Saturday, February 24, 2024

US venture firm inks pact with DICT to create collaboration platform for PH startups

PANGLAO, Bohol — A Silicon Valley-headquartered venture capital firm co-founded by a Filipino tech executive has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to create an intellectual property (IP)-based collaboration platform called “Horizon Philippines” for local startups.

Jojo Flores, co-founder of Plug and Play Ventures, represented his company in the MOA signing with DICT secretary Ivan John Uy at the ongoing Geeks On A Beach (GOAB) startup conference being held here. The event, jointly organized by the DICT and startup group GeeksPH, is making a return after a pandemic-induced five-year hiatus.

Also part of the partnership agreement is DFNN, a tech-focused diversified investment firm which will serve as the financial sponsor of the program, and the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) as alliance partner.

According to Flores, the overarching aim of Horizon Philippines is to seize existing and future opportunities in three vital Philippine industries — BPO, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and the electronics assembly – with IP-enhanced solutions ahead of other countries such as India or China.

Flores, a graduate of the University of the Philippines but built his tech career in California, said the three aforementioned sectors, when combined, account 25% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).

These pillars collectively fuel the nation’s employment generation, bolster foreign exchange reserves, foster technological innovation, and propel overall economic expansion within the country, he said.

The Horizon Philippines program, he explained, aims to establish a forward-looking strategy that not only recognizes the pivotal roles played by these industries but also envisions a resilient future for these pillar industries.

“By injecting innovation through startups, the Horizon Philippines program seeks to catalyze the creation of new IP assets, which, in turn, will contribute to the growth of an IP-based economy”, said Flores, a regular fixture in the local startup scene.

“This approach will not only help diversify the economic landscape but will also position the country to thrive in an increasingly knowledge-driven and competitive global economy,” he added.

As for the role of the DICT in the initiative, Uy said the agency will merely coordinate and provide the necessary linkage to help the program take off the ground and become successful. The DICT, however, won’t be allocating funds as the program will be driven mainly by the private sector led by Plug and Play Ventures.

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