Local start-up accelerator IdeaSpace announced on Wednesday, Jan. 27, the three top performing startups from its 2020 accelerator program, its first accelerator held completely online. The top three startups each received P1 million in cash and equity funding.
“2020 was an extraordinary year. It began with a volcanic eruption, followed by a global pandemic, and ended with two destructive typhoons and an earthquake on Christmas day. None of that stopped IdeaSpace’s acceleration program, which went all virtual for the first time ever,” said IdeaSpace president Rene “Butch” Meily.
“Our start-ups rose to the challenge of continuing to do business in the middle of a worldwide global crisis.”
Chosen from the 12 startups that were spotlighted in IdeaSpace’s virtual Demo Day last year, the three winning startups are:
- Workbean — a recruitment marketing platform that allows companies to cater directly towards Millennial and Generation Z digital talents by highlighting company culture as their hiring advantage. This start-up also helps its partner companies profile their existing culture while providing information about the qualities job seekers are currently looking for in companies.
- Humble — a lifestyle platform that encourages consumers to sustainably declutter. By simply pushing a button, users can have their unused clutter collected from their homes and offices for free, with the knowledge that all items gathered by the company are reused, recycled, or upcycled.
- Agro-DigitalPH — a digital solution that aims to make fair trade a norm for the Philippines agriculture industry. On their platform, the company virtually consolidates the holdings of their organized farmer groups, aids the groups’ production management and forecasting, and connects them to institutional buyers. Agro-DigitalPH also works closely with its farmer groups to equip them with the appropriate skills to run their farms as businesses.
Along with 20 other hopefuls, the three startups underwent IdeaSpace’s four-month acceleration program where they received mentoring from IdeaSpace’s lineup of experts, as well as learning sessions and resources to prepare their businesses for market readiness.
When asked about the potential of the Philippine start-up ecosystem post-pandemic, Meily replied, “I’m really confident about startups because they’re right in the sweet spot of the Philippine economy. They’re digital, so they’re really in there for this digital shift. Whether we like it or not, changes that maybe would’ve taken two to three years are now happening within months because there’s no choice in terms of safety and convenience. Startups are really primed to take advantage of this.”
“There’s really a lot of promise. I think the base of any industry is really the human capital. As we have more people attempting to do a startup and maybe failing along the way, we are building their strength and their expertise in their next endeavour,” he said.
IdeaSpace executive director Diane Eustaquio added: “IdeaSpace has been involved for the last nine years in this ecosystem, and we have seen the growth in the kind of human capital we need to build a tech start-up.”
IdeaSpace is currently accepting applications for its 2021 acceleration program. The deadline for applications is on February 28, 2021, 11:59 p.m. (Manila time).