Exploring the startup scene in Manila with Startuptravels

Meeting likeminded people

Startuptravels talked to Kacper, Jonver and Jimson, about their Startuptravels meetup in Manila to find out what the startup scene in Manila is like and what it means to be a Startuptravels ambassador.

Kacper is from Poland has traveled to 49 countries, and have since January traveled about in South East Asia to find the best place to settle down. He has a past in the banking sector in Oman. Jonver is a digital marketing professional in Manila and a brand ambassador for Hootsuite. Finally, Jimson is Startuptravels great ambassador – a software engineer in Manila, having worked with startups and corporate IT consultancy firms and are right now starting a new start-up adventure with expected launch in the Q2 2016.

What follows here is a chat with the three aspiring entrepreneurs!

What is your impression of the Philippine startup environment compared to your own?
The startup scene is still quite small here. However, I am impressed by the development of it – it is gaining pace! I recently had an opportunity to visit StartUp Grind Manila event with was full of motivated people interested in entrepreneurship.

Do you agree, Jonver and Jimson?
Yes, the start-up scene here in the Philippines is still developing. There are a few start-up communities already, but I honestly think that it needs more. Most of the entrepreneurs that are involved in those communities are the ones who actively sought for entrepreneurial connections. As far as I know, the Philippine startup ecosystem is fairly young, and along with its neighbors Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, Southeast Asia is relatively untapped but is a very promising region for technology startups. Innovation is picking up in the Philippines, driven by startups offering digital products servicing both domestic and overseas clients. There have been startups in the country for well over a decade, yet the ecosystem got a significant boost starting in 2012, when institutional funds and local angel networks emerged. This means that the opportunities for startups and for investors are endless. The people who do run their startup from here are very driven and passionate about their business, which is great!


How does Startuptravels fit in to the small but growing startup scene?
Jonver: It fits right in! Social media is big in the entrepreprenruial sphere in the Philippines. We claim that Manila is a social media capital, and Startuptravels is one of those I hope to be big soon. We love to have people from other countries go here and network with us and Startuptravels is great for that!

Kacper: I agree with this. It’s ability to facilitate connections between people specifically interested in entrepreneurship is crucial. How would I have managed to meet with Jonver and Jimson without it? Earlier I used my networks, LinkedIn and few other websites to reach to entrepreneurs. It’s been much more time consuming and difficult to find relevant people to meet! Startuptravels does something that I love – meeting entrepreneurs when traveling, even at remote and less developed entrepreneurial scenes as Manila.

Startuptravels meetup Manila Philippines

So how has the meetings been so far, Kacper?
So far I have met 3 Filipino nationals on 2 separate occasions – Jonver, Jimson and Beverly. Conversation with each of them have helped me to broaden my perspective on the local startup scene. I was really surprised by how much I got from these meetings, and I have arranged to meet with all of them again. We already made some initial plans to go no enjoy some local food delicacies. I can’t wait for this to happen. And why? I just feel that we all got along well and it’ll be worth it to everyone to hang out more.

Through these three meetings I’ve met new friends and at the same time got extensive knowledge of the local business landscape. Truly amazing!

Glad to hear about this, how about you, Jonver and Jimson?
Jonver: We’ll of course I met with Kacper, from Poland, which was great! Jimson had already had a few drinks with him before I came, and this is definitely not the last time I meet somewhere in my own country traveling here – great experience and I am honored to have the opportunity to tell Kacper some more about our startup scene. We all knew that it was not enough to build our relationship as entrepreneurs with just one meeting, so I am looking forward to meet again!

Jimson: It surely was a great meetings! I have also met a few entrepreneurs from Belgium, Hong Kong and Vietnam on top of this. All of these meetings have been an amazing experience. Meeting these people from different parts of the world gave me a better idea of how entrepreneurship fits in and creates value in different startup scenes. We were also able to exchange stories and anecdotes about our individual experiences from our businesses and the lessons we learned. Of course, Startuptravels is not just about face-to-face meetings, as I have also connected and met up with a few entrepreneurs from Australia and New Zealand online. I could say that the experience were amazing as well minus the physical aspect of the meeting.


Great! So why would you advice the readers to use Startuptravels?
Kacper: It is simply the best way for me to meet great entrepreneurs all around the world when traveling, in a less official setting. In the future I will keep using Startuptravels to get new friends, but also in order to find potential investors and co-founders as well.

Jonver: I found about Startuptravels from a Moo newsletter on co-working spaces. What drew me to sign up is the possibility of making my travels more fruitful and the opportunity of meeting great people to talk about business even on a leisure trip. I believe that I’ll learn more in a funny way, so can’t wait to use it some more!
Actually Moo has offered all Startuptravels users 20% off here. How about you, Jimson?
What urged me to sign up for Startuptravels in the first place is the idea of making my trips more productive, even on a leisure trip. After using it for a few months, I found out that Startuptravels is more than that. It is a community of entrepreneurs that puts a premium on lasting relationships and connections that really matter. I thought at first that after a meeting that would be it. But since this is a community, I saw that the entrepreneurs are really engaged. The people I have met are still communicating and consulting with me for a few exchange of business ideas. So I see no reason why not to start engaging.


What is it like being a Startuptravels ambassador?
As an ambassador for Startuptravels, I get to meet with entrepreneurs from all walks of life here in the Philippines and abroad. I usually share to them how Startuptravels can enable their start-ups to expand its reach and network while adding quality and building lasting relationships with others. The ambassador work is a humbling yet ab inspiring experience. I can proudly say that much of my growth as an entrepreneur is because of my involvement as a Startuptravels ambassador. The start-up scene here in the Philippines is young and developing so it takes more effort to build lasting connections with other entrepreneurs. Still, I would recommend others to become an ambassador because the cofounders themselves, even with their busy schedules, are very hands on when it comes to mentoring the ambassadors. Furthermore, the other ambassadors are very passionate and approachable too so it is not as scary as one would thinkFeel free to reach out to me on Startuptravels to hear more about what it’s like being an ambassador, or also if you just want to chat.

Startuptravels is a great platform for every entrepreneur out there who would like to build their network but don’t know where to start. For early entrepreneurs, like me, it is important to know who to connect with and you can meet so many great people through Startuptravels. I was able to meet with a few people through meetups and online meetings who gave solid advices about the things that I should analyze before I move on to the next phase of my startup. For traveling entrepreneurs and expatriates, platforms like Startuptravels will give them a general overview of the startup scene in the area that they are travelling to, and can have a deeper knowledge of the same once they meet up with local entrepreneurs.


Thanks to Kacper, Jonver and Jimson for the very inspirational information about their Startuptravels meetup in Manila. What is left is for you is to get on Startuptravels and start creating your own global network!

Written by  with the help of Kacper, Jonver and Jimson.


  1. Great to see you had a good time guys. Always a pleasure to see some value creation :-) Interesting read about Manila as well.

    • Hi Anders! Connecting and having a good time is easy because of Startuptravels! We definitely had a great meeting there. We do not have a qualifying body or organizations that keep track of the achievements of present start-ups here in the Philippines but I do know that these five tech startups are the ones that make buzz in the Philippine start-up scene:

      Kalibrr – (Job Match with Kalibrr’s Online Assessment), job application assessment platform making use of machine learning for its algorithms

      ZAP – (Get 5% to 20% Cash Back from your favorite establishments in the metro!) , loyalty rewards program

      Salarium – Cloud based payroll platform created by a consulting agency and developed based on the needs of its clients. To be expanded soon with ‘co-op purchasing’ platform for SMEs.

      NDFY – Discover Fresh Indie Filipino Music – online music streaming platform for indie artist discovery, geared at providing stores and restaurants alternative, local and legal music options beyond anything controlled and manipulated by industry labels

      Insync – Google Drive sync & backup with multiple account support; Dropbox similar cloud sync solution with Google Docs integration

  2. What are the top 5 startups in Manila at the moment?


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