Three startups pitched and presented their progress throughout the six-month accelerator program of QBO Innovation Hub and Microsoft Philippines.
The SHOWQASE: Microsoft B2B AQELERATION held on March 24 put on spotlight the startups Mayani, Steer, and Last Mile, Inc., which completed the program AQELERATION: B2B Startups Disrupting Industries.
QBO and Microsoft launched the AQELERATION program last July to support startups that develop B2B (business-to-business) solutions to digitalize businesses in the country. The three chosen startups received intensive training and mentorship, a financial grant from QBO, and strategic support. The program ran from September 2021 to February 2022.
AQELERATION participant Mayani is the country’s fastest-growing farm-to-table platform with over 70,000 farmers, 11,000 B2C customers, and a B2B portfolio that counts in Shell, Robinsons, and WalterMart, among others.
“What we did was we built an agri-tech platform. We can fully unlock the $10-billion agricultural output value in the Philippines. And we’re doing this by consolidating production or harvest at scale, optimizing the agricultural supply chain by taking out middlemen, and digitizing it end-to-end,” explained JT Solis, Mayani’s CEO and co-founder.
Mr. Solis said they exceeded their initial revenue target set for and during AQELERATION by 198.5%, with over P9-million revenue. The startup’s initial farmers base size target also went beyond by 154%, now having over 77,000 smallholder farmers within the network. It has also formed new partnerships, among which are with FlowerStore.ph, Tsaa Laya, and CloudEats.
Furthermore, the startup was able to augment its crop engine through the technical knowledge and insights gained from the mentors.
Burns Puzon, head of marketing and sales of Steer by QuickReach, afterward talked about how the startup sought to digitize the country’s traditional construction industry.
“We built Steer to help companies synchronize processes, people and systems, and move towards a connected construction,” he explained. “Under the hood of Steer is QuickReach, which is a no-code platform that provides Steer customers unparalleled flexibility and configurability that they need.”
Some of the startup’s key accomplishments in the past six months while working under the program were the pivot of Steer from a no-code platform into a construction management software; generating over 100 leads, including Maynilad, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., and FF Cruz; and being recognized as the Best Industrial/Supply Chain Startup at the X-Pitch Asia 2021 and recently qualified for the DTI-QBO Global AQELERATION Program.
Another startup that completed the AQELERATION was Last Mile, a shared logistics service innovation company seeking to “change the way businesses operate their last-mile deliveries.” Its digital products include Deliveries.ph, Fleet.ph, and Riders.ph.
Last Mile co-founder and CEO Jeff Sarmiento shared that, during the six-month program, the startup created over 100 new client presentations and onboarded 21 new customers, which generated $55,000 new contract value. It also has three new platform and service partners on board and earns $25,000 average monthly recurring revenue.
“We have also recently onboarded two new enterprise customers with a large volume of transactions that would increase Last Mile revenues by 900% before the end of Q2 2022,” he added.
“For the last six months, we truly appreciate the support provided by Microsoft and QBO through this incubation. A lot of which [is] the introduction to the right people that we can work with to improve Last Mile as a company and be more future-prepared to aggressively scale,” Mr. Sarmiento expressed.
The SHOWQASE also featured keynote talks led by Georgia Martelino, program lead for Microsoft for Startups Philippines; and Gabriel Villanueva, channel account manager of Crayon Philippines. It also provided a chance to network with the three startups. — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio