Launchgarage Completes Pioneer Cohort of TBI Accelerator Program
Launchgarage and the Dept. of Science and Technology tap Technology Business Incubators to spot and nurture promising innovative ventures
Over the past few months, Launchgarage has been working with DOST-PCIEERD to evaluate and mentor university based Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) the agency had been developing and supporting over the years. These incubators were each home to a pool of emerging technology startups, whose disruptive ideas were ready for acceleration and growth. The DOST-PCIEERD team, led by Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, asked Launchgarage how it could help transform these technology startups from TBIs nationwide into viable business ventures with robust commercial models.
Launchgarage was designed to provide meaningful and objective-driven accelerator programs to support the local startup ecosystem. By applying the principles and best practices common to successful tech startups, Launchgarage sought to help TBI based ventures to mature from idea stage and proofs-of-concept, to actual revenue generating businesses. After several discussions between the two insitutions, a pilot accelerator program was created to support the emerging technology startups under each TBI.
In March, however, the nation was put under a strict quarantine because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the TBI accelerator program had to adjust to a fully virtual implementation online.
The Virtual Meetup & Call for Applications
With the help of DOST-PCIEERD, the first step was to conduct a virtual meetup with the various startups to gauge their interest in joining the program. Launchgarage, together with its partner ecosystem enablers Plug&Play and QBO Philippines, conducted the virtual meetup to discuss and share insights with the startups during an eventful afternoon session on the 9th of June. This is where the TBIs and startups were briefed on the program, and a call for applications was announced for all the technology startups under the DOST TBIs.
Selecting the Startups
28 startups from 10 TBIs across the country submitted their applications for the accelerator program. These TBIs, primarily university based, were:
- iDEYA — Mindanao State University
- University of Mindanao
- Holy Angel University
- CDO Bites
- QBO Philippines
- St. Louie University
- Technological Insititute of the Philippines
- University of Cordillera
- University of Southeastern Philippines
- University of the Philippines Los Baños
In order to determine the readiness for acceleration and growth, each startup was asked to do a 5-minute pitch followed by a 15-minute interview by the Launchgarage team. Startup selection was based on the presence of one or more of the following parameters:
- A dedicated founding team
- A working product
- A tested product-market fit
- Revenue & Traction
- Angel/Seed Funding (if any)
- Wow Factor
From the participating TBIs, 10 startups were selected and placed through a higher acceleration curriculum, and exposed to the Launchgarage network of mentors, investors, and partners:
An automated pest control robot from the St. Louie University in Baguio. (Agritech, Robotics)
An agricultural focused tissue culture startup from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in Laguna. (Agritech, Biotech)
A bio-control based disease prevention solution from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in Laguna. (Agritech, Biotech)
A mobile food pathogen detection device from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in Laguna. (Foodtech, Biotech)
An organic spray coating to preserve fruit freshness and prolong shelf life from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños in Laguna. (Agritech, Biotech, Foodtech)
A school learning management SAAS solution from the University of Mindanao (Edtech)
Virtual classroom experience software from CDO Bites (Edtech)
Hyperlocal geo-tagging solution from the University of South Eastern Philippines (Logistics)
A trucking fleet management SAAS for logistics SMEs from the University of South Eastern Philippines (Logistics)
A delivery management SAAS suite for e-commerce merchants and riders from QBO Philippines (Logistics)
Program Start: Aug 3, 2020 Program End: October 31, 2020
Week 1 (August 3 -8)
- Business Model Canvas
- Value Proposition
- Product Development
- Market Analysis and Competitive Landscape
Week 2 (August 10–15)
- 1st Pitching Session
- Operational Framework
- Financial Analysis and Fund-Raising
- Marketing and Sales Plan
- Founding Team
- Submission of assessment forms
The first two weeks were crucial to getting a better understanding of each startup. With the help of the Launchgarage Mentor Network, each startup was able to evaluate, validate, and refine their respective operational strategies and business models.
Week 3 (August 17–22)
Advisory Sessions with Jay Fajardo and Jojo Flores: After incorporating what each startup learned during the first two weeks, a second pitch review was conducted with Launchgarage to track their progress and to provide additional guidance moving forward.
B2B Sales by Roger Do, AutoPolitic: Roger is a seasoned data-based sales professional. He shared his best practices for sales and helped craft each startup’s elevator pitches and one-liners. He also shared a suite of sales tools and templates that would equip the startups in the implementation and execution of their sales plans.
Week 4–8 (August 24- September 25)
Customer Engagement by Aakanksha Gupta, MoEngage: Aakanksha briefed the cohort on customer engagement best practices. She also provided complimentary access to the MoEngage Tool that allows startups to progressively profile their users, analyze trends, and deliver a seamless engagement experience across channels such as mobile and web push, email, SMS, and Whatsapp/LINE/Viber.
Advisory Session on Web Services by Jay Cabayan, Amazon Web Services: Each startup of the cohort received US$10,000 of AWS credits to set up their respective cloud-computing resources. One-on-one consultations with Jay helped each tech team set up their respective cloud computing environments to support each startup’s product development. Jay also trained the founders on the fundamentals of building on top of Amazon Web Services.
A crash course on Digital Marketing by Iggy Javellana, Medifi: With over two decades of digital marketing experience, Iggy is the go-to digital marketing expert. He shared his insights on the importance of digital marketing and online customer behavior. Together with the founders in the cohort, he also deconstructed some of the most successful digital marketing campaigns in the Philippines.
Back-Office & Business Process by Rey Macrohon, Full Suite PH: Rey is Startup PH Facebook Group most recommended expert on setting up businesses and managing back-office processes. The cohort was able to go into a deep dive discussion on the requirements and steps needed to set up a company in the Philippines.
Startup Legal Fundamentals by Atty. Edsel Tupaz of Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra Law: The management of legal matters has always been a daunting task for startups. With the help and expertise of Atty. Edsel, each startup was given a rundown of startup legal fundamentals. Also discussed during the session we’re fundraising, compliance, and a business roadmap for setting up operations in the Philippines.
Other topics discussed over the program conducted by the program lead, Abe Lozada: Corporate Strategy, Debt and Financing Options, Marketing Strategy, Financial Planning and Analysis, Product Development Strategy, People Management and Talent Sourcing, Partnership Introductions, Pitch Review Sessions
Supercollider for Agritech and Foodtech Startups of the Cohort
A deal-flow session was conducted with TAO Corporation and their founder and CEO, Mr. Julio D. Sy Jr. The company is one of the Top 100 Corporations in the Philippines with income derived from investments in the following core businesses: Health & Wellness, Distribution and Marketing, Resources and Financial Services. Each startup was given an opportunity to pitch their ideas through a 5–minute pitch and a 15-minute Q&A with the panel of investors.
Wrapping Up the Accelerator Program
The program concluded with a final one-on-one session with each startup to discuss their roadmap and direction moving forward. Each startup became enrolled in our Accelerator Alumni Network, designed to provide continued support and guidance even after the end of the program, including access to support from the Launchgarage Team, our Mentor Network, and Investor Network. The Accelrator Alumni Network also promotes and helps facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration between each startup.
A key outcome of the program is the successful introduction of one of the Agritech startups to a strategic investor, whose investment in the venture is in its final stages of due diligence and will complete before the end of this month.
With the success of the pilot accelerator program, Launchgarage and DOST-PCIEERD are in discussion to formalize the accelerator program as a standard offering to the Technology Business Incubators.
If you are a startup under DOST-PCIEERD’s Technology Business Incubators and are interested in participating in the upcoming cohorts, get in touch with us through lance[at]launchgarage.com or inform your TBI managers about your interest to join the program.