Kickstart Ventures enjoins local startups to participate in the second installment of Singtel Innov8’s global call to create innovative solutions for real world business challenges. This follows the success and momentum of the initial Innov8 Connect program launched in January, which attracted over 120 submissions from startups across 22 countries.
“Through the second round of Innov8 Connect, Philippine startups are given another opportunity to realize their global growth aspirations. Kickstart, through Innov8 Connect, is opening doors for them to penetrate the global market as part of our mission to break down barriers and build bridges between the business community and the startup founders,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart, a wholly owned venture capital firm of Globe Telecom.
Kickstart is a founding member of Innov8 Sparks, the Singtel Group’s network of startup support and funding initiatives across Southeast Asia. It currently has 27 portfolio companies with various products and services encompassing SaaS (Software as a Service) for financial services; Healthcare; E-commerce and Online Marketplace, Social Impact; and Digital Lifestyle, several of which have already ventured to other countries.
Once selected in the second round of Innov8 Connect, the startups that offered the best solutions will be provided with up to US $75,000 to test and validate their business solutions as proof-of-concepts inside Singtel and Optus in Australia.
Successful solutions from promising startups may then lead to further commercialization opportunities within the Singtel Group which offers startups access to an extensive customer base that includes both enterprises and over 600 million mobile subscribers across Asia, Australia and Africa. These startups will also have the opportunity to seek funding from Singtel Innov8 and tap on its network of co-investors from Innov8 Sparks and partners across the globe.
Talking about the importance of the program, Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer at Singtel said: “Innov8 Connect started as a win-win platform to help startups develop viable business solutions while allowing the Singtel Group to stay at the cutting-edge of innovation through continuous experimentation. We hope to uncover more innovative answers for real emerging business challenges with start-ups in this latest installment of the programme.”
In the second round, 14 new business challenges have been identified by Singtel and its Australian arm, Optus, in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality solutions and artificial intelligence.
“We look forward to working together with more start-ups on the new set of business challenges from this second installment of Innov8 Connect. Through these real challenges that businesses face, we hope to spur greater innovation while identifying and supporting viable solutions that meet the Group’s needs,” said Edgar Hardless, CEO of Singtel Innov8.
Interested start-ups may submit their proposals through the Innov8 Connect portal www.innov8connect.com until October 31. The portal also contains detailed information on the 14 new business challenges. Selected start-ups will then be invited to pitch to a panel of management representatives from the Singtel Group.
As the venture arm of the Singtel Group, Singtel Innov8’s mandate is to scout for and provide the Group with insights and early access to emerging technologies, as well as to nurture the innovation ecosystem in Southeast Asia. Innov8 Connect is part of Singtel Innov8’s initiatives to create greater awareness for Singtel’s innovation agenda and engagement with startup ecosystems.