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Independent investor announces $1M fund for investment in PH start-ups

Filipino serial entrepreneur and investor, Jose “Joe” Maristela III announced through his venture capital firm, Katalyst.PH, a new wave of investment fund amounting to one million US dollars (USD1,000,000).

In the Philippine startup scene despite the emergence of local startup accelerators, innovation hubs, venture capitalists (VCs), and angel investors, the ecosystem still faces many barriers. Capital flowing in is too small compared to other markets.

The government roadmap in creating 500 startups with total funding of US$200 million and valuation of US$2 billion by 2020 is quite a stretch, but definitely not impossible because of the limitless possibilities tech start-ups have. Joe’s outlook in the Philippines start-up economy is very positive adding to his high regard for the talents and skills of Filipino entrepreneurs, a series of investment rounds coming from his pocket is imminent. With Satoshi Citadel Industries’ (SCI) recent undisclosed amount of seed funding from Korean web giant Kakao’s venture capital arm KVG, Maristela is currently driven to replicate this through the new wave of investment fund he is putting in.

“In order for a start-up to really grow exponentially, they need to have strong strategic partners and investors. It is only after almost a year that I found the right partner for SCI. John Park, the CEO of KVG and I simply agreed that there is a very promising future for finance in the ASEAN region and we believe that SCI will play a critical role in unearthing these potentials,” said Maristela.

SCI is one of the first start-ups he invested in that started out as a remittance business through its platform, Rebit.ph. It now continuously strengthens its list of products and services and well on its way with a clear roadmap, a clear market and a new strategic partner.

“They said a start-up couldn’t take the ‘enterprise’ approach—in that I mean; many critics of SCI said that they couldn’t pull off so many products at the same time at such an early stage, but that is what’s being innovative is all about. The team of course is also a key component, with SCI, you will really see that they’re not afraid to try things; fail, learn, and adapt quickly. It’s what’s makes them a “cockroach start-up”—or a start-up that is very resilient,” Maristela added.

Corporate venture partner, 500 Startups, saw a big potential for growth in one of Maristela’s venture: Qwikwire, where he was second to invest. Kntnt, Inc. (Kntn), another start-up where Maristela poured in some fund is making it big in the digital media and marketing space.