GOAB2: Kickstart gives insights on creating an innovation ecosystem

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  Kickstart Ventures, Inc., an incubator-investment firm wholly-owned by leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom, provided insights on creating a Philippine innovation ecosystem before startup founders, potential technopreneurs and investors present during the two-day Geeks on a Beach 2 conference in Mactan, Cebu.

Taking off from lessons learned in dealing with the startup community, Kickstart President Minette Navarrete noted that the Philippine innovation ecosystem is coming into its own even as she enjoined everyone involved to contribute to its maturation.

Using Kickstart as an example, Navarrete said that of the 18 startups under its portfolio, a third have already received subsequent funding from local and international third party investors while a couple more are closing in the coming weeks.

“It’s a promising start, but frankly what we all wait for is getting the significant exit, or exits, that demonstrate that the Philippines is a legit innovation ecosystem. To get to that champagne cork-popping moment, Kickstart puts in the groundwork together with the rest of the community. As an investor, we try to do our share of heavy lifting,” she said.  Kickstart provides funding for early-stage digital startups in exchange for minority positions in their companies.

Navarrete added:  “If you look at the global scenario, innovation does not come from a lone inventor or from big corporations.   They came from founders who are inventive, resourceful, determined.  Innovation starts from creative entrepreneurs.  At the same time, for innovation to thrive, we need an ecosystem that has more funding and an excellent mentor pool to guide the startups and open doors to capital.”

Thus, Navarrete advised technopreneurs to embrace diversity, be rational in decision-making, commit to hard work, be disciplined and matured, and have an ethical backbone.

“People who think and act different are essential for successful execution but don’t buy the hype about the coolness of the startup life.  It is fun but hardly frivolous. Do the hard things because they have the prospect of yielding greater returns. Know what your personal biases are so you can assess data with clear eyes. And most importantly, don’t lie because investors will know if you do,” she advised.

On the other hand, Navarrete encouraged investors to support startups that deserve it although she warned against proposing predatory terms such as assuming ownership of a huge percentage of early stage startups and demanding shares in the company for “introductions and advice” without handing over some cash.

Navarrete closed her talk by exhorting corporations and investors to be generous, echoing the opening words of Geeks on a Beach co-organiser and Symph founder and CEO, David Overton, “let’s invest in startups, and let’s help them succeed together.”


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