Cebuano traders to form ‘angel’ club, help startups

By: Vanessa Claire Lucero February 22,2016 - 09:48 PM
up cebu tbi

98Labs presents new apps to ICT Office deputy executive director Mon Ibrahim (center) at the DOST-UP Cebu TBI center. (upcebu.edu.ph)

To address the financial needs of local startups, some members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) are thinking of becoming angel investors.

Angel investors are people who invest in startups.

“Together with Cedf-IT, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has always supported the startup community in Cebu. Based on the output from previous events, some CCCI members have expressed a strong interest in becoming angel investors. Thus, we are organizing the Cebu Angels Group,” Melanie Ng said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

Wilfredo “Jun” Sa-a, Jr., managing director of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-IT), said the group is expected to be formed within the first half of this year and will have at least 20 members.

He said initial discussions with potential investors have produced “very enthusiastic responses.”

Sa-a said they will organize a forum and invite angel investors from Manila so they can “ask them questions about what they do, how to start funding and the like.”

The Technology Business Incubator at the University of the Philippines  Cebu, or Cebu Business Incubator for IT, is open to partnering with the Cebu Angels Group.

Jeffrey Montecillos, officer-in-charge of TBI, said they welcome any financial and technical support from local businessmen.

“It’s very difficult without funding and mentorship. Many startups die without that,” he said.

He lamented the lack of local investors in Cebu, saying many of them seem “aloof.”

“We approach local businessmen for our startups, just the ones we know, but if they don’t see any tangible item they will not go for funding,” he said.

This presents a problem for the center, as all of its 17 resident startups and 10 virtual startups are IT-related and do not have physical items to present.

Most of them are into software development, mobile applications, web designs and password management, Montecillos said.

For funding, he said startups had to tap rural banks or international investors instead. Majority of the startups at the TBI have to “bootstrap” or produce their own funds to be able to support their businesses.

On average, a startup needs at least P350,000 in initial funding to be able to run the business, Montecillos said.

“We don’t have a lot of investors looking at startups in Cebu yet,” he said.

“We can provide them (startups) with the mentors to help them and the facility to work in but funding is also important and crucial and difficult to get,” he added.
Hopefully with the creation of the angel investors group, he said the startups’ funding requirements can be addressed.

“Creating startups help the economy and the people. It creates more jobs for people and solutions to problems. Hopefully the Cebu Angels Group will support the incubation center,” he added.

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