With the aim of helping startups expand their reach, fintech unicorn startup Xendit hosted “XenConnect,” which gathered (venture capital) VC representatives and selected startups. In speed dating-like fashion, startups pitched to their assigned VCs within the allotted time.
“Staging this event for the first time in the Philippines allowed us to honor our startup roots, while paying it forward by connecting top-tier funding to the immense talent pool in the Philippines,” said Yang Yang Zhang, chief innovation officer and Group CEO for the Philippines and Malaysia at Xendit.
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Citing the Philippine Venture Capital Report 2023, Xendit said the funds raised by Philippine startups last year was at $1.1 billion, the second year in a row that it reached the billionth mark. This makes the country an attractive market for investors primarily for the potential of its young, well-educated, and tech-savvy population.
From virtual to in-person
“It is inspiring to witness the emergence of numerous new Filipino startups in the industry,” said Jason Ramirez, an Investment Manager from Kickstart Ventures. “This burgeoning opportunity has attracted significant interest from investors, with 20 venture capitalists in the same room during the XenConnect event, a scenario unimaginable just a few short years ago.”
The startups that participated in XenConnect were a healthy mix of Filipino-founded ones and expat-run ventures. Initially, the event was held virtually but the overwhelming response prompted the company to extend it to in-person held at the Kickstart Ventures in Makati City.
The VCs were on the lookout for startups that not only have the passion but also the drive to address certain pain points and are willing to take risks in taking their business to the next level.
The VCs that participated in “Xenconnect” include VC AppWorks, Foxmont Capital Partners, Pulse 63 Healthcare Ventures, MAIN.ph, Openspace Ventures, IdeaSpace Investments, Accion Venture Lab, Wavemaker Partners, Insignia Ventures Partners, Gentree Fund, Kaya Founders, Gobi Partners and Gobi-Core Philippine Fund, Plug and Play Tech Center, and Patamar Capital.
Despite coming from varying backgrounds and industries, these startups found common ground in their passion for co-creating a better future for the Philippines.