IGNITE 2023: A Conversation About the Future and Essence of Innovation

IGNITE 2023: A Conversation About the Future and Essence of Innovation

This year, IGNITE celebrated its 7th edition of championing innovation at the largest conference in the Philippines. Held on October 12th and 13th at the Fairmont Makati, the heart of Manila’s business district, IGNITE 2023 highlighted the essence of innovation with a fresh theme – INNOVATE TO ELEVATE: Igniting the Future of AInnovation Now.

Since its inception in 2017, IGNITE has been the driving force behind fostering connections between startups, venture capitalists, investors, large enterprises, and government officials within the Philippines and the broader ASEAN region. This year, the conference has proven yet again its growing influence and significance.

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Photo: IGNITE 2023

Organized jointly by TechShake, a leading innovation consulting firm, dentsu X, a renowned Japanese advertising agency, and Brainsparks, the first and only founder-focused Incubator in the Philippines that “turns Dreamers into Founders”, the conference became a pivotal rendezvous point for startups, investors, corporations, and government officials from the Philippines, ASEAN, and beyond.

Lined with enriching keynote sessions, engaging panel discussions, eye-opening pitch sessions, and hands-on workshops, the conference showcased the breadth and depth of the AI innovation landscape.

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Photo: IGNITE 2023

Opening the conference was Kazuo Nakamura, the executive director of JETRO Manila, whose poignant words set the stage for the discussions to come. He remarked, “In this rapidly expanding digital economy, we are able to take advantage of AI and the social and economic benefits it brings. Through this gathering of startups, incubators and accelerators, investors, and more, we have the opportunity to expand this pool of knowledge on AI that further improves our quality of life.”

Among the standout sessions, Vijay Tirathrai, Managing Director of Techstars, shed light on the intricate world of venture capital valuations in his talk “Fundraising: Have VCs been fair in Valuing Startups?” Another notable highlight was the keynote address by Anis Uzzaman, the Founder & CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures.

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Photo: IGNITE 2023

Day 1 was studded with highlights like the Shell LiveWIRE Final Pitch Day. The session was inaugurated by Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldlaba, who stated, “With innovation and collaboration, we can grow and develop a robust Philippine startup ecosystem for a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economy.” Among the top three tech startups, Farmvocacy emerged as the grand winner, showcasing their revolutionary fintech platform dedicated to boosting farmers’ incomes while championing sustainable agriculture.

Further enriching the first day was the X-Hub Tokyo Pitch Session, with 10 Tokyo-based startups unveiling their digital transformation strategies and a forward-looking panel by Mynavi Corporation focusing on the future of work.

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Photo: IGNITE 2023

One of the standout panel discussions titled Accelerating Growth of Businesses was steered by the accomplished John Aguilar, Creator and Host of The Final Pitch. The panel featured eminent personalities, including William “Billy” Valtos Jr of UBx, Takahisa Ohira of Deloitte Tohmatsu Ventures Support, and Carlos Aboitiz of AboitizPower.

Day 2 of the conference presented the Young Founders Summit and a range of enlightening workshops, notably from IBM Technology, Techstars, Penbrothers, and 10XME Academy.

However, the climax of the conference was the much-anticipated Startup World Cup x WILDFIRE Pitch Competition. Competing amidst intense competition, SolX Technologies Inc. emerged victorious. Recognized for their revolutionary digital energy solution that aids local businesses in optimizing energy consumption for both economic and environmental impact, SolX Technologies Inc. truly embodies the spirit of the conference’s theme.

This momentous competition was made possible through the generous support of prize sponsors, including Amazon Web Services, German Entrepreneurship Asia, 10XME Academy, e27, and 917 Ventures portfolio companies – KonsultaMD, m360, iNQUiro, and PetPal.

Furthermore, the success of IGNITE 2023 would not have been possible without the invaluable support of its sponsors: JETRO, X-Hub Tokyo Global Startup Accelerator, Shell LiveWIRE, Mynavi, Penbrothers, Sprout Solutions, IBM/DIGITEER, f(dev), 917 Ventures, and Clark Global City.

As IGNITE 2023 wrapped up, it left behind an invigorated community eager to harness the power of innovation and steer the Philippines toward a brighter, technologically advanced future.