In 1521, Portugese explorer named Ferdinand Magellan and his men ventured the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean aboard their ships in search for the ‘Spice Island’ but had set foot for the first time in the archipelago. They were fascinated by the beauty and resources inhabiting the land. And this had led to a colonization, and revolution, and the birth of a nation.
In 2014, the largest group of investors, venture capitalists, startup founders and technopreneurs from the Silicon Valley has landed in the Philippine soil. They’re the ‘geeks’. And they are ready to survey the country’s startup ecosystem and look for possible opportunities in one of the emerging technology hubs in the region- the city of Manila.
They’re the ‘Geeks on a Plane’. And more than 30 ‘geeks’ of the tour are in Manila from July 23 to 26 with the country’s mobile leader Smart Communications, Inc. as the host, together with technology incubator and accelerator IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc., Voyager Innovations, Inc., the Smart Developer Network and the Smart Bro.
President and Co-Founder of IdeaSpace Earl Martin Valencia, Stephen Misa and Dindo Marzan of Smart subsidiary Voyager Innovations are among the Filipino ‘geeks’ in the regional tour.
“We’re very proud to host the very first ‘Geeks on a Plane’ contingent to land in Philippine soil. That the Philippines became one of the stops for this year’s GOAP trip to Southeast Asia is a testament to the vast potential of local startups and the remarkable growth of the Philippine startup ecosystem.”
Earl Martin Valencia, President and Co-Founder of IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc.
The event was also supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program.
During their three-day visit, the participants are able to gain and share insights about the local market through a Tech Summit organized by the Asian Institute of Management and supported by IdeaSpace. Topics discussed in the summit included observations about Southeast Asia and the Emerging trends in the Philippines and the best practices on innovation ecosystems in Silicon Valley. They also visited selected companies which gave homegrown startups a chance to network and gain valuable insights from the ‘geeks’.
Some of the participants are also present in the Startup Grind event on July 25 and the second Manila staging of AngelHack, the world’s largest hackathon event on July 26.
The ‘Geeks on a Plane’ tour was conceptualized in Mountain View and is led by 500 Startups. The tour is currently raising $100 million (Php 4.3 billion) for its third flagship fund to possibly invest in startups around the world, including the Philippines. 500 Startups, recently cited by The Wall Street Journal as the most active venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, has already invested in Technology startups in the region including the Philippines’ own ZipMatch, an online real-estate platform that aims to revolutionize the home-buying experience in the country.
“The Philippines is a country full of smart and creative people- it’s a perfect place for entrepreneurship to flourish and grow. 500 Startups is psyched to be here in Manila and we aim to be a frequent visitor to the Philippines”
David McClure, Founding Partner at 500 Startups.
Prior to landing in the Philippines, the GOAP contingent earlier made quick stopovers in neighboring cities such as Singapore, Bangkok, Thailand and Jakarta, Indonesia.
IdeaSpace’s Valencia, Stephen Misa and Dindo Marzan of Smart subsidiary Voyager Innovations are among the Filipino ‘geeks’ in the regional tour.