June 6, 2017
Lucia Edna P. de Guzman
Cover art Samantha Gonzales
Startup incubator Launchgarage held a Supercollider pitching session on May 24, in partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), one of the oldest business chambers in the country. The event was sponsored by Double Dragon Corp., whose CEO, Edgar “Injap” Sia II, is among the youngest people in Forbes’ billionaires list.
“This first‑ever pitching session is a milestone for us, to serve as a starting point and a link to the startup community,” said PCCI Chair, Amb. Benedicto Yujuico, during his opening speech, acknowledging the need for a connection between startups and long‑established businesses.
Meanwhile, Launchgarage COO Jojo Flores said: “Hopefully now in exposing our startups in the business community, we can gain bridges in order for them to be successful.“
Ten tech startups from Launchgarage were given the opportunity to pitch their businesses to representatives from different illustrious business organizations, including the PCCI, the Philippines‑USA Economic and Business Council, and the Anvil Business Club.
These are the 10 startups that have taken one step closer to make their marks in history:
Art Samantha Gonzales
If the name and the logo don’t cue you in, it’s essentially a mobile app that lets you rent moving vans (Mobile, mover…get it?). “We’re trying to solve the problem of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) who want to find a delivery van at a click,” Mober CEO Dennis Ng said, adding that there are around 15,000 under‑utilized vans in the Philippines. The company’s biggest client is SM Appliance Center, but it also provides moving services to people moving into new houses and condominium units.“We want to grow very fast, we want to have our operations franchised,” said Mr. Ng.
Travel like a local with Tralulu. A website that connects tourists in Southeast Asia with certified local tour guides, Tralulu CEO Andrew Cua is also a food guide in Binondo. Tourists have over 350 guides to choose from Tralulu, and Mr. Cua sees the market opportunity in the region to reach over $500 million. “Over the next three years, we see ourselves as the largest booking platform in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Cua.
A delicious home‑cooked meal might be elusive for us probinsyanos and foreigners working in the Metro. Warangkana “Gear” Limsakul‑Fajardo, founder of GoodMealHunting, expanded her business from a home‑cooked Thai comfort food service to an online platform that provides a temporary cure to home sickness. “I came up with GoodMealHunting to allow home cooks to efficiently sell their dishes online, provide them with an efficient marketplace and transform them into entrepreneurs,” Ms. Fajardo said. While home cooks still have full responsibility for the safety and quality of the food, GoodMealHunting helps train these cooks and assist in establishing their businesses.
“We’d like to think of ourselves as data on demand,” said AltitudeX CEO Luis Sia. Using drone technology, AltitudeX provides detailed documentation in surveying sites for agriculture, mining and real estate. Some of their clients include DMCI and Aviso. “Our company was born from the academe, and our pilots are Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) certified. Our competitive advantage is that we come from very engineering‑centric backgrounds, and we understand the…accuracy needed for our surveys,” said Mr. Sia.
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The future is paved for virtual reality (VR), and it always seems to revolve around the video games we have. But Veer provides more than just an immersive gaming experience. “We use VR and augmented reality techonology to change the way people learn and see the world,” said Veer CEO Justin Lim. “We want to inspire people to live creatively through the software that we develop.” The company has worked with Universal Robina Corporation, Dell, and Cyberzone. After the pitching session, they gave people a chance to experience one of their VR services, a training software that lets you take the role of a member of an airline crew.
You know you’re an adult when you start worrying about your taxes. Taxumo is a web platform at its free beta stage whose goal is to make it easier for small business owners to track their income, expenses and tax requirements. “Taxumo allows users to input their expenses and at the end of the month tax forms are automatically filled up and ready for filing,” said Taxumo CEO Mark Ong. “This allows the business owner to better manage their tax flow.” However, with the administration’s tax reform bill finally gaining traction in the legislature, Taxumo might soon have to do some serious re‑organization.
Bloom Solutions makes blockchain technology accessible to remittance businesses so that our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can have another option in sending money home. With the increased global reliance on blockchains, Bloom wants to provide a service that’s easy for people to understand. “The OFW doesn’t need to worry about how blockchains work,“ said Mr. Buenaventura. “For If she sends in HK$500, this gets converted into bitcoin, forwarded to Bloom and then we convert it into peso.” Currently, they can only provide services from the foreign country to the Philippines, and not the other way around.
Another fintech startup, Magpie’s apps and tools allow anyone with a smartphone to collect payment from credit and debit cards. “We’re trying to solve the problem of millions of merchants out there who want to be able to accept digital payments,” said Magpie Founder Dominick Danao. He gave as an example someone who rents out condominium units. With Magpie, his renters can pay him through credit card without him personally having to badger them, unless they don't pay on time, of course.
Acudeen considers itself an organization committed to the growth of SMEs. A fintech startup, Acudeen allows businesses to sell their invoices online for quicker access to finances. “The value we’ve created is that our clients want liquidity on demand, they need to grow their businesses and cash is king,” said fast‑talking Acudeen Chief Marketing Officer Miguel Alegre. “Our technology allows us to give suppliers the best rate they can possibly get for their invoices.”
Spreading the gift of a stable internet connection, AirMighty is a hotspot enabler that works with sari‑sari stores so that more people can have Wi‑Fi access. “We saw that sari‑sari stores can reach a large market, so we gave them a simple platform that allows them to sell prepaid Wi‑Fi,” said Joel Delos Angeles from AirMighty. And with the Philippines getting more and more wired to social media, wouldn’t it be nice if more people stopped browsing Facebook for free and be able to utilize all its features through a Wi‑Fi connection?
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