Leading Philippine conglomerate Filinvest Development Corporation, and Plug and Play, a global Innovation and startup accelerator, join forces to fuel innovations in property and real estate technology (commonly referred to as ‘PropTech’), as well as in adjacent sectors in energy and sustainability, mobility and IoT. The two companies, through Filinvest’s President & CEO, Josephine Gotianun-Yap, and Plug and Play’s Executive Vice President & Head of Corporate Innovation for APAC, Shawn Dehpanah, have signed an agreement to collectively develop and promote new services for the real estate and smart living sectors through a collaboration program with multinational startups. It is the first PropTech and Smart Living-focused initiative of its kind in the Philippines with the partnership of Plug and Play, considered the foremost global innovation platform and the most active early stage venture capital fund. The strategic partnership will mutually leverage Filinvest’s property assets and wealth of experience in real estate, as well as Plug and Play’s immense network of disruptive and innovative technology startups across the globe.
According to Plug and Play’s Shawn Dehpanah, “We are very proud of this partnership with the Filinvest group. Our goal is to create the most innovative hub for Filinvest in engaging entrepreneurs and startups who are digitally transforming many areas of real estate and Smart Living pillars through Plug and Play’s innovation platform. This is a first in the Philippines and the team from Filinvest is one of the most forward-thinking corporate groups we have worked with thus far, so we look forward to collaborating more closely on various initiatives.” This synergy is anchored on a strong shared intent to solve real business problems in the real estate sector, especially in emerging markets like the Philippines. Plug and Play will immerse Filinvest with the world’s leading startups that have expertise and pioneering technology solutions in specific verticals. Filinvest will identify and select innovative businesses to work with and will be supported by experts to develop proofs of concept. Startups will work with teams from across the Filinvest group to solve real business challenges. “We want to tap tried-and-tested technologies from other markets as a starting point and be able to build on them here in the Philippines to address emerging market problems,” added Mr. Dehpanah.
Inspiring possibilities: innovating in real estate in the Philippines
The partnership between Filinvest and Plug and Play aims to generate practical yet innovative solutions to pilot and scale, with select areas in Filinvest’s myriad of real estate projects and ecosystems readily providing an ideal platform for testing emerging technologies and developing cutting-edge digital solutions. Filinvest’s Mrs. Yap underlined the group’s focus on innovation—“We are committed to bringing fresh, innovative ideas that benefit Filinvest’s current customers and partners, as well as make a lasting positive impact to the Philippines. At the same time, we want to solidify the company’s foray into smart, digital technologies that we see will drive the future of the property industry.” Plug and Play’s open innovation platform provides a superior engine, giving Filinvest access to thousands of reputable startups that drive the future of close to 20 distinct sectors across the globe. Mrs. Yap further adds, “We are pleased with Plug and Play’s unmatched reach across several geographies and industries. We are geography and industry-agnostic when it comes to sourcing tech-driven models and solutions that can be applied here in our region that’s why we are very happy to be working with a global leader to drive innovation in the Philippines.” Finding the best mix of startups and technologies that can help realize key objectives and address specific challenges will be done in a series of curated engagements that will take Filinvest to the front-row seats of tech-forward innovations—some of which are already used and have gained traction in more advanced markets. The key will be how to implement these advances in the Philippines and this region.
Pursuing digital capabilities to build new dreams
Filinvest’s entry into tech-driven investments and businesses is not an overnight “just-plug-and-play” pivot. A new thrust to pursue digital opportunities started at the conglomerate level last year, with the parent company rallying its key leaders to map out opportunities in their respective verticals to help transform them into digital businesses. Inparallel, Filinvest had formalized its intent to invest in technology-driven opportunities by founding its very own digital foundry, f(dev), led by digital and fintech industry leader, Xavier Marzan. Pronounced function-dev, the f(dev) brand represents the input-to-output role of Filinvest’s digital ventures arm. f(dev)’s team of digital startup builders, whose technology and business savvy hail from technology organizations and high-growth startups, capitalizes on resources such as talent and partnerships as input, and creates new tech-driven business models as output. Taking after its mother company’s mission of empowering Filipinos to achieve their new dreams, f(dev) aims to harness the power of digital and disruptive technologies—coupled with the infrastructure and capabilities of the Filinvest group and its partners—to build ventures and ecosystems that create large-scale impact among underserved markets in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.