Philippines Rising: The New Startup Hotspot in 2022

Freddie Luchterhand-Dare
January 4, 2022

Actively investing a high potential market

Openspace recently spoke with The Ken about the opportunity we've long recognised in the Philippines, and how that led us to build on our portfolio in the country, and lead the Series A in Kumu. The live commerce business' rapid growth has served as a signal to overseas investors that now is the time to pay attention to a market full of entrepreneurial zest and emergent startups.

According to The Ken:

The Philippines share of investment dollars jumped 9X in two years
The pandemic has not only accelerated certain digital businesses, but forced investors to look overseas to make remote deals
Founders of growing startups are sharing their experiences, and even doing deals, to help young companies develop

As part of the article, the team was interested to learn what motivated us to act early. Hian Goh, General Partner, surmised it by emphasising that "we always recognised the Philippines’ potential to become a vibrant startup market in Southeast Asia”, but knew that young startups needed operational and strategic support in order to grow. By actively offering our experience in scaling tech companies, such as Gojek in Indonesia, Kumu was better placed to rapidly expand. Rexy Dorado, Kumu's president and co-founder, has said that Openspace was the first overseas investor that they came across with genuine conviction in its business and the country. “When we were just starting, it was very hard to get people even interested in the Philippines as a market,” Dorado told The Ken.

Gervin Yang, Executive Director with Philippines coverage, also said that "there needs to be a clear cut case study where joining a startup at an early stage can become very, very rewarding." Working alongside Kumu, we helped them bring in top talent such as Crystal Widjaja, chief product officer, who we had closely partnered with in her role as an early employee at Gojek. She has since led a remarkable rebuild of Kumu’s product team.

Following Openspace's support of #PHSW21 in November, we were buoyed by the level of energy and enthusiasm shown by new and aspiring founders, which gives us a great deal of confidence for 2022.

“The community is very friendly. Founders meet up, whether it’s Zoom or face-to-face, and the sharing of knowledge is very positive,” said Gervin.

Our growing portfolio in the Philippines includes:




To read the full article by Jon Russel, The Ken 👇

To learn more about Kumu 👇