This article was originally published in the Manila Bulletin. Lars Voedisch, founder of PRecious Communications, and Robert Reyes from the Manila Bulletin discussed the powerful wave of ambition sweeping through the country, the rising prominence of second movers, and how innovation has taken centre stage. There’s a noticeable shift in focus toward solving localised challenges and uplifting the nation.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Philippines, where the startup ecosystem is thriving with boundless potential, entrepreneurs face a strategic crossroads — to pioneer as the first mover or strategically enter the scene as the second mover. The allure of being at the forefront of innovation and disruption often captivates the ambitions of those who wish to etch their mark as pioneers. However, an equally compelling path lies in the footsteps of the second mover — a role that carries its own distinct advantages and challenges.
As this dynamic region continues to beckon startups with promise, the decision to follow in the wake of a first mover entails profound implications that ripple through a venture’s trajectory. This exploration delves into the realm of being the second mover in the SEA and Philippines startup space, uncovering the invaluable lessons and strategic insights that can guide entrepreneurs in navigating this uncharted terrain. By deciphering the intricacies of this strategic choice, startups and visionaries can decode to harness growth in these vibrant and evolving markets, propelling their ventures to unprecedented heights.
I recently spoke with a seasoned expert in the startup ecosystem, Lars Voedisch, who is also the Managing Director and Principal Consultant of PRecious Communication. He shared insightful observations and predictions for the rapidly evolving startup landscape in the Philippines.
Voedisch highlighted the unique advantages and challenges second movers face, the significance of strategic alliances, and the role of PRecious Communications in bolstering startups’ marketing efforts.
Over the past decade, the Philippines has witnessed a remarkable evolution in its startup landscape, transitioning from a modest investment just a decade ago to a staggering billion-dollar investment in the previous year. This meteoric rise signals a promising trajectory for the nation’s startup ecosystem. Key drivers of this growth include strong macroeconomic indicators and optimistic consumer spending buoyed by government investment in infrastructure.
Lars underscored the strategic advantage of second movers, startups that follow in the footsteps of pioneering companies. By learning from the successes and challenges of first movers, second movers can avoid the pitfalls and accelerate their own growth. Our conversation highlighted how startups could identify gaps in the market, fine-tune their entry strategy, and build upon proven concepts.
“The Philippines is at a sweet spot to cook up a startup ecosystem that accelerates and reaches a boiling point. For the second mover, it’s about not starting from scratch and learning from the first mover’s mistakes,” Voedisch emphasised during the conversation. With its high digital savviness, young population, and favourable macroeconomic factors, the Philippines stands poised for further acceleration in the startup arena.
Strategic alliances and partnerships emerged as a crucial element for startups seeking to gain a competitive edge. Voedisch emphasised that startups should identify partners with the same target audience or value chain, fostering mutually beneficial relationships. Collaborating with established players or investors provides credibility and opens doors to shared resources and expertise. This approach allows startups to create a more refined and targeted product or service, capitalising on market insights and customer feedback.
The PRecious Communications boss shared the company’s role extends beyond traditional communication strategies; it acts as a bridge between startups and potential partners, facilitating connections and driving growth.
“We know the movers and shakers. There’s a much stronger ambition of startups in the Philippines to really build a better Philippines tomorrow,” Voedisch said, highlighting how his company leverages its relationships to guide startups toward potential partnerships.
Looking ahead, the outlook for the Philippine startup ecosystem appears highly promising. With investor focus on Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the nation’s startup landscape is set to flourish. Voedisch identified a pivotal moment for startups, where the challenge lies in determining whether to solely conquer the local market or expand globally through strategic partnerships.
As startups evolve, Voedisch noted a shift in focus toward solving localised problems and uplifting the nation. This sense of purpose is expected to drive innovation and create sustainable solutions for the country’s challenges. As second movers gain prominence, strategic alliances become indispensable, and pioneers like PRecious Communications pave the way for enhanced marketing efforts. The Philippines stands poised to solidify its position as a vibrant hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.