Local startups need broader support, funds

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Posted on : Monday, June 2, 2014

ALTHOUGH investing in startups has its risks, a global tech investor is encouraging local investors to provide funds to Filipino startups for the Philippine startup ecosystem to thrive.

“Support your own (local) startups. If you don’t invest in your own startup, how can you expect global investors to support them also?” said Khailee Ng, venture partner of 500 Startups, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu on Monday.

Ng said the Philippine startup ecosystem is still in its early stages, although the community is growing commendably. Out of the 750 companies funded by 500 Startups, only three are from the Philippines so far.

“This is a low number and we have to grow this,” Ng said.

He explained that local investors play an important role in the growth of startups because aside from funding, they can help build connections, possibly even to global venture capitalists.

He said there are already local angel investors in the Philippines but the number is still very low. He cited Manny Ayala of tech incubator Hatchd Inc., reportedly one of the investors of social news network Rappler.

“We need a hundred more Manny Ayalas in the Philippines,” he said.

Which 3 made it?

His 500 Startups invests in early-stage teams and products, and provides them funding of as much as $250,000. Ng said it is the most aggressive tech investor in the world, supporting startups from 40 countries.

PayrollHero, TwitMusic and ZipMatch are those from the Philippines that were funded by 500 Startups.

Ng said he invested in ZipMatch,a service company that acts as a middleman between real estate buyers, developers and banks. He said the startup has already partnered with the country’s top banks and property developers.

Ng met Chow Paredes of ZipMatch during the Geeks on a Beach event in Boracay in September last year.

“Events like Geeks on a Beach are also another important factor for the startups to grow,” he said, adding that through tech events, startups can connect themselves to industry players and meet potential investors who can help them grow either through mentorship or funding.

Startup Cebu Weekend soon

Thailand and Indonesia are two of the countries in Southeast Asia that have organized the most number of tech events.

Japanese and Singaporean investors are funding most of the startups in Southeast Asia, but Ng said there is a growing interest among venture capitalists in the United States.

For the Philippines to attract more investors, he said the country should bring in more foreign investors by organizing various tech events.

On June 6 to 8, the three-day Startup Weekend Cebu will be held in the University of Cebu Banilad campus. It will gather startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch start-ups.

In August this year, the second Geeks on A Beach will be held in Cebu.

Today, the Global Startup Report will be presented during the ICT-BPM Conference of Cebu Business Month 2014, with Ng being one of the panelists together with Paul Santos of Wavemaker Labs Singapore, Mon Ibrahim of Department of Science and Technology Information and Communications Technology Office, and Earl Martin Valencia of Ideaspace. (JOG)

Link: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/business/2014/06/02/local-startups-need-broader-support-funds-346106