StartupBlink Blog

With a slow and steady rise in the StartupBlink Ecosystem Ranking Report, the Philippines now find themselves in a respectful position as 53rd. With a total of 3 cities finding themselves in the StartupBlink rankings, the Manila area is the most promising. 

With the Manila area as the startup ecosystem hub for the Philippines, it ranks at number 88 finding itself in the top 100 cities. Not to mention that the Manila Area ranks among the 20 best startup ecosystems in Asia at 17. This significant ranking shows the promising environment and incredible startup ecosystem that this small country hosts. 

Philippines Startup Ecosystem

Unique Ecosystem advantages:

  • Ranked top 20 for Asia’s best startup ecosystems
  • Second fastest-growing Asian economy 
  • Talented English-speaking population
  • Promising verticals, notably Fintech
  • Government support and The Innovative Startup Act

Overview of Philippines’ Startup Ecosystem

Over the past three years, the Philippines have increasingly encouraged business and startups to invest in the ecosystem. As the second-fastest growing economy in Asia with an increasing middle-class population, this small country is a prime location for startups. With many accelerators, incubator programs and governmental policies this small country is transforming itself into a startup ecosystem hub with increasing opportunities for business in a variety of industries. 

Differentiating itself from other startup ecosystems, some clear advantages of the Philippines include a young and active population, high English proficiency, and a much lower cost of living. In fact, the cost of living is 57% cheaper than in London, with the GDP Per Capita coming to $3,102.

This small country has moved its focus to transform into a global and international market. The government acts which have been introduced encourage startups to flourish in the environment and ecosystem. The Philippine Innovation Act and the Innovative Startup Act have provided small businesses and startups with access to funding, better trade opportunities, removing barriers that may hinder their growth. This is allowing for further development, encouraging innovative industry, and creating a more competitive advantage for startups in the Philippines. 

As well as a supportive government, over the past year, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines have invested in the country’s startup ecosystem, maintaining a steady economy and providing businesses with opportunities for growth. 

Investment opportunities 

As the second-fastest growing economy in Asia with an increasing middle-class population, this small country is attracting a lot of attention from potential investors. As this small country continues to put a focus on developing a stable and rewarding startup ecosystem the investment opportunities continue with companies seeing the potential in the Philippines and encouraging startups to move there.

Investors have identified Fintech, Medical and Healthcare technology, and Education technology as the most promising sectors in the Philippines ecosystems. The Philippines Online Media and Entertainment industry has also been successful reporting a 42% annualized growth rate since 2015. In 2020, the Philippines reportedly hosts over 700 tech startups, 120 co-working spaces, 50 angel investors, 40 venture capitalists, and 35 incubators and accelerators. 

Response to Covid-19

The Philippines have ranked high due to how well they have dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, coming in 29th position globally. The Manila region ranks in 64th place, a strong and overperforming position for the Philippines’ main city. Throughout the global Pandemic, the Philippines have managed to maintain their growth momentum. The ecosystem has remained fairly stable and continued private and public investment has allowed the startup ecosystem to flourish and continue growing. 

The Philippines rank higher on the Coronavirus Innovation rankings than the 53rd position they hold on the StartupBlink Ecosystem Ranking Report. These numbers show how well the Philippines have maintained the virus as well as maintaining a relatively stable economy for startups and businesses to continue developing. 

In addition to keeping a steady economy, the Philippino government introduced a “Small Business Wage Subsidy Program”. This program was announced to help businesses to keep their employees by paying wage subsidiaries throughout the quarantine period extending over 2 months. As well as this government program a $20 million Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing facility was established providing loans to small businesses furthering the support given throughout the Pandemic. Further support was provided from the many accelerators and incubator programs already well established within the Philippine ecosystem, with a focus on startups and smaller, or micro, businesses. 

Top Startups

PayMongo: Raised a record-breaking $2.7 million in seed round financing and gained support from companies like Y Combinator and PayPal, rapidly shaping how businesses in Southeast Asia operate and do business. 

Kumu: Has 3.5 million registered users, visited 47 million times per month, becoming the highest-grossing social app in the Philippines. It is a powerful livestream platform that prioritizes the voices of over 100 million Filipinos and communities around the world. It enables you to meet new people, make money, and play games. Hailed as Southeast Asia’s leading blockchain-enabled platform, pioneering the use of blockchain to make online transactions faster and more secure. The company has one of the country’s largest cash distribution networks, operating through over 33,000 partner locations. Coins customers have access to a mobile wallet and services such as remittances, mobile air-time, bill payments, and online shopping at over 100,000 merchants. 

Kalibrr – Kalibrr is a Philippines-based technology company transforming how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. A job-matching website that connects you with jobs that match your skills and experiences. It is backed by Y Combinator, Learn Capital, Kickstart Ventures, Siemer Ventures Funder’s Club, and the Omidyar Network.

Investagrams – An app acting as a guide to the stock market for people looking to invest and learn about stocks. Its focus is on educating whilst providing a network and analytic tools for beginner investors. Looking to expand into trading it currently offers a virtual trading platform to teach account holders about managing the fluctuating stock markets. 

Accelerators and Initiatives

The Innovative Startup Act – created to strengthen, promote, and develop the startup ecosystem in the Philippines.

Technology Business Incubator (TBI) – This incubator aims to support ecosystem enablers that in turn help entrepreneurs and startups jumpstart their businesses.

Startup Research Grant – provides financial assistance and business resources to boost startup traction.

Startup Pinay – delivers additional, focused support to female-led startups to help them flourish in the male-dominated tech landscape.

Impact Hub Manila – An incubation program designed to grow business ideas into sustainable ventures. Part of the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world Impact Hub. They are an incubation hub focused on purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose venture ideas have the potential to impact lives on a large scale.

Key organizations

Department of Trade and Industry – The government through their department of Trade and Industry (DTI) created the P3 Program. A program set to help entrepreneurs around the country by providing cheap loans with only a 2.5% monthly interest rate. This program allows startups to benefit from an alternative capital source allowing them to grow and expand their business. 

QBO Innovation Hub – An organization dedicated to supporting Filippino startups by connecting and developing the local startup ecosystem and encouraging tech and innovation.

KMC Solutions – KMC is supporting the Philippines’ startup ecosystem, with the largest co-working chain in the country and several startup incubation programs.

Startup Summary 

Despite its size, this small country has a very promising emerging startup ecosystem. The Philippines provides entrepreneurs and startups with a stable economy, a motivated workforce, and supportive governmental policies. The country has many innovation hubs and programs that support startups in their initial phase of development. 

Its steady rise and growth is an excellent indicator of the progress that is being made within the Philippines to turn it into a flourishing startup hub and ecosystem. Ultimately, this small yet powerful country offers plenty of opportunities for those in the startup ecosystem. 

For more information on startup ecosystems download the Startup Blink Global Report