Katalyst.ph founder Joe Maristela supports startups with US$ 1M investment fund
Armed with a positive outlook in the Philippine startup economy, serial entrepreneur and investor Joe Maristela announced a new wave of investment fund amounting to one million U.S. dollars through his venture capital firm, Katalyst.ph.
We met Joe Maristela back in 2015. He first announced his involvement in the Philippine investment landscape through his US$ 100,000 investment in Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI). Back then, he promised to make several more significant ventures. True to his words, the Katalyst.ph founder appeared to have solidified his presence in the startup scene with his participation in a series of investment rounds.
Only recently, with Maristela's help, SCI got an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Korean web giant Kakao’s venture capital arm KVG.
“In order for a startup to really grow exponentially, they need to have strong strategic partners and investors. It is only after almost a year that I found the right partner for SCI. John Park, the CEO of KVG, and I, simply agreed that there is a very promising future for finance in the ASEAN region, and we believe that SCI will play a critical role in unearthing these potentials,” Maristela said
According to Maristela, a good number of critics have said that SCI "couldn't pull off so many products at the same time at an early stage." But, Maristela believes that "that is what's being innovative is all about," calling the startup a "cockroach startup" or a startup that is very resilient. Aside from his SCI investment, Maristela also put money into Qwikwire and Kntnt Inc.
“I believe the additional one million US$ will go a long way out here given the talent and strong spirit of Filipino entrepreneurs. It will allow us as well to get into several niches that we have not considered investing in yet in the past. These companies don’t need to be in the tech businesses. I believe that there are businesses that are non-tech that can still have great impact, and by that I mean startup businesses that are ready and available to engage 90% of the market within a year or two in operation,” Maristela shared.
Once doing all the work on his own, Maristela is now backed by a new network called the Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN), which was created by concurrent member of Sydney Angels, Rene Benitez. Its reciprocal members include Business Angel Network South East Asia Ltd. (BANSEA), Sydney Angels, and New York (NY) Angels among others. MAIN is helping Maristela in accessing resources and assessing deals.
“I’m always on the lookout for opportunities. If people have ideas that they think can make it big out there, they can always apply for funding through www.katalyst.ph. I always check out the submissions and get in touch directly with the founders if I see a great potential in their ideas. I use my personal money in all my investments and course it through Katalyst, my private investment firm. I do not take outside funds. I carry all the risk, and that’s why I need to carefully assess every startup I come across with looking for funding,” concluded Maristela.
Aside from angel investing, Maristela is also geared towards helping the government develop a startup ecosystem for an inclusive economy.