Brand & Business: Talino Pioneers Inclusion Technology Venture-Building with the Launch of Three Corporate Venture-Backed Startups

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Designed to join the ranks of Southeast Asia’s aspiring unicorns, inclusiontech venture builder Talino Venture Labs has partnered with corporate venture funds of market leaders to build highly innovative regional startups. These companies include a digital insurance platform called Saphron; a digital supply chain and marketplace enabler for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) called Asenso; and a regulatory and compliance automation platform called Unawa.

Together, Talino’s portfolio of startups aim to drive inclusion and access for the region’s underserved, helping unleash Southeast Asia’s exploding Internet economy.

According to e-Conomy SEA2019, a paper released by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, there are over 360 million mobile users in Southeast Asia today—90% of them mobile-first. The Internet economy has breached $100 billion, more than tripling over the last four years, and is expected to further triple to $300 billion by 2025. The Philippine Internet economy alone is set to reach $25 billion worth of gross merchandise value by 2025—more than triple its current value today.

“What this immediately points out is that we in Southeast Asia are no longer just in the sidelines of the Internet economy,” shared Winston Damarillo, Chief Executive Officer of Talino Venture Labs and Executive Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies. “We have a large, digital-savvy, and tech-driven population that now consumes online. But, there is still a huge underserved market at the base of the pyramid. For us to fully realize the potential of our market, we need to empower the undeserved with more inclusive digital products and services.”

“Talino Venture Labs, the first inclusiontech venture builder in the region, was created precisely to address this large unmet need. We build tech startups in partnership with industry leaders, to drive tech-accelerated inclusion and access for Asia’s emerging economies with scale and agility.” 

A new model for venture-building

After building companies and products for Silicon Valley and for Asia’s industry leaders, Damarillo is now entering a new chapter as an entrepreneur, as Talino builds startups that aim to create massive value and impact by empowering emerging markets that may otherwise have been left unserved by mainstream businesses. Each of its startups is created in partnership with industry leaders, to ensure deep industry knowledge and scale.

This is a model that Damarillo calls “Corporate VC 3.0.” He explained:

“Corporate VC 3.0 promotes the creation of startups from within the established firm, not as a side-venture but as an agile vehicle to further develop and expand their core business. It is a model that appeals particularly to the third generation in large family-run corporations, who are tasked with taking the business to the next level and tools and technologies of the generation.

“Large established companies must realize that in order for them to serve the next 100 million people, they have to scale downwards, and turn to digital and mobile to reach the greatest number of people,” he pointed out.

“Instead of building more bank branches, for example, we need to make financial services accessible to people who have never been to a bank before. Imagine the power you can unlock when you are able to serve the ‘underground economy’.”

Talino’s portfolio of inclusiontech startups

In just one year, Talino has already built three inclusiontech startups that enable inclusion and access in complementary spheres.

> Saphron

Addressing the severe lack of social protection and safety nets is Saphron, an inclusive insurtech startup formed in partnership with one of the Philippines’s leading insurers, Pioneer Insurance, and the country’s largest microinsurance provider, CARD Pioneer Microinsurance Inc (CPMI), an affiliate of the country’s largest microfinance institution, CARD MRI. Together, they aim to “make insurance radically accessible,” by offering micro and modular insurance products that offer protection for individuals and families from all walks of life.

Within its first nine months of operations, Saphron launched the first-ever microinsurance agent platform called NAN.AI, to drastically cut the onboarding process of new microinsurance customers from months to mere minutes. NAN.AI is now on board to process one million microinsurance policies. Saphron also powered the digital arm of Pioneer Insurance called, which retails health, motorcycle, and travel insurance on a completely online platform.

Since its launch in March, the Saphron has raised over $1 million worth of seed funding and is now a two-time country finalist in acclaimed startup competitions Startup World Cup 2020 and SoGal.

> Asenso

Addressing financial and market access for MSMEs is the inclusive fintech Asenso, an end-to-end microbusiness accelerator that offers fair and responsible capital, an integrated supply chain, broader market access, smarter rewards and loyalty campaigns, and microinsurance to sari-sari stores and agripreneurs. It was forged in partnership with CARD MRI.

Its chatbot-assisted microloan platform, Puhunan, is now on beta release to selected CARD members. Asenso also won the Asian Development Bank’s AgriFin innovation Challenge 2019, besting 39 other startups from various countries in the region, winning a cash prize of $10,000 and the potential to pilot its agrifintech solution to an ADB project.

> Unawa

Addressing access to legal, regulatory, and compliance services is Talino’s newest startup, the regulatory tech (“regtech”) startup, Unawa. A partnership between Talino and PJS Law, one of the leading legal firms in the Philippines, Unawa aims to take away the headache of consumer protection and data privacy, enabling startups and enterprises alike to focus on delivering their core businesses and unlock greater value.

“At the heart of our work at Talino is the belief that we can build the region’s next unicorns by unlocking the power of our previously untapped sectors. When we empower everyone from the base of the pyramid to first-time entrepreneurs, everybody wins,” Damarillo concluded.

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