PH investment firm Kickstart gets mandate for $50m VC fund

Globe President and CEO Ernest L Cu announces fresh $50million VC funding during Kickstart’s third anniversary celebration

Philippine-based investment firm Kickstart Ventures Inc received a fresh $50 million (P2.2 billion) venture capital fund, which was earmarked by its parent company Globe Telecom.

Referred to as “Fund 2”, the latest amount is way bigger than Kickstart’s $2.4 million seed fund or “Fund 1” which was focused on seed and early-stage startups since its founding, in year 2012.

Globe said Fund 2 is expected to help drive the rapid growth of high-potential startups across the world with clear regional and global prospects.

Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu made the announcement about Fund 2 in a meeting with Kickstart leaders in the latter’s headquarters in Makati City.

“In the Philippines, I have yet to see a startup break through in a big way, not because of lack of talent but because the whole sector is devoid of support. Large tech incumbents operate well here, but startups struggle,” Cu said. “Globe has been finding and working with smaller, innovative startups to boost the quality of its customer experience, with very good results. So good that they get acquired by large global companies at respectably higher valuations.”

Cu added that with the clear potential, Globe believes that Kickstart can use the VC fund to help the telco’s startup partners to scale even faster via an equity investment.

Also read: Kickstart’s startups raise $8.6m in 2014

“For Fund 1, Kickstart also recently received a $1.1 million (Php50M) top-up for 2015 deals. Investment targets of Fund 1 can be domiciled in any country and have no nationality requirements. Its earlier-stage nature means closer, more frequent mentoring, thus, Fund 1 portfolio companies tended to have some of their operations in the Philippines,” Globe said in a statement.

For Fund 2, however, Globe said it expands on its innovation thesis and is possibly the largest commitment to early-stage startup investing coming out of a Philippine company.

Like Fund 1, investment targets of Fund 2 can be based in any country with no nationality requirements for founders but they are aimed at more developed startups that have validated their product-market fit and are now looking to expand.

Kickstart president Minette Navarrete said they prefer companies in the digital communications domain and encompasses telecoms as well as media, data analytics, Internet of Things, financial services, health, education, IT security, and energy and spectral efficiency.

“We are looking for startups that have strategic capabilities of value to communications and digital companies, in which we could invest more significant sums at Series A round and beyond to drive customer adoption and market momentum. These startups can be anywhere in the world and this new fund underscores our confidence that the Philippine market will support innovation,” Navarette said.

Since its founding in 2012, Kickstart has made 20 investments and many of them attracted follow-on funding from third-party investors including recognized institutional investors like Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Wavemaker, IMJ Investment Partners, Omidyar, FutureNow Ventures, Elea Foundation, Seawood Capital, and several local and overseas angel networks.

Related stories:

11 Philippine startups that stood out in 2014

Nearly 100 startups funded, PH community gains momentum

PH startup Kalibrr raises $2m in funding round led by Y-Combinator

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.