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

From left standing are tech startup advocate Jjoyz Azurin, LaunchGarage CEO Jay Fajardo, and Acudeen team members Mario Salazar (co-founder, CTO), Jasper Franco (CIO), Aya Laraya (advisor for Investments, Yacine Derradji (market research head), Mario Jordan Fetalino III (founder and CEO), and Salarium CEO Judah Hirsch. From left seated are Fajardo and Lance Uriel Pormarejo, and Seedtsars regional ambassador Diego Jose Ramos.

Seedstars World, a global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets, kicked off its 2016 contest awarding Acudeen Technologies in the Philippines.

Acudeen beat seven other Philippine-based startups who presented their ideas in front of the local jury panel.

Acudeen is an online P2P marketplace for discounted invoices that helps small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with cash flow problems. It will represent the Philippines at the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland on March 2017 to compete for up to $1 million in equity investment.

Seedstars Asia regional manager Katarina Szulenyiova told DEALSTREETASIA that they selected Saturday’s eight competing Philippine startups (that pitched) from over 100 applications they received online. The event was held at the Launchgarage innovation hub in Marikina City.

She said all of the eight Philippine startup fitted Seedstar’s criteria for startups that have solid business models, an innovative aspect to solving local problems, and the ambition and potential to scale their business within the region or globally.

“The reasons why we selected Acudeen were two-fold. It came up ranking very high in the objective scoring of all the jury members ― when they were evaluating criteria such as traction, scalability, defensibility, unfair advantage, investability, team and superiority of the product compared to the existing solutions available on the market,” Szulenyiova said.

Related: PH startup Salarium wins $500k Seedstars prize

The second place was bagged by Robur IR, modelled as the “Bloomberg for the individual investor,” and in third place was Applica, a centralized college application platform which matches students to their school of choice.

The five other startups invited to pitch were Cropital, Maria Health, Paid Up, Hydro+ Technologies and Vinteo Image Analytics Inc.

Acudeen CEO Mario Jordan Fetalino III explained in the pitching session that their startup can accelerate the development and growth of SMEs through a facility for digital financing.

“Our company makes it easy and possible for small and medium enterprises with bad financials, limited assets, and less than three years of operation, to have access to financing with the use of our invoice discounting business framework and technology,” Fetalino said.

The eight jury members were Seedstars founding partner Benjamin Benaim, LaunchGarage CEO Jay Fajardo, Katalyst.ph founder Joe Maristela, angel and verify investor Anderson Tan, Brainsparks startup coach and consultant Artie Lopez, and Salarium CEO Judah Hirsch, the 2015 global winner of Seedstars World Competition.

“This was a tough decision showcasing the growing quality of the Philippine ecosystem,” Benaim said. “We liked Acudeen for the scalability of their model and the fact that they tackle a critical problem, the financing of SMEs in emerging markets.”

Also read: 2016 Philippine Startup Challenge launched focused on IoT

For the 2017 Seedstars summit, there would be a week-long training programme with the opportunity to meet the other 60 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world.

Traditionally, the final day of the summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of an audience of 1000.

Seedstars World’s next stop is Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where it will select the best startup in the country.

Seedstars associate for Asia Nick Fenneck said, over 800 jobs have been created through the Switzerland-based startup competition and that funding, average investment jumped from $150,000 to nearly $400,000 both pre and post competition. Total funding raised across all startups reached $33 million.

“All the global winners certainly still exist. Simply Pay, from 2014, is now extending into Africa and MENA. Philippine’s very own Salarium, from 2015 is now considering further expansion after a successful tenure in the Philippines. Giraffe, from 2016, is now looking to expand into other areas of Africa from South Africa,” Fenneck said.

Besides Launchgarage, the event was supported by Acceler8, BitSpace, YES Philippines, and Impact Hub Manila. Seedstars said, the event attracted interest from over 50 startups, and over 60 attendees.

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