Due to all the ambassadors being overseas at the moment, we conducted the interview via Zoom.
Gary Chi, the director of Anya Biotech, was at his desk waiting for our call early that morning. During the interview, we could tell he was not as hesitant as those who had just become a social freshman, on the contrary, we observed his confidence through his calming response yet with meaningful content. He is well-versed in his own philosophy.
Renovate conventional industries
Gary’s background may be different among other start-up entrepreneurs. He comes from a family with a certain business foundation. The origin of this subsidiary under the parent company is quite simple. The parent company operates shipping and cross-border e-commerce, while they act as a middleman to place orders for their clients who want to acquire items from Taiwan. The idea of starting a business was also initially inspired by one of their clients, the main thought of this is to provide customers with a healthy lifestyle while fulfilling their nostalgic needs at any time and in any location. This drives the firm to determine and create healthy products from scratch for its customers.
The company started off as a little beverage store serving Bobas. Each person would spend the entire day making tapioca balls by hand. However, due to the ingredients, the completed balls would invariably soften after a period of time, which was not cost-efficient. As a result, Gary found a relevant R&D boffin/researcher in 2019 to collaborate on the development of new goods that satisfy their demands. To conduct their study, they hand-made around two hundred packets a day to sell while formulating recipes and promoting their marketing. All the hard work is to reach beyond customers expectation.
Ideal or fantasy?
From the interview, Gary mentioned that he took a leave of absence in Canada to begin this endeavor and eventually dropped out of school. Out of curiosity, we asked if he ever regrets his initial decision because his major was nothing related to biology nor agriculture. He laughed and said that he started at the grassroots and worked his way up. He felt intrigued after he started working, therefore he decided to quit school. “I would still make the same choice if I was given another chance.” Gary added, “The real-life practices are more effective and absorbing than sitting in classes glaring at professors.” However, if he were ever to have the idea of going back on campus in the future, all his current experiences will become an irreplaceable asset for both himself and the school. Considering Gary started everything from the ground up, he knows the importance of him rolling his sleeves up and working in the factory while reaching out to his employees on a daily basis. Over time, he seemed to be more convincing and trustworthy by his team as he is able to obtain the most direct feedback visually and make changes on the first hand. At this point, his age doesn’t even matter anymore.
The Combination of Starch and Biotech.
Anya Biotech targets customers ages twenty-five to forty-five years old who are more financially stable. The main difference between their products and traditional tapioca is that the latter one employs modified starch which hardens itself after a while when left at room temperature. Moreover, traditional tapioca companies are using a “Snowballing Method ” which puts starch layers on layers over and over repeatedly in their manufacturing process; the circulating dust and particles in the air make it necessary for them to add preservatives to prevent insects and developing bacteria. Anya Biotech, on the other hand, does not just avoid including modified starch, but has also released a version with extra dietary fiber to aid digestion. In addition, they include Pectinose to meet the demands of various consumer groups, which is a compound developed in Japan to avert sucrose from being absorbed by the small intestine to minimize calories. Anya put a big effort into designing their factory and manufacturing process. They begin up with using a big chunk of dough, so the manufacturing room is highly clean and does not require using preservatives. On account of vacuum packaging, it has made Anya standout amongst the others when packing because traditional ones usually include sugar and water which is challenging to control their ratio and difficult to weigh. Anya has successfully minimized germs and air contact while implementing its packaging process.
What’s the next step?
It had been 4 years, from developing to manufacturing, before Gary’s company was comprehensively prepared. Gary and his staff aim to produce twenty thousand packages of tapioca balls in eight hours every day and sell them to hypermarkets. Besides their main product, the tapioca balls, they are also working on developing new by-products, such as fried tapioca spring rolls. Luckily, during their preparation process, even when under the pandemic, Gary and his company haven’t met any serious financial deficit. What’s more, Gary mentioned, the pandemic actually enabled them to compete with other experienced companies, since most of the chances became online. This provided Gary and his company more time to fight for the opportunities. “It was actually a blessing in disguise,” according to Gary.
Lastly, Gary shared his perspective on the entrepreneurial environment of Taiwan during these couple of years. Gary pointed out that it is crucial to think twice and get well-prepared for any kind of possibilities. Starting a business is a serious matter. More and more unexpected obstacles will show up once one starts. It is also helpful to work hard on college courses, since no one knows exactly how the future market will be like. On top of that, Gary stated the imperative of grit. “According to the statistics from the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration in Taiwan, only 10% of the startups survived more than a year, and 90% of those closed down in the next 5 years,” he implied. Without a particular goal and a strong mindset, it is merely possible to get further in the path of entrepreneurship.
Click here to purchase their products online: https://natural-isle.com/shop/
Check out more information here: https://www.anyatpe.com/home-1
Chinese version please find:https://reurl.cc/zWv60a
Authors: Skyline overseas ambassadors 徐為彬 (Kevin Hsu)、張有序 (Josh Chang)、張子芯 (Rative Chang)