IdeaSpace launches 2017 Philippines startup competition

IdeaSpace launches 2017 Philippines startup competition

IdeaSpace Foundation, an early-stage technology incubator and accelerator in the Philippines has formally launched its National Startup Competition for 2017 and has begun accepting innovative technology ideas.

IdeaSpace is a non-profit foundation backed by First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC), MPIC hospital group, PLDT, Meralco, Smart Communications, Maynilad, Voyager Innovations, and PayMaya Philippines.

On its fifth year, the 2017 IdeaSpace National Startup Competition will be increasing its finalist quota, accepting 15 startups instead of the usual 10, into the final acceleration process.

The acceptance of more startups is part of IdeaSpace’s efforts to expand and accommodate the local startup ecosystem, which it noted has seen robust growth over the past four years.

“We’ve seen very inspiring stories of startup founders joining IdeaSpace over the years, from husband-and-wife tandems to students looking to make their own mark in the world,” said the Executive Director of IdeaSpace, Diane Eustaquio.

“This year, we’re looking to extend our support to more startup founders with burning passion for starting up their own business and helping the country progress with the help of technology and innovation,” she adds.

All 15 startups that make it to the finals next year will receive an equity fee funding of PHP 500,000, which translates to an approximate amount of US$ 10,000.

Besides, the teams will also receive support for housing, transportation, incorporation, office space, communication, software, classes and training, as well as mentorship from executives under First Pacific companies, the total value of which amounts to more than PHP 1 million.

However, IdeaSpace will not have a stake in their early-stage startups.

Newly appointed IdeaSpace president Butch Meily said the foundation has been extending its capacity into a – full ecosystem support. This is to ensure that most of the startups are guided every step of the way.

“We’ve realized over the years that startups need as much support as they can get in every step of the process, from bringing their ideas to life to launching them into the market, and even to making their startups grow further,” Meily explains.

But aside from incubation and acceleration programs, IdeaSpace has also been an avid supporter of startup community events in the country and overseas, such as the annual Geeks on a Beach conference, the Slingshot MNL programme by the Department of Trade & Industry, as well as the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival.

Since launching in 2012, IdeaSpace has incubated and funded a total of 52 startups, some of which have grown and evolved into large businesses and enterprises such as PinoyTravel and TimeFree Innovations.

Interested individuals or groups may submit their unique startup ideas by logging on to apply.ideaspacefoundation.org. Deadline for submission of ideas is on January 12, 2017.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Singapore-based e-commerce enabler Shopmatic buys technology consulting firm 5X Ruby

Singapore-based e-commerce enabler Shopmatic buys technology consulting firm 5X Ruby

Singapore-based e-commerce enabler Shopmatic has announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Taiwan-based technology consulting firm, 5X Ruby on Thursday.

According to the details of the agreement, Shopmatic has acquired 51% stake in 5X Ruby in a mixed cash-and-stock deal for an undisclosed amount. The latter’s valuation was also not disclosed.

The move on Shopmatic’s part is aimed at strengthening its platform development team, in order to provide its customers a streamlined experience backed by the latest technology stack.

“We plan on developing value-added services for our customers including inventory management service, integrate payments on the platform, aggregation, and taxation. For these services, we will be using the technology from 5X Ruby. Some of the 20-member team of the company will be working with Shopmatic’s lab to design these solutions.” Anurag Avula, the co-founder of Shopmatic said.

Founded in December 2014 by Anurag Avula, Yen Ti Lim, and Kris Chen, Shopmatic is an international e-commerce platform, launched with the intent to help anyone wanting to sell online.

In other words, it aims to help merchants and individuals manage everything that is required for them to grow their business in the virtual world, that is from assisting managing merchants to develop their own unique web-store to aiding them with insights on how to sell online.

Besides building websites, Shopmatic also helps integrate payment gateways, establish partnerships with logistics companies, and facilitate listings in marketplaces and social media. The service also includes a backend analytics platform.

On the other end, 5X Ruby has been the at the forefront of technical consultation and training. The firm has built a vibrant and growing Ruby developer community in Taiwan catering to high-tech clients from Japan, Hong Kong & Taiwan developing web and mobile applications.

The technology company in-house software Ruby on Rails is a server-side web application development format written in Ruby 5X held under the MIT License. The system acts as a model-view-controller framework which uses less code and provides default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages.

The Taiwanese firm, in turn, lies in sync with Shopmatic’s aspirations to deploy the latest technologies and simplify the process for those who intends to take their business online, without the requirement for technical knowledge.

Besides, the acquisition will also facilitate the company’s international market expansion plans, which aims to target markets outside Singapore by early 2017, particularly to strengthen its presence in other South Asian markets such as Japan.

“This acquisition will not only enable us to strengthen our stance as the leading platform that enables businesses to go online but also to scale and enter new markets at a faster pace. We welcome the 5xRuby team into the Shopmatic family and are excited about the opportunity of working with a world-class development team,” said Anurag Avula.

In 2015, Singapore-headquartered Shopmatic has launched its operations in Gurgaon and Bangalore in India. The company has also launched a mobile app, earlier last month for Indian Sellers called Go, which is an easy tool to create an e-commerce website in less than two minutes with three easy steps. Reportedly 85-90% of Shopmatic’s business comes from India.

By Vivian Foo, Unicron Media