Philippines: engageSPARK wins GOAB international startup contest

engageSPARK co-founder Avner Mizrahi and CTO Murat Knecht display their awards after winning the GOAB international startup contest.

Early-stage software startup engageSPARK won a recent startup pitching competition at the GOAB (Geeks On A Beach) international startup contest held in Bohol province in the Philippines.

engageSPARK founder and COO Avner Mizrahi led the pitching for the team convincing judges from the country’s key industry players of their platform’s effectiveness as a social enterprise committed to helping local communities.

Based in Cebu City, engageSPARK has locations in US, and Hong Kong. It provides a self-service website where any non-technical person can simply create and launch SMS and voice call alerts, surveys, reminders, educational curriculums, and on demand information campaigns to over 200 countries within minutes.

The champion startup bested six other finalists from different countries. Top venture capital firms, tech startup accelerators, including the government’s Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) served as judges in the contest.

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

engageSPARK was awarded with cash and packaged mentoring assistance from leading startup incubators.

“I liked the concept of the engageSPARK project because it focuses on enabling poor people who are mostly on feature phones,” said DICT executive director Monchito Ibrahim.

Although engageSPARK was only launched 18 months ago as a not-for-profit social business, it took two years to develop its digital platform. It served as a tool in the recovery efforts of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that ravaged Leyte province in 2013.

During the typhoon recovery efforts, engageSPARK served as a financial literacy component of the financial literacy program by the international NGO Mercy Corps and its partners that involved cash transfers. They were able to send out more than 725,000 SMS messages and voice calls to impart financial literacy messages.

Also Read: Philippines: Ascendant wins Takeda healthtech startup challenge

Mizrahi said winning the competition means they are on the right track in meeting their goals in terms of growth and positively impacting people’s lives.

“We’ve been selected as one of the top 12 social enterprises across all of Asia in the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge,” he said. “It would be awesome if a Cebu-based company wins the award for Top Social Enterprise in Asia.”

Mizrahi added engageSPARK has also been selected by the Mulago Foundation for its Rainer Fellowship.

“We constantly improve our platform with more and more features on a weekly basis, so our customers always get those benefits regularly,” Mizrahi said.

Also Read:

Philippines: IdeaSpace awards top 10 startups from 2016 acceleration program

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

Seedstars kicks off 2016 contest, awards P2P lending startup Acudeen Tech in Philippines

SkyEye wins Philippine Rice Bowl Startup Award

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.