Manila dubbed as one of the top cities for fintechs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) — Manila is among the friendliest cities in the world for financial technology (fintech) startups, according to a global research firm.

Startup Genome released its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report on May 9, placing Manila in its Top 10 Global Ecosystems of 2019. Manila also ranked among the Top 5 locations in the “activation phase,” or those which are developing.

Among these cities were Taipei in Taiwan, Busan in South Korea, Calgary in Canada and Frankfurt in Germany.

Strong English-language skills and well-established outsourcing industries in Manila were cited as key drivers that encourage investors to move their startup operations to the Philippine capital.

Fintech companies compose 15 percent of Manila’s startups, with the market expected to grow to $10.5 billion by 2022 from about $5.7 billion last year.

Manila also earned the “Bang for Buck” badge as companies are getting more value for their initial funding, and the “Connectedness” badge, meaning its ties to the global startup ecosystem as well as the local sense of community.

The non-profit association aims to promote the Philippines as a global leader. Among the Philippine-based fintechs cited were First Circle, and Voyager Innovations.

“First Circle, which provides supply chain financing, raised $26 million in 2018. Close by in Rizal, was acquired for $72 million in 2019 and in Mandaluyong, Voyager Innovations was acquired for $215 million in 2018,” the report said.

Local laws were also viewed as supportive for new businesses. Startup Genome cited the Trade department’s Startup Pilipinas, a five-point action plan developed to strengthen networks for high-impact startups; the Youth Entrepreneurship Act; and The Philippine Innovation Act and the Innovative Startup Act of the Philippines.

Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the world’s most widely-read publication on startup ecosystems, started in 2012 with the aim “to help more startups succeed in more cases.”

Kloe Gaye Sese contributed to this report.