MANILA - Which Philippine tech startup has the potential to become the next billion-dollar company?
The country has the potential to birth the next "unicorn" startups, according to organizers of the upcoming Digital Pilipinas Festival next month.
A unicorn startup is a private company that has become big with a valuation of at least $1 billion. In the Philippines, very few have achieved this status apart from the fintech companies operating GCash and Maya.
“Fearless forecast… possibly Angkas that solves traffic, because we have same issues sa Jakarta. Growsari also. Great Deals is into e-commerce,” according to Digital Pilipinas convenor Amor Maclang.
Maclang asserted that the Philippines is poised to become the bridgeway to ASEAN and the world in terms of digitalization and technology because of its young population, high smartphone penetration and high growth in internet social media usage.
Science and Technology Undersecretary Leah Buendia also said she believes that Filipinos, with the right support, can excel in the field of technology in Southeast Asia.
She said DOST had already funded over a hundred startups for several years. The funding has reached half a billion pesos already and growing.
“We’re all working together in raising the next unicorn or tamaraw, Philippine tamaraw who really grew from the ground up,” said Maclang.
“Digital technology is at the forefront of all of the sectors that we have. Hindi lang siya sa agri, sa food, sa health, sa industry, sa energy, all aspects of life,” said Buendia.
Both Buendia and Maclang however, admitted that there are still challenges in the digital space.
One major concern is funding for startups and also for scaling up. The DOST only has funds for those starting their ventures, but not yet for those trying to scale up.
“We need to actually bring in more investments into the space. DOST, while they have incredibly poured in a lot of resources into the space, it simply is not enough," Maclang said.
Buendia, meanwhile said angel investors and venture financing are needed "to help them cross the pre-commercialization stage to a commercialization stage.”
“Kailangan tulungan sila i-market," she said.
To further support this cause, advocacy groups will hold the Digital Pilipinas Festival on November 21 to 24, 2023 where seminars, partnership programs, and classes will be held to help Filipinos excel in the digital space.
Other events will focus on financial, insurance and property technologies.