Last January 26, UPSCALE’s Enterprise incubation program featured the 12th batch (B12) of its startups during the graduation and demo day of the program that hosted a number of distinguished panelists from the investor community for a pitching session. The event was held onsite, on campus at the UPSCALE Incubation Hub at the National Engineering Center, UP Diliman, Quezon City.
UPSCALE Innovation Hub, the pioneer innovation center of the Philippines’ premier state university, the University of the Philippines, supports tech-based startups, incubates and accelerates these ventures, and collaborates with various networks through academic research and design projects.
UPSCALE houses three programs applied to progress technology cases and startup ventures at different stages:
Newly elected UP president Angelo Jimenez provided the welcome remarks and challenged the participants to push the boundaries of innovation. “I want crazy ideas. I don’t want you to be afraid of dreaming big. Please dance the dance of madness even if you find yourselves at the odds of circumstance and I will be here with you to give you my ideas,” he said. The B12 cohort, most of which have already demonstrated traction and acquired initial funding, focused on food-tech, agri-tech, sustainability, supply chain management, mental health, education and regenerative agriculture as its industries. This initiative is co-incubated with U.K-based venture capital firm IISLA Ventures.
Get to Know UPSCALE’s B12 Cohort.
(Industry: SaaS, Agricultural Technology)
A one-stop-shop e-commerce platform for agricultural input supplies and services (seedling, agrochemicals, specialty and novel tech, tools and equipment). The startup aims to solve Innate challenges and pain points of farmers who have limited access to products and information, are challenged with increased transportation and hauling costs of products, lack of consumer education, receive biased product recommendations from store owners and co-farmers, and whose farm productivity and profitability are ultimately compromised.
(Industry: SaaS, Pesticide Management)
A mobile pesticide management app for mango growers and contractors. Addressing the loss of significant revenue in the PH mango industry from pest infestations over the years, the startup developed an interactive, decision -making app that seeks to cut costs of insecticides of up to 80% per year, enable the growth of “flawless” fruits that can be sold at a premium price, and get up-to-date info on pests and FPA-registered pesticides. Mango IRM (insecticides resistance management) also provides recommendations based on any farm situation – the pest, the crop stage, and even previous practices.
(Industry: Education Technology, STEM, LabTech, Devices)
A centralized and modern digital measuring platform for high schools and colleges to improve PH science education and research. The startup seeks to address the lack of infrastructure to support scientific research and education. Their product, named VISSER (Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research) will modernize school laboratories by offering low-cost, modern digital handheld kits to perform scientific experiments and research based on the DepEd curriculum.
(Industry: Agricultural Technology, Fertilizers)
A university spin-off company that caters to the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of HormoGroe, a plant growth regulator hormone. HormoGroeTM is an innovative root growth enhancer that can speed up seed germination, induce rooting, enhance shoot growth and flowering in plantation crops, high-value ornamentals, fruit trees, and vegetables. Through pilot studies on coffee, banana and high value ornamentals, their products showed increase crop yield without compromising the
profit of farmers and results in increased nutrient uptake efficiency. Early data shows that plant survival and rooting increased by about 25% and enhanced nutrient uptake efficiency by about 30% as observed in test crops.
(Industry: Supply Chain, Agricultural Technology)
A B2B AgriTech startup that leverages deep tech to develop supply chain solutions that will reduce food loss in Asia and help build competitive agri-value chains. With the Philippines losing an estimated 10-40% of crops every year, the startup believes reducing food loss is a cheaper approach than increasing production. The solution is a combination of hardware-software-data analytics that can help fresh fruit and vegetable growers and distributors maximize their resources by maintaining the optimal storage conditions of their produce. Through their sensor systems and platform, growers can reduce food loss by up to 5% by keeping track of storage conditions and spoilage rate.
(Industry: Wellness Technology, EduTech)
A peer-to-peer platform aimed to help young people improve their holistic health (physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually), through wellness programs and activities that is tailored fit to the needs of the youth. Through its programs, the startup aims to uproot the triggering factor from daily life issues that may lead to any holistic health concerns – physical, psychological, emotional, and even in the spiritual aspects. Their recommendations are based on the results of a proprietary assessment tool, combined with knowing the youth’s hobbies and interests.
(Industry: Education Technology, PaaS)
An EdTech startup that aims to solve the inefficiencies of standard classroom learning by providing quality lecture videos in different fields. It aims to be the prime e-learning platform in the Philippines. To date, Kippap has produced over 100 educational videos covering engineering, math, and physics subjects. Their videos are produced with high quality, studio equipment to ensure that information is being delivered to students as clearly as possible to maximize engagement. Their initial customers are engineering graduates taking up the Civil Engineering Licensure Exam. After verifying the market demand, the plan is to expand to high school and college-level subjects.
(Industry: SaaS, PaaS, Events Management, Video Conferencing Platform)
A full stack event and membership platform for professional organizations. They provide membership management, video conferencing, communications as well as live and online events management services. The opportunity the startup sees is how professional organizations and associations have limited manpower and lack the technology and expertise to effectively manage programs, events and communities that require a lot of administrative work. To date, Xperto has hosted more than 30 webinars and 18 local and international virtual conferences with more than 42,000 attendees. Currently, the startup boasts of 20+ partner professional organizations. UPSCALE’s demo day was joined by by panelists from InBest Capital Ventures, JG Digital Equity Ventures (JGDEV), FutureNow Ventures, 1982 Ventures, Xchange PH, Villgro Philippines, Foxmont Capital Partners and The Independent Investor.
“I am excited about the passion, new blood, and tech enabled solutions in agriculture envisioned in the B12 UPSCALE’s incubation program that will help digitize and capacitate our food and agriculture industry, “ said David Pangan, managing partner at inBEST Ventures. “But let’s not forget the infrastructure needed to make this all work. We need government and private companies to make big investments in access to internet, supply chain and logistics, roads and bridges, and a forward market to stabilize prices based on supply and demand. A systemic problem needs a systemic solution with contributions from all stakeholders,” he added.
Launched in 2018, the University of the Philippines partnered with the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) to accelerate the launch of innovative technologies through startups and industry collaborations.