Milking it: Dairy entrepreneur changes the game

By Christine Chou, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — One rainy afternoon, I made my way past the winding alleys near Shuanglian traditional market, until I reached “Garage+” — a collaborative space for entrepreneurs to rent as offices for their business ventures. A young man casually dressed in jeans and a hoodie led me into a meeting room. The brick interior added to the rugged appeal, giving an impression of a garage, reminiscent of the tech fairytale of the humble beginnings of Steve Jobs and the company he founded. This man I was sitting beside, is Young Kuo. Only in his mid-twenties, he already holds the title COO of a red-hot startup Milk House, which he helped to co-found last year.

Over a cup of fresh milk, I talked to Young about his story, about starting a company, and how he aims to change the game in the Taiwan dairy industry. The Power of Crowds The three co-founders of Milk House drew media attention and a loyal following, after their crowd-funding project last January. Within the first three days, they raised their first million (NTD). And when the fundraising ended three months later, they reached their goal of NT$6.08 million.

“Of course the funds raised through crowd-funding alone were not enough, but the number 4,994, the total of our donors, is indicative of customer loyalty. Their support and media coverage were the most important rewards from crowd-funding,” said Young. Their skyrocketing to fame may have much to do with them filling in a perceived gap in “safe” milk in Taiwan, after a string of food scares erupted on the island. Widespread paranoia and food-safety activism saw a rise after the melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008, the Fonterra milk powder recall in 2013, and the Wei Chuan’s Lin Feng Ying Milk entanglement in the oil scandal in 2014.