Five factors to launch PH’s startup revolution

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap August 22,2014 - 09:11 AM

Earl Valencia of Ideaspace (R-L), Dave Mc Clure of 5000Startups and organizer Tina Amper, founder and president of (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

The Philippines is ready for a “startup revolution.”

Earl Valencia, IdeaSpace Foundation director, said this to the 400 participants attending yesterday’s opening of the Geeks on a Beach event at the Movenpick Hotel in Mactan Island.

“Can we really build startups in the Philippines? I think, yes — for five reasons,” said Valencia, who was one of the speakers of the Mactan event, which is on its second run after last year’s successful hosting in Boracay.

Valencia’s IdeaSpace Foundation is one of the companies pushing incubator and accelerator programs for aspiring technopreneurs in the Philippines.

One reason is that the Philippines is a melting pot of cultures.

Valencia said that Filipinos have the ability to develop something that will be relevant to many people across cultures.

He said this includes developing solutions to issues felt by many around the world.

The second reason is growth.

“Growth, growth, growth. The Philippine economy is growing which means I came in at the right time, and if you look at it, the Philippines is now actually exporting a lot of technology products now,” he said.

Another reason is Valencia’s belief in the country’s capability to lead innovations in an emerging market.

He said being an emerging economy, it will have a lot of growth and opportunities that will come along the way.

Valencia believes funding is another factor.

“Funding is also flowing in the country now. For the first time, access to funds is no longer a problem. It’s here and all you need to do is to really show that you can build a business,” he said.

And the fifth reason is that Valencia thinks the ecosystem is healthy with government now recognizing the role that startups play in driving more growth for the country.

Telecom companies like Smart and Globe are now actively supporting startups through their subsidiary companies like Voyager Innovations, Smart eMoney, Inc. for Smart, and Kickstart Ventures for Globe.

They have allocated P2.4 million in funding to support viable startups in the country, said Minette Navarrete of Kickstart Ventures.

“In the last few years, we have had 18 portfolio companies, 49 founders, 337 jobs created, 576,344 users, 40 new third-party investors and raised $8,511,363 subsequent funding,” said Navarrete.

For their part, Benjie S. Fernandez , Voyager Innovations chief operations officer and managing director of Smart eMoney, Inc., said that there are a lot of major corporations now looking at buying out or setting up startup companies that provide solutions that will complement their core business which is telecommunications.

“Voyager is for digital solutions while eMoney is for e-commerce which we started in 2001 that allowed the services like e-Load and Pasaload possible for Smart,” he said.

Over the last years since it’s inception, eMoney has already generated P200 billion worth of transactions.

Gwen Regina Tan of Tech in Asia said there are three kinds of people in a startup community that she finds really “hungry” in the region now.

“We are starting to see a lot of hungry people here in Asean. Hungry entrepreneurs, customers and investors which could fuel growth for more startups in the region,” she said.

The event also brought in angel investors like Dave McClure and Khailee Ng of the 500 Startups, Pieter Kemps of Amazon Web Services, and Bowei Gai of the World Startup Report who shared their expertise about startups.

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TAGS: Geeks on a Beach, Geeks on the Beach, technology

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