Why I Want to Start a Startup and Why This?


Oscar pitching at FITI(From Idea to IPO), Taiwan


By Oscar Chang (CEO)

My name is Oscar, CEO of ALCHEMA.  Someone once asked me: “Why do you deserve to be called a CEO? I can spend 10 bucks to put a title on my business card too.” At that moment, two things popped up in my mind. First, I only spent $9.3 for my business cards. Second, why do I want to start a company?


To make a lot of money in a short time? If I just want to make tons of money, the fastest way is using capital to earn more capital. For example, buying stocks. Running a startup is indeed so risky and costly that it means you have to work 24/7, plus not being able to sleep at night. Therefore, my answer is No, making money is not why I sign up for a CEO.


To build an exquisite product? Well, closer. I always wonder what kind of products can make people willing to take out their money, especially when I see similar products stand side-by-side in the market. I think most people want to buy high quality and good-looking ones. However, we may not afford to pay such price. This issue bothers me for a long time. Then, some chemistry occurred in my mind. I gave up trying to “buy” high quality products but to “build one. Since then, I devoted myself to creating a product which people will be crazy about and also can afford.  


My journey as an entrepreneur began at a startup competition which my friend and I decided to join, but found it hard to come up with an unique idea as our topic. As the deadline approaching, our mind went blank. Everything seemed to be hopeless, until my teammate looked at me and said “my mom loves to homebrew, but she always fails.”So, why don’t we build a device to solve that problem?


When I hear about failures, all I think about is how to conquer it. At the beginning of the competition, we didn’t have partners who have specialty in brewing, so we visited a college teacher who teaches brewing and learn from him. We found there were a lot to learn in such an art. In order to make a nice alcoholic beverage, people need to take time studying and experimenting. Therefore, we decided to shorten the learning curve. Based on our electronic engineering background, we started to build a smart device that can take the guesswork out of homebrewing.


We spent a lot of time at product design, finding suitable sensors, creating algorithm for predicting brewing process. We did our best to win the contest. I believe God helps those who help themselves. At the end, we won the championship.


“Did you guys want to commercialize the idea?” Someone asked me after the competition. “Of course I did”, I said, despite the fact that I didn’t know anything about POC, EVT, DVT, company management, pricing strategy...etc. I wanted to build the best product and that’s all. Therefore, I started my first company.


What is our company culture? That is the first question after I became an entrepreneur. Because if you want to find like-minded partners to work with you, you should have a clear company culture and goal. That is another story which I will share with you in one of my future columns.


I think life is about making decision. No one can guarantee your choice is right or not. Time flies. Stop hesitating. Just do it.

If you want to ask me any question or tell me what topic you want me to write. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail (

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