No country for unicorns: Why tech startups in the Philippines are struggling

It should be on par with its neighbours. After all, it is home to 106 million people – the second-largest population in Southeast Asia. The country has a median age of 24.4, making it one of the youngest nations in the region.

Powered by its English proficiency, it has risen to become the home of business process outsourcing, with the world’s largest companies tapping it for their labour needs. The young, robust market is internet-savvy, with its members spending an average of 10 hours a day on their screens – the most in the world, according to a global digital report.

But in spite of a market ripe for growth, the Philippines is struggling in the start-up innovation race.

Over the past decade, Southeast Asia has seen soaring investment. Venture-capital (VC) deals quadrupled from 126 in 2012 to 524 in 2017, according to a report by management consultancy Bain & Company.

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