Startup report founder pitches in on disaster relief

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

TO SIMULTANEOUSLY help Cebu startups and typhoon survivors in the north, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Bowei Gai is starting the Cebu Startup Relief, an individual consultation for startups to raise funds for relief operation in disaster-stricken areas in the province.

Individual consultations will be charged P1,000. Gai said the program is also being supported by founder Tina Amper.

“I’m here to help out the startup community and at the same time help out everybody,” Gai said in an interview during the Cebu Startup Day held in the University of the Philippines Cebu last Saturday.


Gai, the founder of the World Startup Report, expressed his concern for the Filipino startups saying they are not being funded in the same way those in neighboring countries in Southeast Asia like Malaysia and Singapore are.

The Singapore government, he said, is giving financial grants to startups that can go as high as half a million dollars.

“Startups are the future and it’s a relatively cheap investment,” Gai said.

Over 200 startups are funded by the Singapore government yearly, he said.

One of the financing schemes of the Singapore government is the Technology Enterprise Commercialization Scheme, which provides funding for research and development for the commercialization of proprietary technology ideas.

“The Philippines still does not have the right ecosystem for startups yet,” he said.

He said, however, that startups in Thailand and Indonesia, although sharing the same situation are receiving better funding.

However, Gai also said that Filipino startups always find ways to get funding without relying too much on the government.

The Department of Science and Technology Information Communication Technology Office, through its deputy executive director Mon Ibrahim, earlier said that there are already initiatives in place to ensure the growth of Filipino startups.

One of it is DOST’s partnership with the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) for, a project that aims to bring to market at least 10 globally-recognized Filipino-made software products by 2016 that will each generate $1 million in annual revenues.

Gai will be staying in Cebu for six months. Startups who are interested to have a consultation with Gai can email him at

Aside from helping startups and typhoon victims, he will also be writing his World Startup Report here, which will document the world’s startup ecosystems through a series of reports detailing the local culture, trends, key players and challenges.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 09, 2013.


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