The Philippines, along with the entire Southeast Asia region, is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. To address this, the country needs tech-enabled startups capable of delivering solutions that not only facilitate adaptation to climate change but also expedite large-scale decarbonization efforts. In a recent conference dubbed, “Unlocking Climate Tech in the Philippines,” Digital Pilipinas gathered thought leaders, tech innovators, and financial experts to discuss the role of technology in mitigating climate change as a preamble to the Sustainability and Climate Festival happening within the Digital Pilipinas Festival 2023.
Digital Pilipinas is the largest private sector-led movement for creating an innovation and technology ecosystem and is the pioneering ecosystem-builder in ASEAN that is actively engaged and synergized in a global digital economy. Organized by Digital Pilipinas in partnership with The Radical Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund enabling an inclusive climate transition for a resilient Southeast Asia, the event brought together founders and ecosystem players who are actively shaping the climate tech landscape in Southeast Asia and building solutions to combat the climate crisis.
This conference is one of the events leading up to the Digital Pilipinas Festival Year 2 happening on November 21-24, 2023 at SMX Aura and in various co-located venues and innovation hubs across the country. Envisioned as a “festival of festivals”, the Digital Pilipinas Festival is anticipated to be the biggest gathering of industry leaders and country delegations, which aim to set new benchmarks for collaborative progress. It will host the Sustainability and Climate Festival, which aims to showcase more in-depth discussions on sustainability and climate tech solutions and highlight the urgent need for climate innovations, with an emphasis on scaling up these solutions.
Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas and Co-founder of GeiserMaclang said, “With innovative startups and eager investors at the forefront, there is hope that the Philippines can navigate the challenging climate landscape and emerge as a climate-resilient and sustainable nation.”
Among the speakers in the conference are industry leaders and stakeholders who are championing the fight against climate change through technology including Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas and Co-founder of GeiserMaclang; Alina Truhina, CEO and Founding Partner of The Radical Fund; Zachary Lee, Head of Investments of The Radical Fund; Marco Concio, CEO and Co-founder of KITA; Jo Ann Eala, Vice President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands; Enrique Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of IP Ventures; Karla Delgado, Chief Sustainability Officer of the Transnational Diversified Group; Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng, CEO of UHOo; and Kelvin Lee, Commissioner at the Securities and Exhange Commission. They highlighted the urgent need to build solutions to combat the climate crisis through technology and discussed the importance of fostering a supportive ecosystem for climate tech startups, including access to funding, mentorship, and partnerships.
“Southeast Asia is one of the most adversely affected regions of the world when it comes to climate change, and yet investment is still predominantly going toward US and European ventures,” said Truhina. “We invest regionally, and at the earliest stages of VC, because we need to build an ecosystem – and a pipeline – of climate-oriented companies with solutions that are appropriate and localized for the Southeast Asia markets.”
The Radical Fund invests in pre-seed, and pre-series A founders who are either based in Southeast Asia and/or have operations and presence in the region. The Fund backs tech-enabled ventures that deliver scaled commercial returns and climate outcomes to local and regional populations.
Composed of a six-person team based in Bangkok and Singapore, Radical Fund has global team members in London, U.K., and is hiring team members in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Fund is backed by several high-profile regional family offices from the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, together with individual investors from the U.S. and Europe.
“Radical Fund brings a wealth of experience in investing and supporting startup founders and entrepreneurs,” said Gonzalez as Radical Fund’s Philippine partner. “By investing in the next generation of climate adaptation and mitigation entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia, we are accelerating hyper-local solutions which can scale regionally and across other emerging markets.”
The Radical Fund’s investment goes beyond traditional cleanTech and climateTech verticals but also backs scalable ventures that may not look like traditional climate businesses and have – or may potentially have – climate impact as part of their model and ethos. This includes companies across Agriculture, Food, Circular Economy, Financial and Mobility/Logistics, and other sub-sectors.
Gonzalez also expressed how the Fund can unleash the potential of startups in the Philippines, which has been cited as among the nations “at most risk” of the adverse effects of climate change. He said, “I would like the Philippines, a major victim of frequent calamities, to benefit. The calamities will get more severe with climate change over time. We want to enable and empower Filipino entrepreneurs who are coming up with innovative businesses that help solve climate change.”
The Radical Fund is part of the Utopia Capital Management (UCM) group of investment vehicles, which has supported over 130 early-stage ventures across multiple emerging markets. With a team of over 55 full-time experts, UCM has networks across Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. Other vehicles include Founders Factory Africa and its related funds in Africa, which Truhina and Roo Rogers have co-founded.
To learn more about the role of technology and innovation in addressing climate change, join the Digital Pilipinas Sustainability and Climate Festival happening within the Digital Pilipinas Festival in November. To register, please visit https://digitalpilipinas.ph.
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