Startup event underscores role of IT biz ventures in economic dev’t

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

The pivotal role of tech-enabled startup firms in solving social problems, building up businesses, addressing underserved markets, and advancing the economy was underscored during the InQbation Startup Showcase 2018 at the Net Plaza Building in Bonifacio Global City on December 10.

A representative from startup firm AdMov discusses his company’s technologies, visions, and achievements during the InQbation Startup Showcase 2018

During the event, some players from the local startup community including three beneficiaries of the startup community platform QBO Innovation Hub, discussed how top-flight technologies helped power their visions and achievements to an audience that included investors.

“Innovation is disrupting our world,” said QBO Innovation Hub president Rene “Butch” Meily. “It’s fostering new industries and destroying old ones. We cannot afford to be left behind.”

According to Meily, QBO was created exactly for the purpose of taking advantage of this “tidal wave of innovation” by nurturing local startups. “The economic multiplier effect of startups is indisputable,” he added.

The three QBO incubatees which took part in the showcase were Cropital, Pushkart.ph, and AdMov.

Cropital is a crowdfunding platform connecting funders with small farmers all over the Philippines. Online grocery service Pushkart.ph ensures fast and safe delivery of groceries to the buyer’s doorstep while providing jobs for baggers.

Meanwhile, AdMov is an advertising platform using location data and facial recognition technologies to deliver personalized and cost-efficient advertisement to passengers via tablets installed in ride-sharing vehicles. With this innovation, AdMov has been providing extra income to over 1,000 Grab drivers whose vehicles carry the tablets.

The other startups were the following:

  • Magpie – a payment API allowing merchants to get into the digital payments space more easily
  • Nudge – a platform that uses artificial intelligence to give frontliners with almost instant answers to customer’s queries, among others, thus increasing their productivity and shortening transaction times
  • Taxumo – a tax filing platform for freelancers, small entrepreneurs, doctors and other self-employed professionals
  • Exora – a bidding site where industrial electricity end users get to choose their electricity providers and consequently save as much as 30% on electricity bills
  • MAD Travel – a social tourism platform merging tourism with NGO work to provide livelihood programs to remote communities in the country
  • Learntalk – an affordable on-demand live video call English tutorial operating in Vietnam, Spain, and Latin America that runs via Facebook Messenger
  • OneWatt – provides non-invasive motor health monitoring for motor-heavy industries using custom acoustic sensors, frequency analysis, and machine learning
  • Investagrams – a fintech and equity investment firm providing tools and education to Filipinos engaged in the stock market
  • Senti – harnesses analytics, big data, and machine learning to analyze social media posts in English and local languages

The Philippines’ first public-private initiative for startup companies, QBO Innovation Hub was the result of a partnership between accelerator program IdeaSpace, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, and investment house JP Morgan.

Startups under QBO’s wing benefit from networking opportunities, capacity building programs, mentorship, curated workshops, professional services from major investors, government agencies, and the Philippine Stock Exchange, and other initiatives to help them access markets, knowledge, capital, and talent.

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