-shing Li, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Qualcomm. Moreover, the Nasdaq Stock Market has initiatively market and merchant Kneron to the investors.
By the end of 2019, Kneron drew worldwide attention by using advanced printed mask technology to depict person’s face to outsmart facial-recognition systems. In the exclusive interview with GASE, Albert shared his view on Edge AI technology and opportunities for startup companies in the post-pandemic era.
Turning crisis into opportunity to increase revenue
In the beginning of the outbreak, Liu had the idea of developing an access control system combining body temperature detection and human face recognition. The inspiration came from when visiting customers with face masks on and getting temperature and ID check before entering the building. When the COVID-19 started to spread in South Korea in March, Liu viewed it as a great opportunity where his research team spent six weeks on developing a face mask with temperature check and facial recognition function. This face mask can reduce the risk of infection for security staff through interaction with visitors. The invention has gained praises from countries such as South Korea, China, and the U.S.A.
Liu admitted that the company was not optimistic with the revenue this year, but the face mask technology has brought surprisingly high income to the company. Although many countries have lifted restrictions as the pandemic started to ease, people are still encouraged to wear face masks and follow social distancing rules to prevent the virus from spreading again. Therefore, Kneron applies the newly developed camera product to develop smart technology system to remind people to keep “social distance”.
Seizing every potential during the pandemic, Liu has really proved that “with crisis comes opportunities!”
Learning from camel: reserve energy and adapt to the environment
In fact, Liu has faced many challenges and opportunities since the start of his journey as an entrepreneur. He recalled that he once joined a Chinese reality show in hope of finding cooperation opportunities. However, the show has caused a difference opinion between him and the co-funder and the company faced the crisis of being dissolved. In the meantime, Liu’s health condition is concerning. Altogether, these experiences make him decided to focus more on team coherence in the company.
Kneron’s impressive investor list has become a legend in the startup community. From a small startup to a world-famous Unicorn company, Liu said that he's learnt from the spirit of camels. Unlike unicorns, which are surreal, camels live in the most extreme environment on earth, and can travel a long way without water.
“Kneron means being able to bear loneliness and carry responsibility. Kneron is knowledge plus neuron, which means every product of our company is unique and is not a “Me too” replicate from other companies.” Educated in Taiwan, Liu maintains engineer’s practical mindset. Despite being a startup company, he insists for the company to develop its own products instead of depending on financing. Facing the post-pandemic era, Liu stays positive and believes that crisis can be a turning point in speeding up the development and application of advanced technology, such as Edge AI technology and facial recognition.