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IGNITE 2021 CYBER: Fueling opportunities for startups

Having experienced the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, organizations may be looking for innovations that can support their rebound and growth.

IGNITE PH, with a focus on “Corporate Innovation Towards Recovery and Growth” this year, once again spotlighted startups and their innovations on the IGNITE 2021 CYBER WILDFIRE Pitch Event held on Nov. 16 to 19. The country’s largest international innovation conference sought to promote collaboration by providing global opportunities for startups.

Startups from the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, and Korea participated in the four-day pitch event, which covered five different themes including Social Good, Digital Transformation, Health and Wellness, K-Startups, and Travel Tech.

IGNITE 2021 CYBER partnered with Shell LiveWIRE, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), ROHTO Pharmaceutical, Y&Archer, and Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

Kicking off the first day of IGNITE’s WILDFIRE Pitch Event with Shell LiveWIRE were startups Panublix, Agro-DigitalPH, and Sachi Group. Among these startups, Agro-DigitalPH won this year’s Shell LiveWIRE Final Pitch Day. A startup seeking to empower farmers and fishers, Agro-DigitalPH has developed several cloud-based applications that cover the digital food value chain.

“We are advocates of change and are committed to uplift the lives of food producers through education and establishing a food system that puts a premium on trust and transparency,” said Henry James Sison, Agro-DigtalPH’s CEO.

The startup hoped to work with Shell Foundation in digitizing its farming and fishing communities, which can expand its market opportunities.

Six community enterprises for this year’s Shell LiveWIRE Acceleration Program were also featured on IGNITE. These included Coron Natural Farms, Kure, Seeds & Scales Vegetables Farms, RMC Oil and Eco Solutions, San Isidro Multi-purpose Cooperative, and Solchi Solutions.

Shell LiveWIRE is the global flagship enterprise development program of Shell. The program is now in its second year in the Philippines and has drawn over 500 local startups, social and community enterprises.

“On behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, we recognize the untiring efforts of Shell in promoting entrepreneurship, mentorship, innovation, and employment to strengthen local economies through Shell LiveWIRE,” expressed Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez in his keynote talk.

“On our end, we want to assure you of DTI’s continued support and facilitation of the industry’s concerns,” he added.

Digital transformation, innovation from Japan

The second day of IGNITE, supported by JETRO, focused on Digital Transformation and featured ten startups from Japan. JETRO is on the mission to create innovation through direct investment in Japan and support Japanese startups to expand overseas.

The startups that presented were RevComm, Inc., Asilla, Inc., Global Mobility Service, Axelspace Corp., Trustdock, Inc., Net Smile, Aidemy, Inc., Kotozna, Inc., Tenchijin, Inc., and Sagrih.

“This pitching session is designed for Japanese startups to expand their presence in the Philippines and the ASEAN market,” said Kazuo Nakamura, executive director of JETRO Manila, in his closing remarks. “Through business interaction and collaboration between Japanese startups and ASEAN companies, I believe it will lead a new business, acceleration of the digital transformation, and further technological innovation in this region.”

The day initially began with a keynote about internal collaboration for digital transformation by Richard B. Dasher, Ph.D., director of the US-Asia Technology Management Center at Stanford University.

“It’s best to look globally for partners in digital transformation. There is an intrinsically global aspect of cloud computing and all these new digital tools. They have no natural geographic borders. So, you should aim for a world-class technology core and be prepared to make that interface with localized components,” Mr. Dasher said.

He also considered that startups typically bring newer things than one can get from partnering with large, established firms. “You get more learning through a partnership with a startup company that sees a more emerging view of the world than you would just by relying on a big system integrator or provider,” he said.

IGNITE’s Day Two with JETRO also held a panel discussion moderated by Manny Ayala, managing director at Endeavor Philippines. The panel consisted of Nick Broomfield, global client director for Transformation Consulting at dentsu international; Ee Ling Lim, head of APAC Business Development at 500 Startups; Xavier Marzan, managing director/CEO of F(DEV), who shared how their organizations look at digital transformation and innovation.

Supporting health & wellness, Korean startups

The third day of IGNITE featured Health and Wealthness startups on the first part with ROHTO, then K-Startups with Y&Archer on the second part.

ROHTO’s core business deals with pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other health products.

In her introduction of ROHTO’s vision, researcher Florence said, “We believe that there are some unanswered needs yet to be explored in ASEAN countries, especially in the area of healthcare, food, and wellness. So one of the things that ROHTO can do is to support local startups that currently address those issues, and that’s why we’re here in IGNITE today.”

Three startups pitched on the event, namely Pascific, MedHyve, and reach52. Winning the competition was Pascific, which aims to improve access to precision healthcare in the Asia-Pacific, bagging the $5,000 equity-free funding and a chance to work with ROHTO.

“For ROHTO, we promise added revenue streams from Pascific initiatives, added R&D excellence for existing and new IP/product development, and added channels for the promotion of current and future ROHTO products,” Dr. Richie Soong, managing director of Pascific, shared in his pitch.

Y&Archer, a professional global business accelerator company from Korea, supported the second part of IGNITE’s Day Three. The K-Startups presented were ChangSeol Build System, Inc., Dr. K Healthcare, Mirae CIT, Inc., 2HAE Lifestyle, Onesoftdigm, ExoCoBio, Inc., The KEII Platform, and ERANGTEK.

More startups from Korea shined on the fourth and final day of this year’s IGNITE, supported by KTO. The startups for the day, which focused on Travel Tech, were Tripbtoz, Travolution, Vutler, KAFLIX, 3i, Inc., Glorang, Uniquegood Company, Dazayo, INFOIN, and WeAreFriends Co. Ltd.

In his opening message on the IGNITE 2021 CYBER’s final day, KTO’s Tourism Companies Support Department Executive Director Deoksoo Ahn said, “This event is a great opportunity for the startups to directly receive feedback and make connections with investors. We need you as much as you need us.”

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