THE Philippines currently has 547 startups, according to the latest curated data from StartupPH, the country’s umbrella organization for all stakeholders and supporters of the startup ecosystem composed of government and private partners.

The data presented yesterday by StartupPH convenor Jojo Flores showed that majority of the startups in the country are involved in e-commerce (56 percent), financial technology, software as a service and business solutions (55 percent), financial technology (48 percent), and consumer apps (40 percent).

“They do not total to 100 percent because sometimes, the nature of these startups overlap,” said Flores.

Of the total number of startups, 320 have already been cross verified by the organization, while the rest are subject for verification. Based on the Philippine startup roadmap, the country targets to reach 500 startups in 2020 with a valuation of $2 billion.

Average age of startup founders in the country is 33 years old, where one out of three of them are female. However, it is only at age 39, on average, that they get institutional funding, said Flores.

“Hopefully we can bring this number down,” the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play co-founder said, noting that it is best if founders get funding at an early stage.

About 85.7 percent of startups are solo founders. Majority of the founders (72 percent) are college graduates, some have masters degrees (22 percent), a few have doctoral degrees (five percent), and college dropouts comprise a minority (three percent).

More than half of the startups in the country do business to business (B2B) products and services, said Flores.

“Despite having a lot of marketplace platforms, most startups have a B2B approach,” he said, adding that it is faster to succeed and market than business to consumer (B2C) models.

When compared to developed economies, however, the number of startups in the Philippines is significantly little. For instance, Israel and Bangalore in India have over 20,000 startups, according to tech startup advocate Jojy Azurin.

She said strengthening science and technology (STEM) in the country’s education system as well as incorporating entrepreneurship and business math would encourage startups to increase in number. The more startups this country has, the more chances of producing more success stories.

“It’s a numbers game after all,” she said.

Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) president Jonathan de Luzuriaga and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu Director Maria Elena Arbon said talent development and mentorship would also help startups in the country scale up.

At present, barriers to their growth include funding, product scalability, infrastructure, talent, and lack of awareness among startups on government programs and support, said Flores.

“We need to create this new industry that we can be proud of,” added Flores.

The Philippine startup ecosystem is considered as still in its infancy relative to other economies like the US, India, and Singapore.