Gobi-Core appointed as a co-investment partner for Philippine government’s Startup Venture Fund

  • The fund currently has an allocation of US$10mil
  • Gobi-Core, SVF to co-invest in high potential startups

(L-R) assistant director DTI-Competitiveness Bureau and SVF Investment Committee Alternate Member, Jo-Dann Darong; director DTI-Competitiveness Bureau, Lilian Salonga; general manager at the NDC and SVF Investment Committee chairman, Antonilo Mauricio; Core Capital managing partner, Jason Gaisano; Core Capital founding partner, Carlo Chen-Delantar; and assistant general manager at the NDC, Special Projects Group and SVF Investment committee member, Saturnino H. Mejia.

The Gobi-Core Philippine Fund (Gobi-Core) has been officially accredited, this month, as a Co-Investment Partner (CIP) of the Philippine government’s Startup Venture Fund (SVF), one of the first since the fund’s inception in 2021. 

In a statement, the fund said, as per the Innovative Startup Act, the SVF shall be used to match investments by selected investors in startups of varying stages based in the Philippines. 

It said the fund, a joint effort by the Department of Trade and Industry and National Development Company currently has an allocation of US$10 million (RM44.2 million). 

It added that through this role, Gobi-Core, a joint-venture partnership co-managed by Manila-based venture capital firm Core Capital and Pan-Asian Gobi Partners, will be able to co-invest with the SVF in Philippine-based high-potential startups. 

Additionally, it will bridge these investees to the rest of the region via the firm’s 15 countries ASEAN presence and track record of performance. 

On the selection, Core Capital managing partner, Jason Gaisano said, “We are incredibly grateful for this recognition in being appointed as the co-investment partner to the government’s SVF initiative.”

“We strongly believe in the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in the tech ecosystem and with this endeavor we emphasise both locally and internationally that the Philippines is bound for an inflection point,” he added.  

“From our success in the past four years in creating opportunities, jobs, and empowering brilliant founders, we are excited about what's to come and are assured that by working together, we can bring our country's talented entrepreneurs to new heights,” Gaisano said.

Since its establishment in 2018, Core Capital has already invested in startups which have now become local household names such as Tier One – a premier esports and entertainment brand which ranked first on LinkedIn’s Top PH Startups list last year and Kumu, the Philippines’ largest social entertainment app and one of the country’s top tech companies. 

It said these examples join the ranks of other startups that have a strong regional presence or are set for regional expansion, a signature quality in its portfolio.

The firm added that it has been active in documenting and developing the Philippine tech ecosystem outside of its investing too, publishing the Philippine Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 and the State of Talent in Tech Report 2022. 

Additionally, it sits on the startup grant investment committee for the Department of Information and Communications Technology and functions as the yearly organiser for the Alibaba Netpreneur and e-Founders Programme in the country which has trained over 200 entrepreneurs nationwide for the past three years.

In line with the country’s growing inclination to environmental and social sustainability, Gobi Core said it is staying ahead of the curve by prioritising Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives through its investments, with over half of its existing portfolios being founded or led by women.

It said one such example is the pioneer and largest Philippine-based cloud kitchen company CloudEats, founded by current chief executive officer, Kimberly Yao, to create next-generation digital brands and proprietary cloud kitchen technology. 

It added that as of December 2022, having recently secured a Series A extension round of US$7 million (RM29.8 million), the company has raised US$14 million and has served over five million dishes since its launch in 2019, becoming one of the region’s leading cloud kitchen players. 

[RM1 = US$0.225]

As a proven history of successful investments remains the leading requirement for the SVF’s CIP accreditation, Gobi-Core’s distinctly strong track record of investing in highly-successful talents is what has earned the firm this role.

The Philippines’ National Development Company general manager and SVF Investment Committee chairman, Antonilo Mauricio said the firm expects Gobi-Core to leverage on its international network to fast-track technology transfer and provide much-needed capital to Philippine startups. 

“The startup economy in the Philippines needs the kind of guidance and expertise that Gobi-Core can provide,” he added.

“As a pioneer CIP of the SVF, we are hopeful that Gobi-Core can be the key to producing the next round of true unicorns from the country,” Antonilo said.

In terms of responsibilities, Gobi-Core said, all investment partners shall provide mentorship, managerial oversight, business networks or other support necessary for capacity building and to ensure that the beneficiary startups are given the needed resources to achieve their goals. 

It added that startups may be enrolled in DTI’s current accelerator or incubator program to assist them further.


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