Finding space in the Philippines to shape the future of fintech
The startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia is much younger than in countries such as the US, and due to the heterogeneous nature of the region, coworking spaces have been a natural home for startups. They act as touchpoints for startups and investors and their collaborative nature establish a support system allowing them to reach their full potential. The Philippines in particular has been noted as the place to test and laun`ch new startups, particularly those in the fintech industry.
A country that has a large remittance ecosystem coupled with a majority population that remains unbanked, there is plenty of opportunity for fintech startups to bridge the gaps. In fact, a 2020 study by PWC reports 12% of the startup ecosystem in Manila is made up of fintech companies. Other than the wealth of opportunities, Manila is also noted as one of the friendliest cities for fintech startups due to a young, tech-savvy population fluent in English and a well-established outsourcing industry. This has helped encourage investors and companies to base their operations in the city.
As the number of fintech startups grows, so do the numbers of coworking spaces, accelerators, and incubators dedicated to helping these companies grow. Below we go over six of the top coworking spaces in Manila perfect for fintech companies.
QBO Innovation Hub
Launched in 2016 by the Department of Trade and Industry, IdeaSpace Foundation, the Department of Science and Technology, and J.P. Morgan, QBO Innovation Hub is regarded as the first public-private partnership. It creates a homebase for fintech startups to develop, grow, and scale their businesses. QBO links companies with mentors and investors and offers programs that cover incubation, consultation, investors pitch, and specialised workshops.
Location: DTI International Building, Makati City
Created for pre-seed and early stage startups, Cerebro Labs is a tech-business incubator and accelerator. The team behind this space are a Silicon Valley trained team of mentors who are engaged in energy, environment, law, legislation, urban planning, finance, engineering, and government affairs. They seek out and invest in promising tech-based startups, whether local and foreign, who then undergo training and mentoring sessions to help them succeed.
Location: Universal Re Building, Makati City
A program under the LETS GO Foundation, Startup Village launched in 2017 as an incubator-accelerator. Run by a team of educators, practitioners, startup founders, and business gurus, this coworking space aids startups through a series of processes. They have a program called The Gift, which comprises a 14-week, once-a-week training program made up of case studies, videos, lectures, and games to help startups bring out and develop their ideas to the fullest.
Location: Alphaland Makati Place, Makati City
The coworking arm of the global flexible workspace operator, IWG, Spaces is an Amsterdam-born coworking space that spans 2 penthouse floors in the center Bonifacio Global City, a thriving hub for innovation. The designer offices and floor-to-ceiling windows paired with super-fast WiFi create the perfect environment for fintech companies to develop their ideas. Spaces also encourages collaboration amongst their members by regularly hosting informative and social events that can lead to conducive partnerships.
Location: World Plaza, Bonifacio Global City
Opened in late 2019, Dragon’s Nest is a coworking technology hub and the home of Streetpark Productions Inc., the producer of the country’s business reality TV show The Final Pitch. In partnership with corporate and venture partners, the aim of Dragon’s Nest is to build, launch, and scale technology startups who can address the challenges and opportunities present in the region.
Location: Calle Industria, Quezon City
The first venture studio of its kind, Ignition Venture Studio is your one-stop shop for business solutions. Run by a group of experts in law, digital marketing, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, private equity, and angel investing, they provide assistance to tech startups building their businesses in the Philippines. Part of their services also include business regulatory compliance and accounting/bookkeeping assistance.
Location: Marajo Tower, Bonifacio Global City
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