Ayala to launch $150-M venture capital fund to boost tech innovations

Conglomerate Ayala Corporation and its affiliates have announced plans to launch a new venture capital fund of at least $150 million which will be invested globally in new technologies that can complement their business activities, as the group aggressively ramps up digitalization.

Ayala Corporation chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala

In a press briefing following the conglomerate’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday, April 27, Ayala Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said this is probably the largest fund of its kind in the Philippines.

“A key focus of our venture investments is in the field of e-commerce,” he said.

With this new fund, Ayala seeks to focus on startups in their early growth stage and support tech innovations in data and analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fintech, automation, real estate, retail, transport, energy, water, health and wellness, and food.

Zobel noted the group has started to participate in businesses that are part of the current digital wave, particularly in e-commerce, fintech, and health tech.

These investments are designed to complement the group’s traditional brick-and-mortar operations, future-proof its existing portfolio, and broaden the digital experience of Filipinos, he said.

“We spend significant time studying other markets that are in advanced stages of digital maturity and we have teams constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies. Absorbing and learning from these experiences, we have become more deliberate in our own digital transformation journey and have elevated it into a group-wide strategic agenda,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ayala, Ayala Land, Bank of Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom, AC Energy and other selected invited investors have committed to raise this fund, which will be managed by Kickstart Ventures.

Kickstart is the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe with investment decisions overseen by senior Ayala group executives. It has invested in 39 digital startups in seven different countries since 2012.

“What we are doing is we are raising a fund amongst the group companies. The fund is really targeted and deliberately group-focused,” Ayala Corp. chief finance officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said. — Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

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