MANILA, PHILIPPINES — After a grueling two-day selection process, Last Mile Inc., an end-to-end logistics startup, was crowned champion of the 2019 Techtonic Summit Ring of Fire competition held in Bonifacio Global City from November 15 to 16.
A highly anticipated part of the summit, the Ring of Fire pitching competition gathered 20 of the country’s most promising startups for a chance to win USD 10,000 and expose their work to top investors, potential partners and media.
The top 20 startups underwent preliminary judging where they were narrowed down to a select few who would move on to the final pitch-off on Day Two of the summit.
Their pitches were judged by Samuel Jeanblanc, Philippine Market Lead for Google; Manuel Biermann, Managing Partner at Unifier Ventures; Colin Christie, Executive Director at Global Chamber Manila; Maria Katrina Manalo, CEO at Dezynspace; Mohan Belani, CEO of e27; John Aguilar, CEO of Dragon’s Nest Ventures; and Winston Damarillo, Executive Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies and CEO of Talino Venture Labs.
It was a close call between first and runner-up places during the final judging, but the startup Last Mile was able to clinch the top spot, winning PHP 500,000 (USD 10,000) and a chance to participate in CNN Philippines’ The Final Pitch, the country’s first business reality television show.
Last Mile Inc. is a digital logistics innovation company, aggregating fulfillment providers in one platform—enabling flexible solutions for e-commerce businesses including fleet management, rider matching, and delivery fulfillment.
“We connect businesses with logistics providers, enabling them to compete against larger brands and big players in the industry, and providing them with the ability to scale through on-demand deployment of resources via the platform,” said Last Mile’s Head of Business Jeff Sarmiento.
Second place went to Agrabah, an agritech platform that connects farmers and fishermen directly to retailers, in the hopes of eliminating the middleman and empowering them through fair trade.
Third-placer Veer Immersive Technologies is a software development and content creation company that looks to provide companies with new and meaningful ways of reaching their audiences through virtual and augmented realities.
Special prizes were also given to the startup contestants, including an Explore Hongkong Expansion package by Whub and Angelhub; free IP filing to the Most Innovative Startup in which Veer emerged victorious; and free Silicon Valley Immersion Tour tickets to two both Pandalivery and Veer.
Ring of Fire 2019 was made possible by this year’s summit co-presenter Angkas and prize sponsors CNN’s The Final Pitch, Pinoy IP Works, Angelhub, Whub, Talino Venture Labs, and Startup Village.
This year’s Techtonic Summit had the theme “Festival of Innovation,” celebrating the variety of solutions startups have created across different industries and sectors. The summit aimed to not only showcase innovation but also to inspire more of it through a community of like-minded problem-solvers.
“Techtonic is really meant to be an inclusive platform to celebrate how far we’ve come in championing tech startups and innovation in the country. The event is made to make noise and shine a spotlight on the PH and our talents vis-a-vis the rest of Southeast Asia. Our successful 2-year run is a testament to that,” explains Techtonic Summit Managing Director, Alea Ladaga.
Winston Damarillo, one of the finals judges for Ring of Fire and an organizing partner of this year’s Techtonic, saw the diversity of contestants as indicative of the country’s growing startup culture. He adds: “This year’s contestants for the Ring of Fire competition, as well as the companies who joined the summit, show great promise for Philippine startups. The Philippines is ripe for its own unicorn, and [these startups] are demonstrating that we’re ready to take our place among global players. We still have a long way to go, but we’re off to a great start.”
Damarillo is a pioneer of the Philippine tech industry and one of its most successful tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, having strong ties with Silicon Valley. He currently runs Amihan Global Strategies, a digital transformation consultancy, and Talino Venture Labs, an enterprise venture builder working to empower emerging markets. Talino Venture Labs will be incubating first runner-up Agrabah to complement its portfolio of inclusion of tech startups.
“We are seeing a new era of collaboration between startups and more established enterprises, where the view is not just to disrupt an industry—but rather, to build ecosystems and create chains of solutions that are scalable, agile, and game-changing,” commented Damarillo.
“That was a recurring theme at this Techtonic Summit and Ring of Fire pitch-off.”
Techtonic Summit 2019 was co-presented by Angkas and sponsored by Acceler8 by UnionSPACE, Microsoft, WHub, Angelhub, Salarium, ZOHO, Cashalo, PLDT Innolab, Skullcandy, Industry and Alfox Printing Services. Community Partners include Recruitday.com, De La Salle University Manila’s Animo Labs and Ambidextr.