Philippine Startup Ecosystem Takes Center Stage at Balik*Bayan San Francisco Event

San Francisco, CA – On May 3, 2023, around 60 members of the Filipino Diaspora gathered at Sentro Filipino, the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center, for the ‘Balik*Bayan SF 2023: Come Back, Give Back’ event organized by Endeavor Philippines. Endeavor Philippines invited founders, mentors, investors, and talent in the tech industry to reconnect with their roots and explore ways to contribute to the growth of the Philippine startup scene.

The event started with Consul General Neil Ferrer’s opening remarks, followed by Manny Ayala, Managing Director of Endeavor Philippines and Minette Navarette, Co-founder and President of venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures discussing the current state of the Philippine startup ecosystem. Navarette highlighted the significant rise of startups and foreign investment, emphasizing that the Philippines is at an inflection point.

Next, Vivek Padmanabhan, Co-founder and President of PSG Global Solutions and Endeavor Entrepreneur, joined Ayala for a fireside chat on his experience starting a business in the Philippines as a foreigner. The conversation further emphasized the potential of the Philippine startup ecosystem and the opportunities for growth and innovation.

The event then featured a fireside chat with Roland Ros and Rexy Dorado, Co-founders of Kumu, a livestreaming platform focused on Filipino culture, and also Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Moderated by Dexter Ligot-Gordon, Co founder and CEO of Swarm, the discussion centered on Ros and Dorado’s decision to come back to the Philippines and their experience building Kumu and Sinigang Valley, a community for leaders and creatives across different industries to connect and collaborate.

Another fireside chat with Ligot-Gordon featured Trisha Bantigue, Co-founder of Queenly. Both Y Combinator alumni, with Ligot-Gordon as Co-founder of Kalibrr, shared their journey of building companies with strong operations in the Philippines and how Filipinos can make a global impact.

Balik*Bayan SF 2023 showcased the potential of the Philippine startup ecosystem, which has been attracting global interest, as Philippine startups continue to make sizable deals with established investment firms. Chrome Advisors, a financial advisory firm with headquarters in San Francisco sponsored the event.

“There’s a lot of interest in San Francisco in doing something. There’s a community, and talent here. Which is why Endeavor Philippines is committed to continuing to convene these kinds of gatherings. It was amazing to see the level of interest,” said Ayala.

The overarching message of the event was to encourage the audience to come back and give back to the Philippines, either by starting businesses there, mentoring founders in the Philippines, or investing in businesses in the Philippines. Balik*Bayan SF 2023 provided a platform for the Filipino Diaspora to explore ways to contribute to their home country’s economic growth.

Endeavor Philippines plans to do one again in New York in December, continuing their commitment to building bridges between the US and the Philippines.