Filinvest taps startups for digitalization

Published October 5, 2020, 7:00 AM

by James A. Loyola

The Filinvest Group of the Gotianun family has launched, an open innovation program to help its operating companies “reinvent” and digitally transform themselves through various startup engagements.

The program, launched through the group’ new corporate innovation and ventures arm, f(dev), will allow Filinvest companies to tap tech startups, emerging technologies and disruptive innovations externally across different markets and technology sectors to solve business challenges.

“The aim is to accelerate digital transformation through a broad range of collaborations with startups, including product development efforts, knowledge exchanges, licensing deals, strategic partnerships, and even potential investments,” Filinvest said.

In turn, these startups get to collaborate with the Group’s 60 operating companies spanning banking & financial services, real estate, hospitality and leisure, power and utilities, infrastructure, and technology.

“We believe that having an active engagement strategy with the digital startup ecosystem— both locally and globally —is important capability of large organizations moving forward,” said Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC) President and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap.

She added that, “As a large corporation, working with technology startups in an open innovation initiative help us become more nimble and better positioned to address the dynamic changes in the market.” 

The Filinvest group of companies is in the midst of its own transformation journey. Its current portfolio of businesses is investing more in digital infrastructure and green technologies.

It is also driving future growth by investing in and incubating new technology-driven ventures, led by its f(dev) unit.

“The Group is taking a fresh approach to ideation and exploring new ways of working. Our goal with is to unlock innovations for companies through different forms of engagements with tech startups— whether that’s through product collaborations, operating partnerships, venture funding, and strategic alliances, among others,” said Xavier Marzan, who leads f(dev).

He said f(dev) facilitates the sourcing, vetting, and engagement of these startups locally and globally, working closely with its network of startup accelerators, venture capital firms, and innovation platforms.

“Our immediate priority is to work with Series B & C startups in specific verticals but generally look at a broad range of startups on an ongoing basis,” Marzan added. He also indicated that f(dev) has vetted several hundreds of global and local tech startups from various sectors in the last two quarters alone despite the Community Quarantines implemented in the country.