Globe's diversified portfolio companies enable robust digital ecosystem

Published September 3, 2021, 8:16 AM

by MB Technews

Beyond serving the communications and connectivity requirements of its 86 million mobile and broadband customers, Globe with its high-growth portfolio companies has transformed into a digital solutions group enabling a robust digital ecosystem for the Filipino.

While telecommunications is the core of its business, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu said the company had expanded its services to include fintech, healthtech, adtech, and e-commerce, among others.

“Globe has moved beyond telco. Although telco remains to be our core business, we continue to build businesses that leverage our reach as a telco, our capital, and everything else that we do,” Cu said.

As part of its efforts to unlock value beyond telco, Globe, through its wholly-owned corporate venture builder 917Ventures, currently scales and accelerates eight companies and incubates six seed ventures plus three angel ventures.

917Ventures’ portfolio includes the likes of e-wallet popular brand GCash, loyalty and e-commerce solutions provider RUSH, online grocery shopping platform PureGo, digital and mobile marketing solutions firm AdSpark, and telehealth service platforms KonsultaMD and HealthNow.

GCash processes around 10 million transactions daily with 46 million registered users and over 2.5 million merchants as of end-July as more Filipinos turn to cashless options.

Award-winning AdSpark has doubled its revenue growth in the first half of the year by launching 2,300 digital marketing campaigns and solutions for businesses across that country that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the global health crisis, KonsultaMD and HealthNow reported significant accomplishments. Medical consultations through the KonsultaMD app skyrocketed to 256% for the first half of the year versus 2020, while HealthNow is leading the vaccine rollout for the Ayala Group of Companies and various partners.

Globe is also scaling up subsidiaries that provide information technology (IT) solutions and services. Its multi-payment platform Electronic Commerce Payments Inc. (ECPay) is targeting to onboard 70,000 general trade retailers by the end of the year from the current 22,000. At the same time, technology arm Yondu continues to sustain its momentum after turning in a banner year in 2020.

Likewise, from a mere $2.4 million in 2012, Globe’s corporate venture capital arm Kickstart Ventures now has $240 million aggregate assets under management, including the $180 million Ayala Corporation Technology Innovation Venture (ACTIVE) Fund which focuses on fintech, e-commerce, AI, proptech, and energy. Kickstart Ventures is the largest VC fund in the country today.

One of Kickstart’s investments, Dialpad, recently reached unicorn status while two others – Wattpad and Coins.ph already exited. Its recent investments include edamama, Nextpay, Kumu, Intelligent Video Solutions and Transcelestial.

“Through 917Ventures and Kickstart, Globe is able to extend its reach and plant even more seeds for growth in the future. 917Ventures is constantly on the lookout for businesses using technology to scale fast while responding to the country’s many unmet needs. We ideate internally and through our venture builder program called Velocity,” Cu said.

Even as the contributions of these new businesses are not yet equal to Globe’s overall core business, Cu believes they will provide great value to Globe in the near future.

“This value has yet to be reflected in our share price today, but we believe the progress of companies such as Mynt will eventually increase the value of our business,” he said.

Cu took a page from Indonesia’s Emtek, a traditional legacy media business that diversified into the digital space. Despite deriving the majority of its revenues from traditional media, Emtek is valued like a tech stock and is now one of the top companies in Indonesia in terms of market capitalization.

“We envision something similar for Globe where we leverage our existing assets, expertise, and network of partners to go beyond telco to become a platform for building a robust digital ecosystem,” Cu added.

Telcos worldwide are now offering new products and services to grow revenues, pivoting away from just connectivity to boost capabilities to deliver for the future.

 
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