Cebu magnates urged to invest in startups 

Cebu magnates urged to invest in startups 

IN THE high stakes arena of startup investment, a seasoned angel investor and a venture capitalist told Cebu business leaders and entrepreneurs not to be afraid of taking risks and to go bold on investing in startups with promising products or services seen to have high demand and potential.

These investors said Cebu and the Philippines as a whole have a lot of advantages, including frequency of overseas remittances, and being an established English-speaking country.

These advantages have an upper hand to steer the success for any startup ecosystem, Joseph de Leon of Manila Angel Investors Network (Main) and James Tan of Quest Venture said during the second day of the “Innovation and Technology: Summit and Expo” organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part the months-long celebration of Cebu Business Months 2023 on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, at the SM Seaside City Cebu.

Startups are defined as emerging firms that are usually founded by a single or more entrepreneurs that develop product or service mostly on groundbreaking technological and business solutions with high-demand potential and exponential growth.

De Leon and Tan, who are experts in pouring funding in emerging startups, shared their methodologies that enabled them to thrive in developing small businesses into long-term growth prospects.

Tan is the founder and managing partner at Quest Ventures, a pioneering venture capital fund in Asia based in Singapore centering on technological advances, while de Leon is a founding Member of Main.

The two men said an investor’s checklist includes scrutinizing market alignment of target audience, projecting growth trajectories and assessing founders’ expertise for any startup endeavor to be successful.

Angel investors are well-off private investors that concentrate on financing small business via their own funds in exchange for equity, while venture capitalists use investment funds.


The current Philippine startup ecosystem has a lot of potential to grow, de Leon said.

The basic principle of any startup is to solve a problem or issue that is not present in the local community, turn it into a groundbreaking product or service, and market it to the public until an investor sees it fit for funding.

Investors look into the marketability of sustainability of any startup products and service. The more market it can reach, the more investors to fund its development, he added.

De Leon said an investor looks into concrete evidence that a startup product has been working in the community.

He added that the number rule in investing is to fund projects, products or services that the investor is most familiar with.

He challenged all startups in the country to level up their game, and identify problems and issues that are present in their community but have a potential for expansion in the whole nation and maybe in the global aspect.

Tan echoed his sentiments, saying it is important to level up the applicability of any startup product or service not only in local communities but also in the whole country and also in the Southeast Asia region. (EHP)


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