The National Development Co. (NDC), the investment arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said it is looking to sign up five more co-investment partners next year.

“If we get the word out, I think before the middle of next year, we can get five more co-investment partners (to bring the total to) ten,” Alewijn Aidan K. Ong, NDC assistant general manager for business development, said. 

NDC’s current slate of accredited co-investment partners are Idea-Space, Investment & Capital Corp. of the Philippines, Gobi-Core Philippine Fund, Foxmont Capital Partners, and Real Tech Holdings Co., Ltd.

“We currently have five accredited partners… (but) the more the co-investment partners, the easier for us to reach out to more companies (to invest in),” Mr. Ong said.

He said prospective partners are venture capital firms like Kaya Founders and Investree Philippines. “And then we have another one that we want to have discussions with to increase the pool of our co-investment partners,” he added.

The DTI, under Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act, is authorized to operate the Startup Venture Fund via the NDC.

“The SVF allows the NDC to invest in Philippine-based and registered startups with the goal of jump-starting the startup ecosystem,” the NDC said.

The SVF uses a co-investment model dor investing, requiring the NDC to partner with an accredited private entity before investing.

Mr. Ong said that increasing the pool will be vital in reaching its target of investing in 10 more startups in 2024.

“This year we will try to complete the SVF process for one more company. But if we are not able to complete it this year, we will go full blast next year,” he said.

“Next year, we made a promise that six to 10 startup companies will be funded through SVF,” he added, citing that it will be focused on investing in innovative companies that promote food, water, and power security, among others.

Tech startup SolX Technologies, Inc. received a P22-million investment from NDC and Japanese co-investment partner Real Tech after signing a memorandum of understanding last week.

The event marked the first deployment of the SVF through NDC and Real Tech’s first investment in a Philippine company.

“Right now, since the investment in SolX is the first, the balance of P489 million is still available,” Mr. Ong said, referring to NDC’s available SVF funding.

“Next year, if all goes well and we will be able to disburse, maybe we can add around P250 million or P500 million,” he added.

The single investment limit is 15% of the  SVF for each company, which is not to exceed 40-50% of the company’s equity. — Justine Irish D. Tabile