Philippine tech startup roadmap guns for 500 startups with $2b valuation by 2020

DOST-ICTO deputy executive Monchito Ibrahim, Spring.ph co-founder Arup Maity, PSI director Rosario Gruet, Dr Marmelo Abante of Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators, and Gurango Software Corp CEO Joey Gurango.

The Philippine government is set to launch its first ever tech startup roadmap on August 20. It targets to achieve at least 500 Philippine startups with a cumulative valuation of $2 billion, resulting to 8,500 high-skilled jobs created; 1,250 startup founders; 15,166,684 users acquired; and 719,737 paying customers – by the year 2020.

Dubbed “The Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups”, the project is under the “seedPH” initiative by the Department of Science and Technology – Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO)

The five-year roadmap that provides a framework for developing Philippine Startup ecosystem — mainly regarding internet-related innovation — is a result of several months of collaboration between the government, technology entrepreneurs, investors, and accelerators.

DOST-ICTO will lead the unveiling of the official copy of the roadmap on Thursday next week at the international startup event of Geeks on a Beach to be held at the Boracay Island in Aklan province.

The ICT Office crafted the tech startup roadmap in collaboration with the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Philippine Development Foundation, Kickstart Ventures Inc , IdeaSpace Foundation, and TechTalks.ph.

Also part of the roadmap team are former entrepreneurs, foreign startup founders, investors, academicians, policymakers, and grassroots representatives.

Also read: PH to get its first ever tech startup roadmap

DOST-ICTO’s e-Innovation deputy executive director Monchito Ibrahim said the roadmap is a project for the startup community and by the community itself. “This roadmap aims to develop a coherent and consistent strategic plan for the country’s innovative ecosystem, engaging members of both public and private sectors,” Ibrahim said, adding, “Ultimately, our goal is to generate startups that drive economic growth and provide solutions to our society’s most pervasive issues.”

Also read: New venture fund Katalyst.ph to focus on Filipino-owned startups

Although there is a booming interest in the local tech startup sector, the roadmap team noted that there are lots of issues that need improvement as the Philippines prepares to be a global startup hub.

There are currently around 20 accelerators, incubators, and venture capitalists in the Philippines, and at least 100 operating tech startups.

Yet no local startup has surpassed the $50 million in valuation.

Also read: Philippine SMEs becoming startup investors, says IdeaSpace

Startups that have grown big in the Philippines so far are consumer technology Xurpas, instant messaging app Chikka, OpenStack firm Morphlabs, remittance company iRemit, wireless Internet service Airborne Access, and online buy and sell giant OLX.ph, formerly Sulit.com.ph.

“We have identified areas of the ecosystem that need improvement and the programs needed to address such areas. We need to ensure that each player of the ecosystem – academe, investors, and startups, among others – plays a role. It is imperative for all sectors to play their respective roles in the ecosystem to move forward,” Ibrahim added.

Also read: Philippines’ Kickstart Ventures scales up startup funding in emerging markets

DOST secretary Mario Montejo recently commented that the success of the startup ecosystem will contribute to the success the IT and business process management (IT-BPM) industry that now employs more than one million.

The IT-BPM, especially the business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors continue to benefit from the country’s tech-savvy population, low operating costs, and English language proficiency.

It was likewise noted that there is a huge opportunity in the young startup sector since it still has minimal business competition.

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