After its series of investments in Silicon Valley-based tech startups, PLDT Capital now plans to shift its focus on funding in companies within the ASEAN region, a top official with the Philippine venture capital firm said.
In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, PLDT Capital managing director Winston Damarillo, said investing in Asean-based startups would be a new addition to the company’s strategy.
“PLDT Capital continues to look for investments. We started mostly in Silicon Valley but we now entertain investing in companies within the ASEAN region, and soon we’ll make our first Filipino/Asean-based investment,” he said.
Damarillo pointed out that PLDT Capital was looking for startups engaged in industries that are disruptive to business.
“Besides fintech, we are also looking at the sharing economy, like the next Airbnb, next Uber, a kind of situation where it’s uniquely regional,” Damarillo said. “So we have a few prospects and are continuing to look for opportunities.”
Launched in September 2015 by digital telco giant PLDT with a $50 million fund, PLDT Capital has made significant amounts of investments in US-based tech startups Phunware, Hopscotch, AppCard, and Matrixx Software.
The company has so far invested in only two Asian startups ― acquiring Singapore-based e-commerce firm Paywhere in August 2015, and raising the value of its stake in TV streaming service iflix last March which is headquartered in Malaysia.
Phunware is a Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that helps brands to engage, manage and monetize their mobile application users worldwide; Hopscotch is a mobile fans app developer; AppCard is a digital marketing and loyalty platform; and Matrixx is a provider of real-time, integrated infrastructure for the business of digital service providers.
The venture capital firm hasn’t raised a fresh capital yet and is currently focused on enabling business growth in its invested companies.
“We actually wanted to be very careful that our investments are in-strategy and progressing well. We’ve been focused of making sure they’re successful,” he said.
Damarillo further added that Phunware was doing very well with Malaysia’s soverign fund Khazanah recently investing over $22 million, while Matrixx and iflix continue to progress globally, and in Asia, respectively.
PLDT Capital has been specifically created to focus on investments that support the PLDT core businesses run by its units such as Smart Communications, ePLDT, Digital5, and Voyager. The goal is to grow the listed telco’s portfolio of digital services in the Philippines and abroad.