What are your observations on how investor participation has changed over the past 5 years? What are trends that you are experiencing?
We believe that investors have always been willing to back the Philippines, it was a matter of not knowing how to identify the best opportunities from the pack or get a seat at the table to make a deal. MAIN now provides that avenue. The fact that in a short time, MAIN has grown from a handful of people to a large group investing over USD 1 million annually, clearly demonstrates how the Philippines investor and startup ecosystem has developed.
The Philippines is a massive market – with almost 110 million people and a growing middle class. It’s globally connected with an enormous Filipino diaspora. It is also a digitally savvy nation. Some say it’s the social media capital of the world, and the mobile texting capital of the world. However, the Philippines is a market that has yet to be largely disrupted by tech. This context is very attractive for startups – and presents a significant opportunity for investors.
It’s clear that fintech will continue to be the fastest-growing tech sector in the Philippines. The huge amount of remittances coming into the country every year is a strength that can be built upon. The moment local startups solve the problem concerning the unbanked and the inconveniences in the financial services industry, they have a solution that can be scaled globally.
There are also opportunities to be found in other sectors. For example, with the COVID-driven global realization that professional jobs no longer need to be tied to geography, the country’s strengths in outsourcing, talent and tech will provide myriad new opportunities here. MAIN is constantly looking for these, screening the investability of hundreds of startups each year, presenting the best to its members.