The Gobi Core PH Fund (the Fund) announced recently that it has invested in Philippine companies MariaHealth and Edukasyon.ph. The Fund is a joint venture between Gobi Partners and Core Capital. These deals are Gobi’s first investments in the country.
Launched in October 2018, the Fund offers Philippine startups regionwide expertise and a network that will help them expand to other Asian markets.
Gobi Partners is one of the first venture capital firms with a regional presence across China, Hong Kong, and Asean with over $1.1 billion in assets under management. The firm, headquartered in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.
“We’re looking to invest not only in founders who we believe in but also in companies that are doing something relevant to address the biggest needs of our fellow Filipinos,” said Ken Ngo, managing partner of Core Capital.
In addition to providing crucial seed capital to startups, the Fund also aims to provide a boost to the Philippine entrepreneurial scene.
Founded in 2018, Core Capital is a venture capital firm in Manila, Philippines. Core Capital provides early-stage financing for technology companies with a focus on the Philippines. The firm invests through its first fund, the Gobi-Core Philippines Fund, co-managed with Gobi Partners.
“With a population of 120 million, the Philippines is the second largest country in Asea, but has been overlooked by venture capitalists,” said Thomas Tsao, founding partner of Gobi Partners. “We think that’s about to change, and we’re thrilled that we can get in on the ground floor of the digital transformation that is sweeping across the Philippines.”
Founded in 2016, MariaHealth is the brainchild of Vincent Lau and Anna Yu, who, after visiting the Philippines, realized how difficult and inefficient it was for Filipinos to get health insurance. Health insurance has, in fact, become an expensive critical problem in the country, with eight of 10 Filipinos being reported as never having any medical check-ups in their lifetime; there is also limited access to traditional intermediaries for people.
With this funding, MariaHealth is looking to tackle these issues by expanding its online one-stop health platform, with the end goal being to provide simple and easily accessible healthcare to every Filipino.
In the education sector, Edukasyon.ph has the aim of empowering 10 million annual student visitors to make better informed choices for their education, career, and life. Henry Muñoz founded the company in 2013 after seeing the poor life outcomes of Filipino youth, despite them having spent billions on education. To date, Edukasyon.ph has been solving the gaps between education and employment among the next generation through their educational online platform.
Exposure of PH startups
“We are excited to be partnering with Gobi-Core and leveraging on their experience and network in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as their Philippine-specific expertise,” said Muñoz. “This funding will prove invaluable as we continue to expand our product offerings, and strive to grow our reach nationwide.”
Core Capital Partner, Jason Gaisano, further expounded on how these investments into MariaHealth and Edukasyon.ph will bring outside interest to the Philippine startup ecosystem, which is also in line with Gobi-Core’s mission to expose Philippine-based startups to more global markets.
“We will continue to provide exposure and networking for the next wave of companies, and are eager to make the next batch of investments through this Fund,” Gaisano said.
Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 11 funds to date, invested in over 200 startups, and has grown to nine offices across Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tianjin.