The Philippines' Top Investors and Founders to Gather for Year Two of BUILD, a Two-Day Startup Festival in Makati


BUILD: A Startup Festival returns with an even bigger lineup geared toward breaking down the “Founders’ Journey.” Organized by Sinigang Valley Association (SVA) and Esquire Philippines, the annual startup festival will take place on March 22 and 23 at different venues provided by SVA members in and around Poblacion, Makati City, the Philippines’ unofficial startup hub. 

The country’s leading startup founders and investors will gather to discuss key issues important to founders—whether you're bootstrapped or funded by institutional investorsand critical enablers of the ecosystem. The startup festival is open to all members of the Philippine startup ecosystem who are eager to learn and support one another.

Breaking down the startup founder’s journey into bite-sized pieces, BUILD’s sessions will help the community better understand the ecosystem, empower founders in training, and give experienced founders a space to pay it forward.

The free event will comprise four plenary sessions, 10 pocket sessions, and two networking mixers. The plenary sessions will be open to the startup community on a first-come, first-served basis, while the 10 pocket sessions will have a curated guest list based on session objectives. 

The four plenary sessions will offer a comprehensive overview of the Philippine startup ecosystem based on the latest data reports, as well as observations from founders and investors on the ground. Meanwhile, the 10 pocket sessions will be divided into the “Starter” and “Growth” sessions. 

The “Starter” Track is made up of five sessions geared toward the bootstrapped founder eager to get their startup off the ground. They’ll be able to seek advice on ideation, problem-solution fit essentials, product-market fit, and more. Meanwhile, the “Growth” Track’s five sessions will be curated for established founders looking to scale their business and broaden their knowledge on market metrics, advisory board relations, and more. 

Registration for BUILD is now closed. 

You can see the full breakdown of the two-day event after the registration form below. The BUILD sessions will be held in different locations provided by SVA members Draper Startup House, Foxmont Capital Partners, Kickstart Ventures, QBO Innovation Hub, AHG Lab, and Mosaic Solutions. 

DAY 1 | Wednesday, March 22

PLENARY SESSION: The Ecosystem: Philippine Venture Capital Report 

Time: 9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Venue: Draper Startup House

Facts and findings in a challenging year for the #startupPH ecosystem by Foxmont Capital Partners including perspectives from these panelists: 

  • Founders: Opportunities in PH and their reasons for building startups in PH 
  • Investors: Understanding investors and their reasons for investing in PH 

Speakers: Franco Varona of Foxmont Capital Partners and Paulo Campos of Kaya Founders

PLENARY SESSION: Understanding Investors 

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Venue: Draper Startup House

Not all investors are the same and there's an ideal investor for every stage of a startup's development. Or you might not need an institutional investor yet. Meet these investors and learn who does what.... and when: 

  • Venture Capital: Independent, Corporate, and Regional. Why and when to do it .... or don't do it? 
  • Corporate VC: When do you need CVC money for startup growth?
  • Angel Investing: How do they kick off a startup's fundraising journey and why 'angels' do it?
  • Accelerators, Incubators, and Venture Builders: How are they the same/different and how do they support fledgling startups? 

Moderator: Quenby Go of Manila Angels Investor Network (MAIN)

Speakers: Joan Yao of Kickstart Ventures, Anthony Oundjian of BCG, Katrina Chan of QBO Innovation Hub 

PLENARY SESSION: Building Your Startup

Time: 10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Venue: Draper Startup House

How do you move from intention to action? If you're a founder in training, do you fake it 'til you make it? Hear what these founders have to say: 

  • Methodologies: Developing your idea and transforming it into an MVP Problem-Solution Fit 
  • Essentials: Understanding customer discovery
  • Product Development: Making data-driven decisions using actionable metrics 

Moderator: Bela Gupta D’Souza of Edamama

Speakers: Marc Concio of, Dennis Ng of Mober, Claire Ongcangco of Parlon 

PLENARY SESSION: Best Practices In Fundraising

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Venue: Draper Startup House

Save yourself time when preparing for fundraising with these best practices in fundraisingfrom your Angel round up to Series A+. Why repeat the mistakes of previous startup founders when you can already avoid them? 

Moderator: Amanda Cua of Backscoop 

Speakers: Justin Arcenas of RuralNet, Ibba Rasul-Bernardo of Packworks 

STARTER TRACK: Building Your Product

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Understanding the essentials before your cash runs out:

  • Product-Market Fit: What is it, how do you get it, how should you measure it, and what do you do when you get it? What is an MVP and how do you time your MVP launch?
  • Go-To-Market Metrics: TAM, MAU, CAC, GMV - What the heck are all these letters and why do they matter? How do you choose the metrics that matter the most? 

Moderator: Jess de Mesa of Kindred

Speakers: Nel Laygo of Peddlr

GROWTH TRACK: Creating Value: The Untapped Potential Of Student Startups

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Universities are hubs of human capital, knowledge, and expertisethey play a "feeder" role in any startup ecosystem. In the Philippines, student startups are beginning to appear—Who are they and how can the leading players of the #startupPH ecosystem begin to help them effectively? 

Moderator: Rambo Joinani of Kaya Founders

STARTER TRACK: Understanding The Term Sheet

Time: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Ah yes, the term sheetthe non-binding document that attracts investors to fund a startup. Before you even begin to accept term sheets and meet with investors, get a crash course on each type of document: 

  • SAFE vs KISS vs Convertible Notes, etc.
  • Key terms and clauses: Pre/post-money valuation, liquidation preference, conversion rights, investor rights, and protection, etc. 

Moderator: Pia Bernal of Kickstart Ventures 

Speakers: Jecky Pelaez of Kickstart Ventures and Henry Motte Munoz of 

GROWTH TRACK: Creating Scale In Consumer Brands 

Time: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Meet a home-grown coffee shop that found value and growing demand in the new normal.  

Moderator: Bea Mantecón of Foxmont Capital

Speakers: Diego Lorenzo of Pickup Coffee

DAY 2 | Thursday, March 23

STARTER TRACK: Founder Wellness Check 

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

What is it and why should you care? It's no secret that building a startup is like jumping off a cliff while building your safety nets on the way down. This is a candid sharing session where founder wellnessemotional and physicalwill be broken down into practical lifehacks so we know how to boost it. 

Moderator: Cat Triviño of MindNation

Speakers: Nina Dizon of Colourette Cosmetics 

GROWTH TRACK: Stimulating Startup Entrepreneurship 

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

A thriving startup ecosystem is composed of actively-participating entrepreneurs, accelerators, mentors, investors, government, educational institutions, corporations, and service providers. In this session, we put the spotlight on private sector institutions working closely with the Philippine government to stimulate startup entrepreneurship at scale. 

Moderator: Butch Meilly of QBO Innovation Hub 

Speakers: Minsoo Kim of ADB Ventures 

STARTER TRACK: Addressing Adversity With Help From The Advisory Board 

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The Advisory Board is the "designated adults in the room" for a startup. When a founder hits his/her first wall, they are there to offer practical guidance and support. If you're a startup founder, do you have one? 

  • If "no," do you know how to pick the right advisors for you?
  • If "yes," do you know when you need advice the most? 

Moderator: Paulo Campos of Kaya Founders 

Speakers: Ron Baetiong of Podcast Network Asia 

GROWTH TRACK: Talent: Where To Find And How To Spot Them

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Is there a secret sauce to becoming a great startup recruiter? Who do you hire first? In this session, founders will share their lessons learned and insights into finding, hiring, retaining, and rewarding talent. 

Moderator: Gian de la Rama of 

Speakers: Jeff Tan of Expedock 

STARTER TRACK: Startup Funding And Valuation

Time: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

How does one value a brand new company with little or no revenue? A slightly less mature company with some profits? 

Valuation of a startup is rarely a straightforward conversation and is littered with metrics to choose and adopt depending on a startup's business model. This session hopes to give some clarity so that you walk away armed with a deeper understanding of how you should value your hard work. 

Moderator: Franco Varona of Foxmont Capital Partners

Speakers: Mark Sng of Gentree Asia and Steve Sy of Great Deals 

GROWTH TRACK: Startups And Resilience: How Not To Crash And Burn 

Time: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Meet startup founders who somehow beat the odds during the pandemic and are weathering the headwinds of the current economic climate better than expected. These are repeat founders who are open to sharing their past struggles and how they overcame them. 

Moderator: PJ Caña of Esquire Philippines 

Speakers: Crystal Gonzalez of Pickaroo

About Sinigang Valley

The Sinigang Valley Association is an independent organization run by like-minded entrepreneurs in Metro Manila to foster a community of creative individuals in the hopes of creating a healthy ecosystem for people who are leading the change.

Sinigang Valley is a place for startups, enablers, funders, or any organizations that brings synergies in helping potential and future entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, or passionate individuals, to turn their ideas into successful ventures.

For more details, visit Sinigang Valley’s website here.

About Esquire Philippines 

Esquire Philippines is a digital lifestyle brand delivered at a pace that meets the era's constant stream of concerns, issues, and fashions. Curated for the discerning Filipino, it delivers compelling content—thought-provoking features, necessary style guides, front-row commentaries on politics, business, entertainment, and more.

Esquire Philippines is a legacy brand under Summit Media, the Philippines' leading digital lifestyle network. Visit Esquire Philippines here.

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Anri Ichimura
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