Katalyst Philippines sets new $1m fund for homegrown startups

Visual from Katalyst.ph

Startup accelerator and incubator Katalyst.ph has committed a new block of $1 million to be invested in “unique, impactful, homegrown Filipino startup businesses.”

Katalyst.ph founder and owner Joe Maristela, in an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, said the fund won’t just focus on tech startups, indicating that it will have a larger mandate: “I believe that there are businesses that are non-tech that can have great impact. And we define great impact here as, first, being readily available within the first year or second year of engaging 90 per cent of the Philippines, and beyond,” Maristela said.

Maristela also claimed he was on track to replicate his success with Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), a fintech startup where he invested $200,000 and worked to secure corporate funding, and is now coordinating expansion plans with partners from Silicon Valley.

Also read: Exclusive: PH accelerator Katalyst launches new angel investment platform

In fact, the almost yearlong effort to engage with true investment partners paid off when Maristela met John Park, CEO of Kakao Venture Group, the investment arm of South Korea internet company Kakao Corporation, which backed up SCI last June.

Both men agree on the future of fintech in the ASEAN region and believe SCI will play a critical role on the frontier of this change.

“They said a startup couldn’t take the ‘enterprise approach’ — in that I mean many critics of SCI said that they couldn’t pull off so many products at the same time, at such an early stage. But that’s what’s innovative about its founder John Bailon and his crew, they’re not afraid to try new things and fail, learn, and adapt quickly,” Maristela said.

The angel investor added he plans to get into different niches that he hadn’t even yet considered.

Also Read: Philippines: Kakao’s KVG backs fintech startup Satoshi Citadel

“At the office, instead of hiring a bigger team, we’ve actually further developed that in-house deals management software further — the same system we wanted to open up to the public last year, but haven’t yet been able to,” Maristela said.

Besides SCI, Maristela’s other portfolio investments include fintech startup Qwikwire, and digital media and marketing firm Kntnt Inc.

Backed by a new network billed as the Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN), Maristela said he finds it easier to access due diligence resources and to properly vet deals.

Also Read: PH Digest: New umbrella organization StartupPH launched; 500 Startups mulls Philippine microfund

MAIN’s network includes investor members that range from mere observers, such as co-working spaces that don’t opt to invest and don’t pledge to invest, to institutional and corporate members. Among its corporates are Launchgarage, Narra Venture Capital, Katalyst.ph, as well as angel investors Joel Disini and Victor Lee, founder of DotPH and COO of CFO Pure Energy, respectively.

MAIN’s reciprocal members include BANSEA, Sydney Angels, NY Angels, among others.

MAIN is a brainchild of Rene Benitez, a concurrent member of Sydney Angels, of which he wanted to replicate its success there, in the Philippines.

Also Read:

Philippines: SCI acquires US bitcoin startup Keza

Philippines: Narra Venture Capital targets fintech, edtech & healthtech startups

Philippines gets new startup incubator to promote inclusive innovation

Malaysia’s VC firm 1337 Ventures awards 3 new PH startups

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.