The Philippine Startup Report published last year revealed that one of the problems in the Philippine startup ecosystem is funding. Realizing this problem, a group of individuals from the Philippine and Australian startup community came up with a solution in Manila Angels.
Manila Angels’ goal is to provide Philippine startups with a private network of angel investors, which means an avenue for more funding. Today, the country has incubators such as Launchgarage and Ideaspace Foundation that back startups in the idea stage, and seed-stage investors such as Kickstart Ventures and Hatchd, among others. But Manila Angels co-founder Christian Besler believes the startups could have access to more funding if investors have the means to reach out to them. He says:
Given my involvement in the local startup scene, I had the opportunity to meet plenty of people interested in investing in local startups. These people have a hard time connecting to the various startups out there. Sometimes they simply don’t have the personal ties into the startup scene. Others wanna gain access to more experienced private investors and follow or match their investments.
Manila Angels will provide that bridge between angel investors and local startups, while at the same time provide its members with opportunities to network and exchange their learnings and insights.
Founder of Australian venture builder Pollenizer Phil Morle and private investor Andrew Broad helped out by bringing together the Angel network, while Besler and Kalibrr founder Paul Rivera tested the concept with friends and colleagues. To kickstart this idea, the first breakfast meeting with angel investors was held last October 2013 in Kickstart’s co-working space in Makati City where about 30 Angels arrived to show support.
As of this month, Manila Angels already consists of 36 private investors from the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, and the US. Its application is now open for local startups who are seeking funding. Deadline of the video pitches will be until January 31. Four startups will be selected to have the opportunity to pitch to the angels at an upcoming dinner in February.
Following this, Manila Angels will also hold an angel dinner every quarter to provide Philippine-based startups with another venue to connect with investors and raise funds.
Manila Angels hope to gett four to six startups funded this year through their network of angel investors.
(Editing by Terence Lee)