Ten startups bag equity-free funding from IdeaSpace Foundation


MANILA — Ten local startups have secured P1 million in funding from the IdeaSpace Foundation, the first batch to receive equity-free financing since the incubator and accelerator unit of the PLDT group started the competition four years ago.

Here are the winners of the 4th IdeaSpace Foundation Startup Competition in no particular order:

1. E.A.R.S. – a wearable device for the deaf/hearing-impaired that provides an early warning, detection, reaction device protecting users while outdoors from accidents, collisions, threats;

2. Cropital – a crowdfunding platform to help finance farmers;

3. Cleaning lady – a mobile app providing cleaning services targeted at condominium owners;

4. Populi – utilizes big data for politicians by aggregating social media and news engagements online;

5. Banyera – an online marketplace for wholesale farmed fish products;

6. Invested – a microfinancing platform for student loans;

7. Investagrams – website and app that provide education, analytic tools and information, in the stock market;

8. Taxumo – a mobile and web app that helps SMEs, professionals, freelancers and corporations with their taxes;

9. Tarkie – field employee tracking and productivity tool; and

10. Tralulu – a digital platform that connects travelers and local guides by allowing travellers to book guides and customize their itineraries with them.

IdeaSpace Foundation executive director Diane Eustaquio said this year’s bumper crop of startups had many impressive entries.

“Because we announced that we will not be taking equity, more teams with value came to the competition,” Eustaquio said. “Our promise is we want to be a feeder to the industry to be able to provide angel investors and companies assurance that teams that graduate in the program are really investible teams.”

Eustaquio added she is confident of the foundation’s sustainability beyond the initial seed funding it received from its principals. IdeaSpace was initially bankrolled by a P500 million five-year commitment from the PLDT group.

“Because we are not taking equity now and we are not going to take follow-on investment, we have a lot more money for quite a number of years. We are also finding ways to improve our operations so that we can last a long time,” Eustaquio said.

Since the competition’s inception four years ago, Eustaquio said there have now been a marked improvement in the quality of entries.

“The startups are maturing in that they are understanding that it’s all about the customer and we can see that they are more aggressive in addressing customer pain points,” Eustaquio said.

InterAksyon.com is the online news platform of TV5, which is also part of the PLDT group.