DAVAO CITY – Four accelerating Upgrade Innolab alumni and incubatees showcased their innovations to an audience of potential investors, industry players, and entrepreneurs at the Davao Investment Conference 2023 on July 19, 2023, at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.
The artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled profit management platform for construction Artificial Intelligence Meets Human Intelligence (AIMHI), data intelligence platform GeoPik Technologies Inc. (GeoPik), bio-circular economy-focused social enterprise Waste4Good (W4G), a business development and marketing startup for local enterprises Buoyancies Accelerated Inc. (Buoyancies), pitched their ventures and networked with industry leaders in the Davao Startup Spotlight, a segment first introduced in the lineup of sessions in the Davao ICon.
In his opening speech, Upgrade Innolab president Richard Day shared how the startup ecosystem in Mindanao, particularly in Davao Region, is gradually catching up in the global startup scene.
He said Davao City has been recognized for its contributions to innovation and digitalization through the active collaborations of different stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.
He said this is evidenced by the thriving of the featured startups, some of which have received multiple investments on top of government grants.
“We are a startup community that has actively and purposefully started to put the key foundational pieces in place. The community is also aware that key stakeholders who are entrepreneurs are needed as leaders. The initiatives of these leaders are starting to receive support from feeder organizations like legal firms, higher educational institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists, and the government,” he said.
Ken Ngo, co-founder and managing partner of the early-stage venture capital fund Gobi-Core Fund, reinforced that the collaborations of startup enablers are the foundation of a robust startup ecosystem. He emphasized the role of different stakeholders in helping every venture to become successful.“I hope that regardless of which industry you are [in], whether you are in the business sector, academe, or startup founder, you have a role to play. You always have something to contribute to help others find more opportunities. It can be funding, ideas, advice, experience, time, talent, effort, whatever it is,” he said in his keynote speech.
“I can only hope that Davao City Chamber of Commerce Inc. (DCCCII), Davao ICon, and even Upgrade Innolab will prosper for many years to come to build our tech and startup ecosystem. We will always be here to bridge the funding gap within our mandate,” he added.
Ngo is an award-winning entrepreneur and was recognized as the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce (CCCI) for his work in the hospitality industry and real estate development.Davao ICon 2023 chair Nicole Hao Bian Ledesma was also present in the Davao Startup Spotlight.
The Davao ICon is a biennial event organized by the DCCCII that aims to “showcase the strengths and competitive advantages that Davao offers and why it is the ideal destination for both local and foreign investments putting forth opportunities here and abroad.”
This year, Davao ICon is pegged on the theme “Investments of the Future”, to spotlight the industries of Manufacturing, Agro Processing, Tourism, and Information and Communications Technology with property development, innovation, human capital build-up, and sustainability as its driving forces.
It gathered approximately 700 leaders, visionaries, and game-changers to explore the successful, in-demand, and emerging industries in the region that position Davao as a powerful investment hub for global pioneers and innovators.
The Davao Startup Spotlight was first introduced and included in this year’s Davao ICon’s lineup of activities as an opportunity for investors and industry leaders to learn about the rising innovations from Davao City, Davao Region, and Mindanao.