The Philippines catching investors’ attention but can it deliver?

With Minette B. Navarrete, Co-founder, President & Vice-Chairman, Kickstart Ventures, Inc.

Franco Varona, Founding Partner, Foxmont Capital Partners

Lawrence Chu, Co-founder, Oriente

With favourable demographics, policy changes and an accelerated pace of digital adoption, the Philippines’ startup landscape is finally catching the interest of investors, particularly in the fintech and e-commerce space.

Of the 112-million-strong population, nearly 70% remains unbanked, leaving a huge addressable market for financial services. To top it, as the country’s middle-class continues to grow, about 70 million Filipinos are expected to be using smartphones by 2025, leading to the creation of a potentially new market for online consumers.

According to DealStreetAsia’s Data Vantage statistics, global investors were involved in $170 million worth of fundraising in the Philippines in the past 21 months. Compare this to 15 deals that raised a total of $25 million in 2019, signalling an increase in interest in the emerging market.

This panel will explore the potential of the market and the top themes investors are betting on and why.

Our first panelist is Minette B. Navarrete, vice-chairman and president of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom.  Kickstart Ventures is backed by Globe Telecom, Ayala Corporation, and Singtel. Kickstart Ventures manages the Philippines’ largest technology venture capital funds, investing globally in early- to growth-stage tech startups via three funds, including Ayala-backed Active Fund, which closed at $180 million last year. In 2019, Kickstart managed to secure a big exit when Indonesia’s Gojek acquired its portfolio company Its portfolio includes Xendit, Zalora, Snapcart, Nextpay, mClinica, among others.

We have Franco Varona, managing partner, Foxmont Capital Partners, which invests in early-stage Filipino-focused and Filipino-founded startups. Foxmont’s portfolio includes Edukasyon, Nextpay, Booky, Edamama, among others. He is also a co-founder and director in the boutique agency Global Media Post. Prior to Foxmont, he was the founding general manager of Grab Philippines.

Our third panelist is Lawrence Chu, co-founder, Oriente, a Hong Kong-based fintech startup that has a deep presence in the Philippines. Oriente is the parent company of Finmas, Cashalo and Finizi, three online lenders based in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, respectively. Chu has over 16 years of international investment experience and founded investment company BlackPine. For Oriente, the Philippines and Indonesia are two of its strongest markets that have seen significant user traction and growth. Oriente most recently raised $50 million Series B funding. In 2018, it raised $105 million equity from the founders and a group of family offices including members of Malaysia’s Berjaya Group, the Philippines’ JG Summit Holdings, and Indonesia’s Sinar Mas.

Join this session to know more about SE Asia’s untapped market.