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.