QBO INNOVATION HUB, the first public-private initiative for start-ups, showcased its first batch of companies supported in partnership with JP Morgan’s Incubation Program that cater to underrepresented areas.
During the startup showcase on Dec. 10, six startup companies were given a chance to introduce themselves to potential investors. Three of these start-ups are supported by the JP Morgan Incubation Program, which gives qualified companies mentorships, workshops, access to wider network, and assistance for exiting.
One of these firms is AdMov, a smart advertising platform that utilizes the use of artificial intelligence for advertising purposes. AdMov lets firms advertise their products to areas where their target market is present.
Through tablets they install in cars, they are able to know the passenger’s demographics which affects what advertisements will show up in the device. Advertisements may also change depending on location.
They also provide ride-sharing drivers additional income through the tablets they install in their vehicles. Through the platform, Grab drivers earn an additional income of P2,500 per month.
AdMov said it was able to reach one million passengers per month in 2018. It sees this number growing to six million per month through 5,000 cars next year.
Another start-up company in the showcase was Pushkart.ph, which taps customers looking for a delivery service for groceries is online grocery service. Currently, six major supermarket chains have partnered with Pushkart like Puregold, Ultramega, and Fisher Supermarket. It has also partnered with several logistics companies like Lalamove, Xend, and Transportify to use their platform.
Pushkart is already present in ten cities within ten months of operation and reported revenues worth P20 million. It sees its revenues climbing to P1 billion and users to 400,000 by 2022.
Lastly, Cropital is a platform that connects small farmers and funders through crowdfunding. Through the platform, farmers are given low-cost sustainable financing.
Cropital selects farmers through its own credit scoring system and matches them with funders and then with buyers who commit to buy their products. Through the funding, farmers are also given a chance to finance their other needs.
As of this year, P35 million loans were funded and supported by 4,000 active lenders through Cropital. The firm is currently present in seven provinces with 22 communities.
In a panel discussion during the event, officials from different groups urged their respective sectors to be more involved with start-up companies to help them thrive in a competitive business environment.
“One thing I see happening now is that, the good start-ups are having trouble registering their companies here and they are going somewhere else. We are getting really high value brain drain. We need to fix these government processes and make them simpler and more business friendly. The small guys, they do not have the patience. They have to concentrate in the work at hand… We have to be mindful of them,” said Bill Luz, chief resilience officer at Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.
On the other hand, Francis Simisim, CEO of Social Light and a mentor at JP Morgan’s Incubation Program, advised start-ups to always seek investors’ advice and to develop their relationships with them.
“Ask questions. If you ask questions from these experts who are at the top in industry to know more about… Get advice and from there you can build up your start-up,” said Mr. Simisim.
“From the investment side, it’s really about building relationship with the investors. You can’t just get an investment with somebody without building a relationship… If you don’t build that relationship money is not going to come,” he added.
Rene S. Meily, president of QBO Innovation Hub, told BusinessWorld that it is targeting to complete the 15 start-up companies that will also be supported by JP Morgan.
He added that the initiative is also looking at listing these start-up companies at the Philippine Stock Exchange to gain more attention from investors.
“What we are trying to do, we want to form an index, a startup index in which…we put them in a basket, and then we’ll sell that one basket to investors and it will be a gauge. When profits are doing well, stocks can go up. If they are not doing well, stocks can go down.”
“The more people learn about startups, the more they want to be part of that,” he added.
Currently, there are over 300 start-up companies under the QBO Innovation Hub. — V.M.P. Galang