Philippines-based TV network GMA launches new venture for tech investments

Photo: Mari Gimenez / Unsplash

Philippines-listed media company GMA Network has announced the launch of a new holding company GMA Ventures Inc (GVI), looking to join other local conglomerates, which have diversified their businesses by investing in the country’s tech startups and promising industries.

GVI, which is 100% owned by GMA, will invest in technology startups with substantial growth potential and industries that will continue to expand, the TV network said in a disclosure to the Philippines Stock Exchange on Monday.

GMA had said earlier that its investors had agreed to put in an initial 25 million pesos ($495,000) into the new venture. It said GVI will lead the GMA Group in identifying, investing in, and/or building strong and sustainable businesses.

GVI will also engage in M&As, strategic partnerships, and fund investments, within or outside the Philippines.

“As the country recovers from the impact of the pandemic, GMA Network aims to increase its contribution in rebuilding our economy by expanding its investments and developing more businesses that provide long-term growth,” the company said.

GMA further established its lead in the local television market after its fiercest rival, ABS-CBN, failed to renew its broadcast licence last year. The network rolled out its digital TV products in 2020 to target viewers in areas with weak to no network coverage.

“We thought of putting up GMA Ventures to serve as our vehicle in investing in non-core or non-broadcasting business activities that may provide our company with additional revenues and profits,” said GMA Network and GVI chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

Launching GVI is part of GMA’s efforts to future-proof the network, according to GVI president and COO Regie Bautista.

Other Philippines-based conglomerates that have launched venture capital units include Ayala Corporation, with its $150 million VC arm Active Fund and JG Summit, with its $50 million JG Digital Equity Ventures.

Recently, Gentree Fund, the newly-launched investment vehicle of the Sy Family Office, has allocated an initial amount of $40 million to invest in Southeast Asian startups looking to expand into its home country.

The launch of GVI comes as startups in the Philippines are starting to attract venture capital money. In the first half of 2021, 18 Philippines startups raised at least $279 million in venture funding, with technology firm Voyager Innovations bagging the largest amount of $167 million.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.