The Philippines’ oldest and largest conglomerate Ayala Corporation plans to launch a venture capital fund worth $150 million (₱7.8 billion) to invest in promising startups in the fields of artificial intelligence, fintech, automation, e-commerce, health, and many more.
At a press conference during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday, Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said that the new VC fund will probably be the largest in the country.
“A key focus of our venture investments is in the field of e-commerce,” Zobel said. “With this new fund, Ayala seeks to focus on startups in their early growth stage and support tech innovations in data and analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fintech, automation, real estate, retail, transport, energy, water, health and wellness, and food.”
The new VC fund will be managed by Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, the country’s leading venture capital firm with investments in 39 startups in seven different countries. Ayala Corporation, Globe Telecom, Bank of the Philippine Islands and several investors have already committed to raise money for the new startup fund.
The Ayala CEO said that the company has already invested in startups that are part of the current digital wave, especially in e-commerce, fintech and health.
“These investments are designed to complement the group’s traditional brick-and-mortar operations, future-proof its existing portfolio, and broaden the digital experience of Filipinos,” added Zobel. “We spend significant time studying other markets that are in advanced stages of digital maturity and we have teams constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies. Absorbing and learning from these experiences, we have become more deliberate in our own digital transformation journey and have elevated it into a group-wide strategic agenda.”
“What we are doing is we are raising a fund amongst the group companies. The fund is really targeted and deliberately group-focused,” Ayala Corporation Chief Finance Officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said.