LOOK: Local Corporate Venture Capital Firm Joins London Tech Week

Kickstart Ventures makes an appearance at London Tech Week to showcase its strategic corporate innovations to address complex problems. Here’s how it can shape the economy.

According to statistics, around 87% of business owners think that digital transformation will disrupt their industry. This is why $1.5 trillion (around PHP 83.28 trillion) was spent on digital transformation in 2021—globally—and the amount is expected to reach $6.8 trillion (around PHP 377.56 trillion) by 2023.

With that, innovating businesses, as well as learning how to adapt and undertake thoughtful investments, are both important—now, more than ever. Enter the London Tech Week—a recently-concluded event that gathered the most innovative thinkers across the world. This event was held at the Queen Elizabeth Centre II in Westminster, London from June 12, 2023, onwards and likewise served as the perfect avenue for business owners from all across the globe to learn and connect with like-minded individuals. 

Part of the Philippine delegation that went to the event is Kickstart Ventures—the largest corporate venture capital (CVC) firm in the country today. There, they shared crucial insights about various topics. We delve into those learnings and what business owners can apply for themselves.

London Tech Week Wrap Up 

The London Tech Week had a great set of attendees—each one sharing their thoughts on important business-related technological topics. The event was moderated by Russ Shaw, the Founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates. Other panelists included investors and innovators like Jim Adler from Toyota Ventures and Hadi Badri from Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism. 

Throughout the discussions, the panelists shared their insights on how they pushed for investing in innovation amidst an unpredictable economic environment. They also talked about the growing pressure from shareholders and mounting competition from disruptive technologies like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

During the Global Leaders Innovation Summit’s discussion “Cracking the Innovation Code—Remaining Resolute on Investment,” Kickstart Ventres Inc. president and CEO Minette Navarrete shared some crucial insights. “We’ve found [that] it helps to focus on our customers and communities, who face deeply rooted challenges. Our investments at Kickstart are part of a wider pursuit of the Globe and Ayala Groups to create solutions that will chip away at these persistent societal pains.

“By leveraging Globe and Ayala’s enterprise-scale and combining these with startups’ agility, we invest in solutions for the problems of today and tomorrow. This is certainly a time to double down,” Navarrete said.

She also pointed out how adversity is an opportunity that can make a difference in people’s lives. “A third of all the food produced in the world is wasted, and yet in the Philippines, 12 to 15% of our population faces involuntary hunger every single day,” she noted.

How She Used Food Security as an Example 

To showcase Kickstart’s strategy of investing in future solutions, Navarrete used food security as an example. Among those which she cited are companies like SariSuki, which can bring consumers closer to the farmers who grow fresh food.

She also stressed how collaborations between corporations and startups can be successful. Examples of these include their company’s portfolio company Pickup Coffee, which was invested in by Globe and Ayala. To date, Pickup Coffee has nearly 100 branches in its first year of operations. 

“We make investments where we see emerging opportunities that will create value. Our investments in Xendit, a Southeast Asian payment gateway now working with BPI and Globe Telecom, and Treedots—a Singapore-based wholesale distributor of surplus and imperfect food supplies [which now works] with some of Southeast Asia’s biggest food suppliers—are proof of technology, products, and services deploying new business models, meeting new customers, and creating new use cases,” she said.

She also gave a piece of advice to fellow attendees, saying to “Start small. Consider pilots, proof of concepts, and then scale fast—together.”

The Importance of Their Role in London Tech Week 

“London Tech Week 2023 is a remarkable platform for discussions that matter—resilience in the face of prices, remaining resolute in the face of challenges, looking at sustainability for companies, and keeping the human at the center of technology and innovation. These are things that are important for corporates and startups, for investors, for founders,” Navarrete said at the end of her speech.

Aside from her, Kickstart’s VP of Investments Mike Maté also took part in an elevator pitching session called “Pitch Up” at the London Eye. 

With their participation in the said event, Kickstart has for sure learned things that will inspire them to continue innovating to provide solutions. In the long run, this will not just benefit the company and the economy but it will also help provide solutions to the regular problems of Filipinos.