As entrepreneurs and investors bet on the rapid rise of the Philippines digital consumer base and the large unbanked population, the SE Asian country’s startup ecosystem is bustling with activity.
“[Philippine] startups are scaling, they’re demonstrating the ability to monetise, to go commercial, and investors, local and global, are taking notice,” said Minette Navarrete, vice-chairman and president of corporate venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures, at DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2021.
Navarrete was one of the panelists in the session titled “The Philippines catching investors’ attention but can it deliver?” She was joined by Franco Varona, founding partner of Philippine-focused venture investor Foxmont Capital Partners, and Lawrence Chu, co-founder of fintech firm Oriente.
According to Varona, this is the right time for local startups to gear up their business activity as a slew of regional venture capital firms that are active in other markets such as Indonesia, are scouting for opportunities in emerging Southeast Asian markets.
Echoing the sentiment, Chu added how fintech as a sector is increasingly gaining traction. Oriente is a Hong Kong-based fintech firm co-founded by Chu. The firm’s Cashalo app in the Philippines claims to have has grown its user base to a couple of million customers to become of the country’s top fintech platforms.