QBO Innovation Hub, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, has concluded INQBATION: The Take Off with a Demo Day. The Demo Day capped off a six-month virtual incubation program for early-stage startups looking to help individuals and businesses digitize their operations and participate in the digital economy.
“The goal of the program is to help these select startups set their business up for long-term success. We worked with them to help them understand their customers, improve the customer and user experience, and refine their products and services,” shared QBO Program Manager Carlo Yaptinchay. “After six months, most of these startups are now looking to expand their customer base, link up with partners, and find investors.”
The program kicked off last year, with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines providing support, incentives, and benefits to 13 early-stage startups worth P1 million.
The INQBATION: The Take Off cohort brought together the following founders and startups from different industries and sectors such as education, tourism, healthcare, wellness, fashion, retail, logistics, fintech, and events:
Young Filipinos creating platforms to support education, tourism
The current cohort includes Gen Z-led AkadsPH, a platform that allows parents to find online tutors for their grade school and high school kids; and COCOTEL, a hotel brand and aggregator of getaway destination hotels in the Philippines and soon Southeast Asia—specializing in providing business solutions to hotels with no setup costs.
Platforms and marketplaces delivering products and experiences for Filipinos
The INQBATION: The Take Off cohort also includes marketplaces and discovery platforms EveGrocer, a subscription-based, zero-waste online grocery carrying waste-free commodity products; iRentMo, a rental marketplace community bringing renters together across different industries; Spare, a financial solution for SMEs to give digital change; Panublix, a collaborative sourcing platform & marketplace connecting Philippine weavers and artisans with the fashion & design market; and Ventii Eats, a discovery and delivery platform for specialty food in the Philippines.
Sports and fitness portals keeping Filipinos active and healthy
As the Philippines continues to grapple with the pandemic, two startups are supporting Filipinos looking to stay healthy by staying active. RaceYaya, a portal for live and virtual events for the endurance sports community; and Fitscovery, a marketplace providing trainers and gym studios SaaS tools to digitize while helping workout enthusiasts find the right trainers and exercise programs are both looking to bring a sense of community and ease of access to working out, even as we continue to follow social distancing.
New platforms, devices, and services to help consumers and business manage resources
The disruption brought about by the pandemic has pushed businesses, freelancers, and professional organizations to find new ways to digitize their work, reach their customers, and make better use of existing resources. To their rescue are startups like InterLeukin, a web platform for end-users, medical purchasers, and suppliers automating the procurement process from end-to-end; Last Mile, a digital logistics service innovation company that offers fleet management, riders-for-hire marketplace, and third-party fulfillment; SmarterMeter, a device that helps consumers save electricity by giving real-time data and analysis about their consumption through a platform; and XPERTO, an online events management platform for professional learning programs designed and delivered by professional organizations, associations, and experts.
QBO announced Fitscovery (1st place), Cocotel (2nd place), and Panublix (3rd place) as the winners of the 3rd challenge in INQBATION: The Take Off Demo Day. The Demo Day caps off a six-month virtual incubation program organized by QBO Innovation Hub in partnership with the U.S Embassy of the Philippines.
Some of the startups’ notable achievements over the course of the program include securing over USD200,000 worth of bookings on their platform; generating an average of P1 million worth of transactions monthly for the first four months of operations; handling over 20,000 monthly transactions and growing by 200%; generating over P300,000 in sales for community enterprises; and organizing 345 events in five Southeast Asian countries during the pandemic.
These results prove that collaborations on capacity-building and mentoring programs for startups bear fruit, creating another growth engine for an emerging economy like the Philippines.
For Katrina Rausa Chan, concurrent executive director of QBO and IdeaSpace, collaborations with partners like the U.S. Embassy are crucial to strengthening the startup ecosystem in the country.
“The pandemic may have delivered a huge blow to our economy, but these startups have shown that they have the expertise, grit, and muscle to help industries digitize and deliver value. With partnerships like the one with have with the U.S. Embassy, we will be able to help more entrepreneurs thrive and scale.”