Tech Discovery: Silicon Valley, Philippine start-ups

Home to the world’s tech giants, a bustling hub of startups, billions of dollars in investor capital, and everything in between.

This is where it all began: 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, California, known to be the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

In 1938, Hewlett Packard began developing its first product right over there, in that garage.

Fast forward to 2017: where is Silicon Valley now, and where is it headed?

According to the Director of Technology Management at Stanford University, investors in Silicon Valley have shifted their attention to entrepreneurs outside of the Valley, particularly southeast Asia.

This investor’s interest in Southeast Asia, Richard Dasher adds, puts the Philippines in an opportune position.

“I’ve visited the Philippines a couple of times, what you see is an economy that is moving from developing to developed,” says Dasher, a Stanford University professor/director of technology management. “And so there are a lot of everyday needs that the entrepreneurs are facing, and I think that there’s a kind of global awareness.”

Case in point: Zipmatch.com, a startup born in the Philippines that primarily caters to the Philippine market, but with a service that has the potential to cater to the global market as well.

Zipmatch.com takes various real estate listings and puts it all on one online forum, creating a real estate marketplace for buyers, sellers, investors and other interested parties.

Zipmatch.com became the first Philippine startup accepted to Google’s Acclerator program.

“One of the reasons why they chose us… we did this 360-degree virtual reality or tours,” said co-founder Chow Paredes. “So that was kind of pushing the envelope, as to really innovating how the buying process or the renting process of a home is.”

Since Zipmatch.com’s acceptance to Google Launchpad, two more startups from the Philippines have been accepted into the prestigious Acclerator program: Bloom Solutions and Honesty Apps.

Filipino-American Garrett Gee knows just what a huge investment in a small company can do.

His startup, Scan, sold to Snapchat for $54 million in 2014.

But before the sale that changed his life, came an investment from Google.

“It’s cool to think back to what life was like during that time. I played soccer for my university, and one of the first things I did was go back to soccer practice and on the field, getting ready for practice to start and one of my buddies is like, ‘hey man you seem kind of out of it, what’s going on?’ And I hadn’t told anyone except for my wife. My parents didn’t know, my siblings didn’t know. And I just kind of blurted it out to him like, hey sorry man I’m kind of out of it…google just gave me 1.7 million dollars,” Gee said.

It has become the new Cinderella story, a tech giant investing in a small startup, taking the business to new heights, and disrupting existing markets.

We’ll get to know more of these stories and break down the tech scene every week here on Tech Discovery with Ginger Conejero.

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