Medhyve wins online Seedstars Manila competition 

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Philippine Startup Week 2020 (PHSW20) SLINGSHOT went virtual on its 6th year, featuring notable Filipino startups as well as local and international startup enablers working together to recover and thrive under the new normal.  

In his keynote message, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez stressed the importance of supporting startups and innovation in providing jobs and employment for Filipinos as this would attract more investments for the country as the Philippines moves towards the new normal.   

“The creativity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipino startups will remain as our strongest resource towards a smart, sustainable, and resilient economy,” Sec. Lopez said. 

The SLINGSHOT event also highlighted the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DTI and 500 Startups, a global venture capital and startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley, to work together on DTI’s Strategic MSMLE and Startup (SMART) Link Program.  

SMART Link aims to facilitate the digital transformation of the country’s local micro, small, medium, and large enterprises (MSMLEs).  It will connect MSMLEs with startups or digital enterprises that can provide digital solutions for their operations, such as in e-payments, chatbots for customer management, human resource, and payroll management, among other digital services.  

DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba remarked at the MOU signing, “(SMART Link) is important and very relevant as we are pursuing digital transformation amid the pandemic.” 

Ms. Bedy Yang, 500 Startups Vice President recognized the enormous potential of the Philippine startup ecosystem. “The local ecosystem is young and very entrepreneurial and having a big diaspora can help a lot with international expansion. Through SMART Link, we can build a lot of global connections,” she said. 

The SLINGSHOT Conference featured plenary presentations from Startup Genome’s Patricia Russ and Usec. Aldaba. Ms. Russ emphasized the importance for policymakers to focus on the right action and support at the right time, for ecosystem leaders to let the entrepreneurial core lead the startup community, and for startup founders to think big and go global.   

Meanwhile, Usec. Aldaba discussed how the crisis has unlocked opportunities for many local startups, particularly those in the logistics, edtech, digital services, healthcare, and fintech sectors. She stressed: “Collaboration among stakeholders in scaling up and globalizing startups in our existing sector-strengths is indispensable.”   

At panel discussions, representatives of local and global startup enablers from the United States, Taiwan, and Singapore talked about how collaboration among stakeholders of startup ecosystems across countries can be conducted, and how these collaborations can support startups during and beyond the pandemic.  

The panelists—which included Jojo Flores of Plug N’ Play, Minette Navarrete of Kickstart Ventures, Thomas Jeng of 500 Startups, Li Chang of Taipei Computer Association, and Darren Lee of Enterprise Singapore—shared their insights by reminding startups to look for opportunities for growth despite current restrictions, look outward for areas and sectors that are still experimenting, and keep engaging customers in order to survive and thrive in the new normal. 

In the second panel discussion, Filipino startups Pearlpay, Cawil AI, Vaquform, 1Export, and Hustleshare PH shared their experiences in forging international connections that contributed to their growth. They advised other aspiring Filipino startups to carefully study relevant data, take advantage of the country’s unique position when developing an idea, and seek help from more experienced startup enablers as they journey to establish, scale-up, and globalize their ventures.  

Culminating PHSW20 was the Online Seedstars Manila Competition, which was sponsored by Seedstars, a Swiss-based private group of companies with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.  

Medhyve, a health tech startup that provides a convenient and cost-effective hub for buyers and sellers of healthcare products, was declared the winner of the Manila Competition. The winning startup will proceed to the regional stage of the competition, competing with fellow entrepreneurs from Asia and the Pacific for a chance to participate in the global stage and receive a prize up to USD 500,000 in equity investment. ♦

Date of Release: 7 December 2020