January 21, 2021 — Velocity, a regional venture incubation program by Globe-backed 917Ventures is open to anyone who has a problem to solve and would like the help of an incubator to build it and make it successful, Vince Yamat, Managing Director at 917Ventures told BitPinas in an interview. The invitation extends to blockchain and crypto startups and entrepreneurs across the Philippines, not just Manila.
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Velocity by 917Ventures, the largest corporate incubator in the Philippines, will be fully supported and backed by Globe and its parent firm, Ayala Corporation. 917Ventures is the parent company of Mynt, which operates GCash, one of the most popular crypto on/off ramps today. That Globe will back the incubated businesses offers an unfair advantage, the press release emphasized. “By joining the program, venture builders will have access to Globe’s resources including legal, finance, marketing and human resources.” Effectively if blockchain teams want to pitch, they could get direct access to that experience and that network.
Solving problems come first
While Velocity said the areas of interest for the program are in e-commerce, fintech, health-tech and adtech verticals, Vince said as long as the applicants to the program identifies a problem they want to solve, it won’t matter what technology the solution will use, blockchain or otherwise. “The idea of solving a huge problem comes first,” he emphasized.
If an applicant has already identified a problem, they can then decide on how to address it by way of a technology solution.
On being fully online
Velocity will be a fully online program that will last for three months. The first month will be spent in helping applicants build a minimum viable product. The next two will focus on taking their solutions to the market and ultimately refining their value proposition.
“If the pandemic teaches us anything, it’s that we can actually start companies and make business deals purely online, without having to meet,” Vince said, noting that Velocity will hold regular meetings, memberships, updates, virtually all discussions through online communication tools. The participating teams may choose to use the incubator’s office in BGC if they need to, but this certainly isn’t a requirement.
When asked what he thinks are nagging problems in the online payments space that needs solving, he pointed at cash-ins, which refers to transferring money one physically holds to an e-wallet app or bank account. “There are a lot of cash-in methods, but we want it to be seamless because not everyone has a bank account. While there are many options like pawnshops, ideally, we want it at the sari-sari store or peer-to-peer level,” Vince remarked, highlighting that he, too, acts as the cash-in center in his household.
All entrepreneurs are invited wherever they are
As a major incubator in the Philippines, Velocity offers the opportunity for any aspiring entrepreneur to build products that will solve problems for Filipinos spread throughout the country thanks to the networks of Globe and Ayala behind the program. Still, despite the program being purely online, there may be potential entrepreneurs who might think such initiatives are Manila-centric, intended to find solutions only to the problems of the capital and other metro cities. BitPinas has strong cryptocurrency and fintech audiences in regions such as Cebu and Davao, enthusiasts and builders alike, demonstrating that the entrepreneurial mindset is alive in every region.
Vince said entrepreneurs outside Manila could bring a lot and offer solutions to the problems around payments, last mile remittances and even lending. “Velocity is open to anyone. I believe there are different pain points when it comes to financial services and each region has a different problem,” he remarked, citing issues relating to credit or access to commodities. These could be nagging problems the entrepreneur often experiences on a daily basis. For Vince, that’s a really good problem to solve.
Successful applicants will be provided funding of up to $50,000 to help in developing a minimum viable product. An additional $2,000,000 million in seed funding could be raised upon the completion of the program.
The 1st batch of successful applicants to the program will be announced on January 22, 2021. The program launch for the 1st Batch will begin on February 22, 2021. The application deadline for the 2nd batch will be on the same day. Find more information, including the program structure and time of Velocity by 917Ventures here.
This article is published on BitPinas: Globe’s Velocity Incubator Wants All Filipino Entrepreneurs From All Regions