How Manila Turned Around Its Startup Ecosystem

What the Manila government is doing to improve startup success and who’s who in the ecosystem.
Sofia Kousa
on June 17, 2019

Manila brims with entrepreneurial potential. The capital of the Philippines — reputed to be the world’s densest city — is filled with talent and innovative minds. In the last decade or so, the government took initiative and started improving the state of the startup economy. They created a five-point plan to foster the ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurial success.

Check out Manila’s ecosystem page!

Today, Manila receives ecosystem growth support from the government through the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, which promotes finance and startup skills; the Philippine Innovation Act; and Innovative Startup Act, encouraging an innovative entrepreneurial culture.

Because of these collective efforts in helping to change the ecosystem, the expectation is that the Manila startup ecosystem will grow rapidly in size. That is why, in our 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, we highlight Manila as one of the fastest-growing startup ecosystems worldwide.

Overall, Manila is seeing success in the Fintech subsector. In fact, it is one of our Ecosystems to Watch globally in Fintech. Around 15% of the startup ecosystem consists of Fintech startups. The transaction value of Manila’s Fintech startups reached $5.7 billion in 2018, and it’s expected to nearly double to around $10.5 billion in 2022.

Some notable Fintech startups in the Manila area are First Circle, an online lending company that raised $28 million in 2018;, a mobile wallet used to access financial services, which was acquired for $72 million; and Voyager Innovation, which is involved in delivery of digital services and was acquired for $215 million.


Some interesting data points from our 2019 assessment include:

  • Early-stage funding in Manila is growing fast: its score on our funding growth index is nine out of 10.
  • Manila is in the top 10 global ecosystems on “Bang for Buck."
  • Manila is in the top 5 activation ecosystems for Connectedness.

As the population of startups has risen in Manila, the amount of local startup incubators has increased too. Several notable incubators include IdeaSpace, which has received a total of 4,386 entries for its annual program entry; Impact Hub Manila, which offers programs for local and global growth opportunities and promotes sustainability; and BrainSpark, which helps startups connect with other players within the ecosystem emphasizing collaboration.

Our member Department of Trade and Industry is the national government’s main economic catalyst that encourages innovative, inclusive, and competitive business in the Philippines. They help identify how the government can support technology business incubators and startups.

Would you like to become a startup ecosystem ambassador for Manila? Please get in touch with us.

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Our data shows that collaboration is at the core of the fastest growing startup ecosystems. We work with forward-looking organizations who understand that joining the global startup economy is key to to drive innovation and spur economic growth.