Indie short films are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind as a niche for startups to tackle. After all, compared to formulaic Hollywood fare, short films don’t cater to mainstream tastes and as such have limited appeal.
That has not stopped Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan from starting Viddsee though. Borne out of their passion for their craft, Viddsee is a video platform that screens short films from talents in Southeast Asia. Think of it as YouTube designed for filmmakers and art buffs.
As a just-launched minimum viable product, Viddsee doesn’t yet boast the sophistication of other platforms out there. It doesn’t host its own videos; the creators opted to put them on Vimeo instead. Read more
Zap wants to change the Philippines' retail landscape using NFC tags.
The Philippines is ripe for disruption. With its economy soaring, consumer spend rising, and investment money flowing in, the nation’s tech startups are put in position to shape a new normal across industries and sectors.
Leading the charge is a posse of young entrepreneurs, defined not just by geography, but by the fact that they’ve received a lease of life from Kickstart Ventures, a PHP100M (USD2.45M) early stage fund that began setting its wheels in motion last year.
With 10 investments so far, Kickstart has become one of the most important catalysts for the country’s startup aspirations.
One of its investees is Zap, a company that, while shy to reveal its exact investment sum, gladly laid out its plans to transform how retail rewards is done in the Philippines.
Founded by Dustin Cheng, Justin Lim, Terence Lok and Angelique Uy, Zap is a marketing platform that connects retail businesses to consumers through web and mobile technology. It benefits businesses by making marketing as painless and targeted as possible, while at the same time giving them tools to gauge their marketing spend and track customer data. Read more
JFDI.Asia, Singapore’s most prominent startup accelerator, has announced the eight startups that will join its first bootcamp, which will start on 21 February. The teams will receive a SGD 25K (USD 20K) investment right away.
Below are the eight teams: Read more
Philippine startup Tripid.ph has announced today that it has received USD 50K in investment from Kickstart Ventures, a seed stage fund that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom.
Tripid.ph is a peer-to-peer carpooling website — users can post rides or join one on its website by searching for their current location and destinations they’re interested in. They can also ‘follow’ routes and be notified when a ride becomes available. The service promises that its trips are cheaper than taking a cab in Metro Manila.
Minette Navarrete, president of Kickstart Ventures, told the Bobbery that it invested in Tripid because of its bold ideas, great team, and solid execution. Read more
Written by Oliver Segovia. Oliver (@oliversegovia) is the CEO of AVA.ph, an e-commerce platform for premium lifestyle brands in the Philippines, and the co-author of Passion & Purpose from Harvard Business Review Press.
Kim is one of the 600,000 employees in the Philippines’ fast growing business process outsourcing industry. Her shift, a daily 8-hour rush serving banking customers in the US east coast, begins every midnight and ends when most local businesses begin. On stressful days, she typically needs a jolt of online retail therapy. But since she gets home an hour before the closest mall opens, the internet has become the equivalent of her retail best friend.
Meanwhile, halfway across the bustling Metro Manila megacity of 12 million people, Jen is about to start her day running a wholesale trading business. She brings in premium brands from the US, and has a loyal following. But since the waiting time for retail space in her preferred mall is three years, she’s built her loyal following of customers entirely online.
Both stories, comprising of composite characters, are a reflection of typical use cases that are replicated increasingly everyday across the Philippines. Read more
The Philippines will soon have its own Angel Network. The project is led by serial entrepreneur Winston Damarillo and PhilDev, a non-profit that promotes economic development through science and technology, It also has the support of Dado Banatao, a Filipino pioneer in Silicon Valley.
Dubbed the Philippine Angel Network Fund, the initiative will target Philippine-based startups as well as companies headed by Filipino-Americans. The fund, which has support from the Philippine government’s Department of Trade and Industry, will ask individual investors to commit to an investment level of at least USD 100k. Read more
Following a year of speculation, Google has today officially opened its office in the Philippines. The new unit will be located in Makati City. Narciso Reyes, who had stints in Friendster and Komli, will lead operations as Google’s Sales Head for the country.
“The Philippines is a key country in Southeast Asia in terms of its digital economy and tech-savvy population,” said Julian Persaud, managing director of Google in Southeast Asia.
He adds that the new office will allow the Internet giant to better engage local users, partners, and advertisers. The unit will help local businesses grow through Google’s products — a function similar to Google’s other representative offices in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, as well as its regional office in Singapore.
Google, the world’s best company to work for according to Fortune, will be hiring for the Philippines office. Openings will be posted on its jobs page soon. Competition for the positions will be fierce, and Google typically engages in up to 4 interviews with a prospective employee before making a decision.
Besides starting sales offices in the region, Google has also been developing its infrastructure to better serve users by setting up new data centers in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. When completed later this year, experts believe they could provide a combined speed boost of 30 percent.
Lazada, Rocket Internet’s Amazon clone which is active in Southeast Asia, announced yesterday that it has received an investment from German retail group Tengelmann, a regular Rocket Internet investor. According to TechCrunch, the funding amount is close to USD 20M.
The e-commerce company has been raising money at a furious clip. In September last year, it received an estimated USD 50M to USD 100M from investment bank JP Morgan. This was followed by USD 40M from Swedish investment firm Kinnevik and another USD 26M from Summit Partners. Read more
Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley based Granddaddy of startup accelerators, had accepted Filipino company Kalibrr into its program, making it the first startup in the country to achieve the feat.
Kalibrr has burst onto the Philippine startup scene with its solution of providing online job training and assessment tools to job applicants. It is meant to close the skills gap in the country’s thriving business process outsourcing industry. Read more
Rocket Internet is a Berlin headquartered company that is well-known for cloning successful online startups (usually from the US), replicating them elsewhere, and turning them into million-dollar businesses. It was founded in 2007 by the Samwer brothers — Alexander, Marc, and Oliver, who have together created and sold a number of successful Internet businesses before starting Rocket Internet. Most of their businesses are e-commerce related.
The company tends to hire MBA-trained executives and management consultants to become ‘founder’ and ‘managing director’ of its businesses. However, unlike startup founders, they do not hold as much equity or have as much decision-making power to shape the direction of their companies. They are primarily executors who could be fired for underperforming.
Rocket Internet has polarized observers in the startup and technology community for its practices. Critics pour scorn on the company for blatant copying, mischaracterizing its ventures as startups, an over-aggressive and results-oriented corporate culture, and rapid turnover rates. At the same time, it is widely admired for its rapid execution ability. Read more