At the start of 2013, American entrepreneur Bowei Gai embarked on a voyage across 36 cities in 29 countries as part of his World Startup Report project. In each country he’d coordinate with local tech enthusiasts to produce a crowdsourced report. While the reports produced – like this one for India – were helpful and informative, Gai explains that they went out of date very quickly.
That’s why Gai has rethought and revamped the project to come up with the World Startup Wiki. It’s the same entrepreneur-oriented idea, this time in the form of a community-generated wiki. “It’s an epic guide – all you need to know to start up anywhere in the world,” Gai enthuses.
The new site launches today covering one country – the Philippines. It’s no coincidence that the World Startup Wiki for the Philippines is the first section – it’s where Gai relocated at the start of this year.
The new World Startup Wiki takes data seriously. The site’s opportunity maps are perhaps the most useful features for entrepreneurs contemplating a new venture. So far, this is all Philippines-only. The wiki’s charts are all shareable and embeddable. Here’s an opportunities overview for lots of web sectors in the country – the lower the number, the more free spaces exist for new services to start up:
The wiki has full listings on each sector, showing where there are already market leaders. The green, “non-existent” sectors are where the Philippines’ relatively young web industry is still an open playing field:
The Philippines has a low market saturation index, Gai notes. From the wiki’s collated data, it’s a mere 1.28 out of five, somewhere between infancy and semi-mature.
While Gai notes the country does lack infrastructure and other elements that web businesses need – things like a lack of credit card usage contribute to making epayments a tough area – it’s still an exciting and dynamic market, with a notable number of opportunities in mobile-only areas. “The next 10 years is the decade of entrepreneurial mobility,” Gai says. That means now’s the time for new or existing startups to make a move in new countries.
Gai hopes the new World Startup Wiki will be useful to four types of people: local entrepreneurs, foreign entrepreneurs, foreign investors, and major foreign companies. All four can dig through the guides, data, listings, and advice to get insights. “It’s like the Lonely Planet guide to startups,” Gai says. “We want to have the same level of detail.”
Already there are 7,000 words and 1,000 data points for the Philippines’ tech ecossystem.
The new wiki isn’t afraid to take on controversies. Gai is pleased that the new wiki also covers areas to avoid so that entrepreneurs can “miss the land-mines” scattered all over the place. It also tackles delicate cultural points – in a section called Cultural Awareness – related to the Philippines. Those will be covered when new sections for other countries come online.
(Editing by Josh Horwitz)