Manufacturing, BPO app development may attract venture capital

Von Lawrence Casiraya

Software developers making applications for industries like manufacturing may have a head start in attracting venture capital, likewise for companies focused on making solutions for the booming call center and business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

These are among the top five markets in the Philippines that look promising for venture capitalists, as enumerated by Paco Sandejas, managing partner for U.S.-based Narra Venture Capital, during a gathering hosted by the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).

?Software developers have a good market in SEIPI companies. Solutions like supply chain and quality management,? Sandejas noted. SEIPI (Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.) includes multinational companies like Intel Microelectronics Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc., which have established operations in the country.

Aside from manufacturing and outsourced services, Sandejas also mentioned prospects of capital infusion for software developers that make enterprise applications as well as those that cater to the government and the education sector.

?Even if there"s a big hole in the government in terms of budget, it looks promising because of the administration"s thrust towards computerization. This extends to the education sector with applications like for example, thin client computing,? he added.

Compared with other technology segments, software is attracting a large amount of venture capital. In the U.S., according to Sandejas, more than US$1.1 billion went to software companies in the first quarter of this year alone.

Established in 2002, Narra Venture Capital is among a few venture capitalists present in the country. It works with Silicon Valley-based TallWood Venture Capital, founded by renowned Filipino technopreneur Dado Banatao. Locally, Narra has partnered with Ayala Corporation.

Sandejas manages Narra"s investment portfolio in the Philippines through its local affiliate BGN Ventures Inc.

Narra recently made its first local investment in Stratpoint Technologies (formerly Sequel Solutions), which makes enterprise applications for industries like pharmaceutical and telecommunications. Sandejas, however, did not disclose the exact amount of capital invested in Stratpoint.

Narra usually initially invests around a million dollars in start-up companies in the U.S., according to Sandejas.