The Startup Venture Fund came from a literal dream come true for the local startup ecosystem— the Innovative Startup Act of 2019.
This act has promoted exponential growth and positive changes within the startup community in the past three years. In broad strokes, the Innovative Startup Act was made to empower and build a stronger entrepreneurial culture and startup ecosystem within the country, with the government agencies, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Innovation and Communications Technology, taking the lead to ensure its proper implementation.
Prior to the creation of the Innovative Startup Act, the country severely lacked funding from venture capitalists, multinational corporations, and angel investors alike, especially in comparison to its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. In 2018, the year before the act was passed, the Philippines only received but a tenth of what Indonesia received in startup investment deals. Despite our country already having a market ripe for digitalization and a large digital-savvy population, the local startup ecosystem kept encountering roadblocks that hindered its meaningful growth. All of these challenges made for an immensely discouraging situation for entrepreneurs— apart from the absence of government support, there was a lack of one of the most vital parts needed for their startup— funding.
That was the plight of Philippine startups until the Innovative Startup Act came about. What a difference the past three years have made! Even with the unprecedented situation brought about by the pandemic, the Philippines now has a thriving startup ecosystem. In fact, it was recently named the startup ecosystem to watch in Southeast Asia. To date, the country is now home to over 700 startups, 40 angel investors, and 50 venture capitalists. Just recently, Kumu, a Filipino streaming platform, became the first in the country to raise Series C funding— bringing their total funding to over $100 million USD. Each year since the Innovative Startup Act’s implementation has brought more and more investment-ready to the forefront, with eagle-eyed investors watching in anticipation. With all this, one can safely say that the tides are changing and the Philippines is quickly rising as an innovation hotspot.
The Startup Venture Fund, which will be launched during Philippine Startup Week 2021 by the Department of Trade and Industry along with the National Development Company, is one of the programs that was created under the Innovative Startup Act. This particular fund is meant to provide rising startups with the resources they need to grow further, scale up, and maybe expand into the international market. The way it works is that the National Development Company will match the investments of selected investors in homegrown startups based here in the Philippines, ultimately giving the startups a greater chance at success.
It’s an extremely exciting time to be engrossed in the local startup ecosystem— with the Startup Venture Fund about to be launched and even more so with the country’s largest startup conference happening in just two weeks time! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Philippine Startup Week 2021, there will be over 50 community events to choose from and leading innovators from different fields to share their insights and experiences. Register here and get your free tickets now. If you’re curious to know more about Philippine Startup Week 2021, we’ve put together a blog about the five reasons why you should attend. Read it here.
Venture Pilipinas: The Startup Venture Fund Pitch is happening on November 19, 2021 from 2 - 5 PM through the PHSW21 online platform. Winners of the pitch will also be awarded with coveted mentorship hours. Right now, an online contest is ongoing for the participating startups. Vote for your favorite startups and learn more about the competition here.