Philippines: New VC Fund Gobi-Core Debuts Investments in Healthtech Startup MariaHealthby Tom Noda January 22, 2019
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 Edukasyon.ph.
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,”
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.