QBO Innovation Hub, the Philippines’ leading startup incubator, hosted the Philippine round of the 2021 She Loves Tech Global Competition that was held just last quarter. The global startup competition is the world’s largest startup competition for women and technology, with 50 locations worldwide spanning across six continents. It is a fully integrated program aimed at creating, championing, and scaling technologies by and for women.
“QBO’s mission is to foster Filipino startups that will change the world,” said Katrina Chan, Executive Director of IdeaSpace Foundation and QBO Innovation Hub, and one of the panelists for competition. “This is why we do what we do, why we push for the growth and development of our community and startups through our programs and initiatives, and this is why we continue to partner with She Loves Tech and host the local leg of the competition.”
“QBO’s values align with our goal to seek out and accelerate the best entrepreneurs and technology for transformative impact, which is why they make the perfect partner for the Philippine round,” shared Rhea See, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of She Loves Tech. See, a Filipino herself, expressed her excitement for the Philippine leg. “When we started She Loves Tech way back in 2015, I always knew I wanted to take this program to the Philippines. Now, after three years of running this program alongside QBO, it’s safe to say that the startups just keep getting better each year.”
“The Filipino female entrepreneurs we’ve been working with over the course of this program are the future, the drivers of this country’s economic progress, and we truly appreciate our long-term partnership with QBO for making She Loves Tech Philippines what it is today,” said Virginia Tan, Founding Partner of Teja and Co-Founder of She Loves Tech.
Running on its third year as the host of the Philippine round, the She Loves Tech competition is just one of the multiple efforts and initiatives that QBO Innovation Hub has been rolling out in its five years of operation. In their commitment to fostering growth in the local startup ecosystem and helping women-led startups succeed, QBO remains consistent in empowering their community of female founders, creating support programs such as their Startup Pinay initiative, offering mentoring sessions, and giving startups the push they need to turn their ideas into a tangible reality.
Nine female-led startups from across the country participated in the Philippine round. Airship Logistics, Bixie, Brooky Technologies, Oh My Genie!, Panublix, Parlon, Peraflo, Pieza, and RaceYa competed for the chance to represent the Philippines and make their pitch at the She Loves Tech Global Finals. These female-led startups made the case for their companies in a five-minute pitch followed by another five minutes for a live Q&A with the panelists, offering a wide array of tech solutions and products that range from finance to fitness to real estate, each pitch only proved See’s point further.
“Every year is an exciting mix of new faces of female entrepreneurs,” said Chan. “It is with great pride to have our Startup Pinay participants representing the best of the best in terms of entrepreneurship and potential that the Philippines has to offer.”
At the end of the round, She Loves Tech newcomer Parlon emerged victorious. Posing a solution to a very relatable problem, not only in the Philippines but across the region, Parlon is a technology platform specially designed to revolutionize the beauty and wellness services industry through Software-as-a-Service Solutions and a marketplace where people can discover, book, and buy salon and wellness services. Parlon Founder and CEO Kristine Claire Ongcangco and her team got the chance to make their big pitch at the She Loves Tech Global Stage last November.
In addition, the top four startups were recognized for their efforts and big ideas. Along with Parlon, financial platform and community for women Bixie, tech-style platform and design marketplace Panublix, and ready-to-use software solution for courier companies Airship Logistics were given priority access to the She Loves Tech fund and program, as well as full access to the 2021 She Loves Tech conference.
Ultimately, the She Loves Tech Global Competition is bigger than the prizes and prestige.
“What is most important is the kind of impact these startups want to make in the country and across the globe,” said Chan, who shared similar sentiments with the rest of the panel. More than the prizes, the idea is to make these initiatives long-lasting and giving startups the right level of support to be successful. “Moreover, it is crucial to realize that it is not only about female founders, but also their end-consumers and how these women-led ventures are serving them.”
“Women are building companies very differently from men. More often than not, the investing and venture capital industry doesn’t reward it in the same way,” said Tan during her keynote speech. “People invest in what they like and having more female investors and more women in the ecosystem in general, can reflect on what we think is more valuable, what is more interesting to society. We want the world to benefit from what these female-led companies are building.”
It’s initiatives like these, created by organizations like She Loves Tech and QBO Innovation Hub that open opportunities for women in tech and entrepreneurship, as well as build the case for the female economy. And for QBO, their doors are always open to those looking to make their first steps into the startup space. Join their community of founders, investors, and allies, to learn more about how one can contribute to the growing Philippine ecosystem.
Startup Pinay is a program of QBO Innovation Hub in partnership with Investing in Women to connect current and future women founders with opportunities—from mentorship to funding—in the startup ecosystem. To learn more, visit qbo.com.ph/startup-pinay.