Philippines: New VC Fund Gobi-Core Debuts Investments in Healthtech Startup MariaHealth

A recently-launched venture capital fund by Philippine-based VC company Core Capital and Malaysia-based VC Gobi Partners made its first two …

A recently-launched venture capital fund by Philippine-based VC company Core Capital and Malaysia-based VC Gobi Partners made its first two investments in a healthtech startup MariaHealth and an edutech firm called

The VC fund Gobi-Core Philippine Fund (PH Fund) is a $10 million fund for seed-stage and pre-Series A companies in the Philippines launched last October. Amounts of the two funding rounds in the local startups were undisclosed.

Other investors in MariaHealth’s seed round include Wavemaker and Hustle Fund.

Founded in 2015, MariaHealth has partnered with insurance practitioners PhilCare, Maxicare, AsianLife, and MediCard.

MariaHealth serves as an online portal designed to enable people to easily compare what healthcare brands have to offer and confidently shop right after.

The startup noted only 4 per cent of the Philippine population have healthcare and the process of getting information from providers is still long and dated.

MariaHealth co-founder Vincent Lau said they will use the fund to further improve the company’s brand, the customer experience in using its portal, and to become the best marketplace for health insurance.

“We’ll continue to invest in our supply side partners that include HMOs, insurers and clinics to access new markets and most importantly leveraging our data to bring new products to market,” Lau said.

“This year a big focus is to continue to digitize and simplify a traditionally tedious and offline process so that our service is scalable to millions. We’ll be doubling down on automation and working on tight knit integrations with select partners to streamline the customer experience,” Lau added.

He also noted that as of 2018, MariaHealth has serviced over 14,000 Filipinos across group insurance, individual insurance and the startup’s prepaid business. To date it sold over US$1 million in health plans and are confident to grow this to five-fold this year.

Jason Gaisano, one of Core Capital’s co-founders, will be part of the board of MariaHealth. He said Core Capital recognizes the problem the healthtech startup is addressing, while Gobi envisions MariaHealth’s business to be scalable on a regional level.

“One of Gobi and Core’s partnership strategy stemmed from the idea of combining local knowledge and expertise with international credibility and validity. We believe the health sector to be one of the most verifiable and understandable need in this country,”

Gaisano said.

He said Gobi-Core Fund PH is looking into industries that provide solutions to problems specific to Philippines as well as scalability that fits other markets similar to the country.

“Currently, the industries that easily verifies these criteria are health related, fintech, education, logistics, IT services and entertainment,” Gaisano added.

In cover photo are (from left): Core Capital managing partner Kenneth Ngo, MariaHealth co-founder and CEO Vincent Lau, and Gobi Partners founder Thomas Tsao.

AsianLifeCore CapitalEdukasyon.phGobi PartnersGobi-CorehealthcareHealthTechinsuranceinsuretechMariaHealthMaxicareMediCardPhilCarestartup

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Roger Dickey ditches $32M-funded Gigster to start Untitled Labs

Examples: Y Combinator, 500 Startups. Startup Studio: The studios’ founders work with entrepreneurs to come up with a small number of ideas while …

Most founders don’t walk away from their startup after raising $32 million and reaching 1000 clients. But Roger Dickey’s heart is in consumer tech, and his company Gigster had pivoted to doing outsourced app development for enterprises instead of scrappy entrepreneurs.

So today Dickey announced that he’d left his role as Gigster CEO, with former VMware VP Christopher Keane who’d sold it his startup WaveMaker coming in to lead Gigster in October. Now, Dickey is launching Untitled Labs, a “search lab” designed to test multiple consumer tech ideas in “social and professional networking, mobility, personal finance, premium services, health & wellness, travel, photography, and dating” before building out one

Untitled Labs is starting off with $2.8 million in seed funding from early Gigster investors and other angels including Founders Fund, Felicis Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, Joe Montana’s Liquid Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Nikita Bier of TBH (acquired by Facebook), and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron.

Investors lined up after seeing the success of Dickey’s last two search labs. In 2007, his Curiosoft lab revamped classic DOS game Drugwars as a Facebook game called Dopewars and sold it to Zynga where it became the wildly popular Mafia Wars. He did it again in 2014, building Gigster out of Liquid Labs and eventually raising $32 million for it in rounds led by Andreessen Horowitz and Redpoint. Dickey had proven he wasn’t just dicking around and his search labs could experiment their way to an A-grade startup.

“I loved learning about B2B but over the years I realized my true passions were in consumer and I kinda got the itch to try something new” Dickey tells me. “These things happen in the life-cycle of a company. The person who starts it isn’t always the same person to take it to an IPO. Gigster’s doing incredibly well. It was just a really vanilla separation in the best interest of all parties.”

Gigster co-founders (from left): Debo Olaosebikan and Roger Dickey

Gigster’s remaining co-founder and CTO Debo Olaosebikan will stay with the startup, but tells me he’ll be “moving away from a lot of the day-to-day management.” He’ll be in a more public facing role, evangelizing the vision of digital transformation to big clients hoping Gigster can equip them with the apps their customers demand. “We’ve gotten to a really good place on the backs of the founders and to get it to the next level inside of enterprise, having people who’ve done this, lived this, worked in enterprise for a long time makes sense for the company.”

Olaosebikan and Dickey both confirm there was no misconduct or other funny business that triggered the CEO’s departure, and he’ll stay on the Gigster board. Dickey tells me that Gigster’s business managing teams of freelance product managers, engineers, and designers to handle product development for big clients has grown revenue every quarter. It now has 1200 clients including almost 10% of Fortune 500 companies. Olaosebikan says “We have a great repeatable sales model. We can grow profitably and then we can figure out financing. We’re not in a hurry to raise money.”

Since leaving Gigster, Dickey has been meeting with investors and entrepreneurs to noodle on what’s in their “idea shelf” — the product and company concepts these techies imagine but are too busy to implement themselves. Meanwhile, he’s seeking a few elite engineers and designers to work through Untitled’s prospects.

Dickey said he came up with the “search labs” definition since he and others had found success with the strategy that no one had formalized. The search labs model contrasts with three other ways people typically form startups:

  • Traditional Startup:Founders come up with one idea and raise from venture firms to build it into a company that’s quick to start and lets them keep a lot of equity, but these startups often fail because they lack product market fit. Examples: Facebook, SpaceX.
  • Startup Accelerators and Incubators: Founders come up with one idea and enter an accelerator or incubator that provides funding and education for lots of startups in exchange for a small slice of equity. Founders sometimes learn their idea won’t work and pivot during the program, which is why accelerators seek to fund great teams, but otherwise operate traditionally. Examples: Y Combinator, 500 Startups.
  • Startup Studio: The studios’ founders work with entrepreneurs to come up with a small number of ideas while keeping a significant of the equity. The entrepreneurs operate semi-autonomously but with the advantage of shared resources. Examples: Expa, Betaworks.
  • Search Lab: Founders conceptualize and experiment with a small number of startup ideas, then focus the company around the most promising prototype. Examples: Untitled Labs, Midnight Labs (turned into TBH)

Dickey tells me that after 80 angel investments, going to every recent Y Combinator Demo Day, and talking with key players across the industry, the search lab method was the best way to hone in on his best idea rather than just going on a hunch. Given that approach, he went with “Untitled” so he could save the branding work for when the right product emerges. Dickey concludes “We’re trying to keep it really barebones. We don’t have an office, don’t have a logo, and we’re not going to make swag. We’re just going to find the next business as efficiently as possible.”

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E-health gets 40% more VC funds in 2018

… a health and fitness platform that received Rs 824 crore ($120 million) in series-C funding led by IDG Ventures, Accel Partners, and Kalaari Capital.
Rupali Mukherjee | TNN

Mumbai: Venture capital (VC) funding in digital health for Indian companies, including private equity and corporate venture capital, jumped nearly 40% in 2018 — aggregating $204 million in 51 deals. There were 48 domestic digital health companies that received VC funding, while six M&A transactions were recorded during the year.

The largest domestic deal was CureFit, a health and fitness platform that received Rs 824 crore ($120 million) in series-C funding led by IDG Ventures, Accel Partners, and Kalaari Capital. In 2017, the largest deal was Practo, a physician search engine used to book appointments, closing $55 million in a series-D round led by Tencent Holdings. For Q4 2018, digital health companies raised $20 million in seven deals, lower from $138 million in 12 deals in the previous quarter, data culled from global research firm Mercom Capital said.

There were six M&A deals in 2018 with most transaction details not disclosed, including online e-pharmacy Medlife’s acquisition of telemedicine platform EClinic24/7. Others included health and fitness platform CureFit’s move to enhance its mental wellness business — This was done with the acquisition of Bengaluru-based mental health and wellness services provider Seraniti. Additionally, Symple Wellness Platform acquired AllizHealth, a provider of cloud-based wellness and preventive healthcare solutions, and e-commerce company Myntra bought Witworks, a maker of smartwatches, in the home and lifestyle space.

Persistent Systems acquired Herald Health (a digital health startup that enables doctors to manage electronic medical records more effectively) for an enterprise valuation of $5.2 million. In another deal, online pharmacy Netmeds acquired telemedicine app JustDoc for a little under $1 million.

The increase in India mirrors the global trend with VC funding up at a huge 32% raised in 698 deals, aggregating $9.5 billion during the year. Total corporate funding for digital health companies — including debt and public market financing — touched $13 billion in 2018, which is a 58% increase year-on-year.

Globally, consumer-centric companies brought in $5.2 billion in 447 deals in 2018, which was higher by 24% in 514 deals in the previous year, while practice-centric companies raised close to $4.3 billion in 251 deals — a 43% jump compared to $3 billion raised in 264 deals in 2017.

The highest funded categories in 2018 include data analytics ($2.1 billion), m-health apps ($1.3 billion), telemedicine ($1.1 billion), mobile wireless technology companies ($847 million), clinical decision support ($714 million), and wearable sensors technology companies ($703 million).

Analytics, m-health apps, telemedicine and mobile wireless technology companies witnessed significant year-on-year (YoY) funding growth, while data analytics remained the top-funded category, the research firm said.

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Portag3 Ventures expands into Europe, adds Hélène Falchier as partner

“I am thrilled to be joining the Portag3 team as we continue to invest in and help build great financial technology companies,” Falchier said. “Portag3’s …

Toronto-based Portag3, an early-stage FinTech investor, announced that Hélène Falchier has joined their team as a new partner.

Based in France, Falchier will assist the Portag3 investment team with a focus on sourcing and driving investment opportunities in Europe.

“Hélène Falchier was a champion of FinTech long before it was en vogue,” Adam Felesky, co-founder and CEO of Portag3, said. “We’re honored to have someone of her calibre and experience driving our investment efforts in Europe. Hélène’s unique leadership skills and expansive network will help us identify the best opportunities and invest in the top entrepreneurs in the region.”

Based in France, Falchier will assist the Portag3 investment team with a focus on sourcing and driving investment opportunities in Europe.

Previously, Falchier was at CNP Assurances for 11 years, where she was CEO of its corporate venture program, Open CNP. She was also CNP’s head of private equity, where she dealt with a portfolio of €7.5 billion with investments in Europe and the U.S.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Portag3 team as we continue to invest in and help build great financial technology companies,” Falchier said. “Portag3’s team, vision, long-term view of investing, active involvement in portfolio companies and global reach attracted me to the platform.”

Falchier also acted as chairperson of the AFIC LP’s Club (French Association for Investors for Growth). Portag3 had formerly worked with Falchier when she was director of Alan, a French online health insurance company, in which both Open CNP and Protag3 had invested in 2016.

Portag3 had recently reported the $198 million closing of Portag3 Ventures II LP, its second FinTech venture fund that hones in on early stage investments in the global financial technology sector. Outside investors include the National Bank of Canada and Intact Financial Corporation. Portag3 says subsequent closings are expected to bring Fund II commitments to over $300 million.

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Community Brands Supports Florida Technology and Innovation at Synapse Summit

Combining emerging technologies with various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) approaches, some of the most promising …

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software for associations, nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations, will highlight its economic development and community involvement initiatives by participating in this week’s Synapse Summit. Organized by Synapse Florida, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded to accelerate innovation in the state of Florida, the event showcases entrepreneurship and innovation happening throughout the region.

This year’s Synapse Summit brings together software and research companies, startups, investors, government employees and members of the business community to explore how technology and innovation create new opportunities. The event prominently features several new applications of technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and robotics. Roughly 5,000 attendees will explore how they can address industry-specific problems and enhance urban experiences using these technologies.

During the conference, Community Brands President and CEO Jean-Paul (JP) Guilbault will serve as a judge in the all-new Synapse Innovation Pitch Madness contest. Combining emerging technologies with various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) approaches, some of the most promising entrepreneurs in Florida will share new business ideas and compete for awareness and funding of their plans. Of nearly 100 companies who applied to participate in the tournament, eight were selected. A globally recognized leader, philanthropist, and tech visionary, Guilbault joins other leaders who will assess each pitch in front of a live audience.

“Throughout the next decade, technology will improve the lives of individuals and change the way society thinks about being productive or even being human,” shared Guilbault. “As entrepreneurs, technologists and leaders, we at Community Brands are focused on how technology can shape experiences and drive social good in our communities. We are thrilled to participate in this year’s program.”

Entrepreneurship is core to Community Brands. Formed in 2017 through a series of portfolio acquisitions, the company enjoys a history of being both young and well-established. Guilbault has led the organization through a period of transformative growth that has produced a rapid expansion of new products, customers, and employees. A leader in business management, customer engagement, and commerce and payment solutions, Community Brands now has more than 100,000 clients being served in nearly 40 countries by 2,400 employees. The company’s entrepreneurial leadership is fueling continuous innovation and growth across the enterprise.

Synapse Summit takes place January 23-24, 2019 in Tampa, Fla., a geographic area that has seen a significant increase in technology-driven entrepreneurship in recent years – and that also serves as the Community Brands headquarters. The event organizers are utilizing Expo Logic by Community Brands, a solution for event registration, onsite badging with face recognition, attendee tracking, and lead retrieval. Representatives from the company will be speaking about the company’s technology and community involvement in booth #158.

Learn more about Community Brands and its Association Solutions, Nonprofit Solutions, K-12 Solutions, and Faith-based Solutions.

About Community Brands

Community Brands is the leading provider of cloud-based software to associations, nonprofits, K-12 schools and faith-based groups. Through innovation and technology, the company empowers more than 100,000 clients and partners to succeed faster, grow stronger and achieve social good. Organizations adopt Community Brands software to manage memberships, career centers, learning, accounting, mobile giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, donations, admissions, enrollments and events. Using these engagement platforms, customers of all sizes create meaningful and lasting experiences for their members, donors, volunteers and families. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, Community Brands serves the social good community in nearly 40 countries. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Community Brands

Brad Bennett

Media Contact

+1 817.517.9965

SOURCE Community Brands

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