Nine Filipino and French early-stage startups presented their innovative ideas from health, fitness, and real estate to machine-learning solutions to potential investors at the virtual Startup Pitch Competition launch.
The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines (CCIFP), in partnership with La French Tech Philippines and Digital Pilipinas, launches the competition powered by CCIFP and La French Tech. This virtual pitching tournament aims to provide an avenue for French and Filipino tech startups to present solutions to many of the salient issues currently faced by the country. Digital Pilipinas is the biggest privately-led movement to champion the digitization of the Philippines.
“This pitching contest is an illustration of a continuous action of the French Chamber to link Filipino, and French businesses,” French Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Michèle Boccoz said in her opening remarks. “Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the best time for us to see what needs our attention and how businesses can help. Innovation and creativity brought by startups are crucial.”
The French Ambassador also cited a study by Core Venture Capital, which showed massive growth in the Philippines startup ecosystem, raising $858 million in the first ten months of 2021, or 97.83 percent of the total equity raised from 2017 to 2020.
She went on to say, “The Philippines ended 2021 as the fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia, posting a gain of 93% from 2020.”
Marie-Maylis Charlat, CCIFP Managing Director, expressed hope that the competition could provide a platform for early-stage startups to network with investors.
“We hope to create a platform for startups and investors to meet, and the audience can also engage themselves by meeting each other,” she said.
Indeed, pitching competitions is what skydiving is to startup entrepreneurs. To most people, it is like a bucket-list item that is both exciting and terrifying.
During the competition, startups were given time to pitch to multiple investors, allow them valuable exposure, and get invaluable feedback. They can also expand their network and potentially build partnerships. But most importantly, the rising entrepreneurs are allowed to secure funding and accelerate their business.
Speaking as Convenor of Digital Pilipinas and a Board Member of the CCIFP, Amor Maclang implored those present that 2022 is a make or break for the Philippines — with two of the largest economies in the world on the brink of inflation — in addition to collapsing properties. Also, the country is on the verge of an inflation rate increase because of rising meat prices. Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) predicted 2021’s full-year inflation would exceed its 2-4% target band.
“We hope to be able to raise innovation in technology for the country. Digitally-enabled platforms are seen to influence business value in the next decade. The digital economy of the Philippines can create up to P5 trillion in value through digital transformation by 2030, equivalent to 27% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product),” Maclang said.
She added that the changing of the guards in the coming May 9 elections could be a source of interest.
From promise to practice
Following the competition proper is a networking session that will facilitate an exchange of thoughts and ideas and allow the event’s diverse participants — students, community builders, investors, executives, and founders alike — to connect and leave lasting impressions.
Altogether, the event was envisioned as a vehicle for seizing and actualizing opportunities, big and small: pitching a startup venture or sharing ideas with like- and differently-minded individuals from various backgrounds.
Teching up 2022
As the largest sector movement to tech up the country, Maclang said Digital Pilipinas is dedicated to catapulting us into a brighter new year. The movement has brought together hundreds of businesses, tech leaders, and policymakers to make this possible. It is a tech-empowered and advocacy-based movement offering an ecosystem that supports and amplifies the startup community as a single group.
In a span of six months, Digital Pilipinas hosted 48 core events participated by speakers across Asia-Pacific and partnered with global leaders including Proxtera, the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network Ltd. (AFIN). This allowed Digital Pilipinas to sponsor 300 scholars on a Web 3.0 program.
The movement will launch an API platform and Web 3.0 power in the coming days. The objective is the Internet of Trust and the Internet of Money.
“We are bringing in the world’s experts, and we are happy to partner with CCIFP to tackle our country’s challenges,” Maclang concluded.