Scott Bales: Manila’s StartUp Scene Heating Up

According to Noreen Bautista of BCYF Scott is interested in coming back to the Philippines this coming November to conduct more Lean StartUp workshops…find out why Scott is so interested…

Lean Startup Machine’s Scott Bales reveals opportunities and challenges for Philippine startups

Repost from

Following a visit to Tokyo earlier this year, the Lean Startup Machine continued its steady trek through Asia as mentor Scott Bales visited Manila for a one-day workshop last week.

The event was attended by around 40 entrepreneurs, product managers, and corporate executives who work in innovation and are interested in learning lean startup methodology. The Lean Startup Machine’s arrival in the Philippines was co-organized by Philippine telcoSmart and project-based job website Freelancer. [Update: The event was likewise co-organized byCBS Social Enterprise Asia and Smart subsidiary Voyager Innovations]

How is the Philippine startup scene doing?

In a conversation with Scott (who’s also the founder of Moven) we talked about his impressions of the Philippine tech and startup ecosystems. He notes that one of the challenges is the low adoption of smartphones, something which hampers the startup ecosystem’s growth.

The proliferation of cheap smartphones in the market can help boost e-commerce and m-commerce. Right now, not many Filipinos have access to commerce-related apps. “If we have a way of more digital communications like chat apps, [we] can see a proliferation of businesses on top of that,” he says. But phone-makers and telcos need to need to find a cost-effective way to get more smartphones into the hands of Filipinos.

He also notes that homegrown brands such as Cherry Mobile and MyPhone are slowly helping Filipinos have access to smartphones. This is something IDC also noted this year.

Businesses must find a way to interact

Scott also believes in investing in “solving real people problems.” He says businesses that will thrive are those that tap into communities of people, possibly through technology. He adds that the younger generation – Gen Y – are “forming human relationships inside technology” very adeptly.

Having the desire to be around humans and interacting with them is the way to solve today’s problems, he adds.

But despite these challenges, Scott says Filipinos are entrepreneurial in nature – a good sign in building a startup ecosystem. The people’s soft skills and hardware engineering prowess are the strong characteristics that he finds unique in the country’s pool of talent.

Manila’s startup scene is heating up, Scott says, and so he plans to hold an entire series of workshops when he next visits the country.


(Editing by Steven Millward)

Filipino StartUps Represent!


Yvone Loremia was recently recognized as a 10 Young Innovator (1 of 10) by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She was selected for her Tudlo Disaster and Emergency Application, a multi-purpose information platform for emergency and disaster situations.




Two Philippine StartUps make the GEW 50, “a list of the 50 most innovative new companies competing in the Startup Open, a competition that recognizes startups with high-growth potential” by the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Jossy Onwude, 
Cebu, Philippines

Rolly Rulete, 
Davao City, Philippines

“These elite ventures will now vie for a handful of prizes with the winners announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 18-24).”


Philippines: Social Business Capital of the World

Flag map of the Philippines

Flag map of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a casual conversation with Tony Meloto, Gawad Kalinga Founder, he emphatically shared that he wanted the Philippines to be known as the “social business/entrepreneurship capital of the world.” This vision was one of the driving forces behind the recently concluded Global Social Business Summit held at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan just last October 2-5, 2013.


Day’s after (Oct. 8), publised “Philippines: The Innoation drive that turned social” written by Jonathan Calan. The article mentions how several of the initiatives currently being incubated at IdeaSpace have a decidedly ‘social’ ‘for the good of many’ slant vs. the typical profit, money making motive. The article notes Philippine Social StartUps like LifeTudlo, Mirand, and

While not in the technology space (in today’s buzzword sense), the international recognition garnered in the past few years by social startups Human Nature and Rags2Riches cannot also be discounted. More to come? Possibly so in both the startup and social startup scene.


In the framework of lean startup, we call this LEAN IMPACT.


Lean Impact is About:

  • Figuring out what creates real impact and discarding what doesn’t
  • Shortening the time in the “create – measure – learn” cycle
  • Measuring the things that matter
  • Operating with fewer wasted resources
  • Leveraging forward-thinking technologies to achieve our goals
  • Gathering continual feedback from our community
  • Adapting funding sources to foster innovation
  • Creating a culture that sees failure as a learning that brings us closer to a solution
  • Encouraging agility in the social sector
  • Eliminating mission creep influenced by funding


Do you want to help the Philippines? Are you a social entrepreneur? Then maybe the Philippines as a Social Business Capital of the World is not a far off vision




 – Guita Gopalan, LSManila Organizer


What Happened at Lean StartUp in Action

Last October 3, 2013, Scott E. Bales one of the mentors of Lean StartUp Machine gave the “Lean StartUp in Action” course at the Voyager Office in Ortigas Center. Attended by over 50+ Filipino Entrepreneurs the event served as a promise of more things to come.

According to Scott E. Bales: “Lean Startup is a field-tested philosophy that provides you with a toolset to minimize failure and increase your chances of success.” LSIA is Scott’s own application of Eric Reis’ bestseller.

Scott upon reading Eric’s book knew how powerful it was but like many, stumbled on how to implement lean startup principles in his own endeavors. Scott has been a serial entrepreneur for the past seven years and has combined his own learnings and approach to building lean startups. He has built two of his companies purely on the Lean StartUp principles – including Moven! According to Scott, Lean StartUp “is a science for transforming an idea to a functioning new business with minimal risk, wastage and learning.”

Below is the LSIA presentation Scott has made available on SlideShare:

What happens next? Scott and the organizers from BCYF-CBS, Voyager, Noreen Bautista and Jojie Azurin are working on inviting Scott (who is based in Singapore) back on a regular basis to conduct the his other Lean StartUp modules.

What else is coming? Well we’re 200+ email addresses away from Unlocking Manila for Lean StartUp Machine. When we get to unlock Manila, the LSM Team will come to the Philippines to conduct LSM here. Click here to Unlock Manila.