On Wednesday, October 12, at the Solaire Resort and Casino Manila, Round One, the nation’s first equity crowdfunding platform, was formally unveiled. After the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its crowdfunding laws and regulations a few months earlier, conceptualization of the platform started toward the end of 2019. As a result, Round One received permission to start doing business on February 23 of this year.
Through the platform, business owners seeking funding can start annual public securities sales campaigns for up to 50 million pesos. Round One does in-depth due diligence on investors and business owners (sometimes referred to as “issuers”) on the platform. Issuers must upload investment offering materials and specify all pertinent information about their fundraising objective, including the share price and the conditions of the securities being issued, in order to maintain transparency.
On the other hand, only registered and verified investors may commit to campaigns. All monetary transactions are safekept by Round One’s partner banks and financial institutions through the duration of a campaign to ensure the proper handling of investor cash.
“Round One shall provide a good holistic solution for entrepreneurs not just as a fundraising avenue, but also in attracting experts from all sectors to mentor them to grow and improve.” said Ms. Marian Peña, Chairman and President of Eastern Securities Development Corporation (ESDC), the stock brokerage that manages and operates Round One.
IN PHOTO (L-R): Ms. Charmaine Co, Marketing Head of Round One; Mr. Brandon Leong, Business Unit Lead of Round One; Ms. Marian Peña, Chairman and President of ESDC; Commissioner Kelvin Lee of the SEC; and Mr. Willy Ocier, Director of ESDC.
Present during the launch was SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lee, who delivered the keynote address and lauded Round One for making a “bold move in a new and fast-moving industry.”
IN PHOTO (L-R): Ms. Charmaine Co; Ms. Christina Leong, VP for Research of ESDC; Mr. Brandon Leong; Ms. Marian Peña; Dr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Honorary Chair & Treasurer and Director of Trade Facilitation & CSR of PCCI; and Mr. Willy Ocier.
In addition, Dr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Honorary Chair & Treasurer and Director of Trade Facilitation & CSR, and Ms. Corazon Halili-Dichosa, the Board of Investment’s Executive Director of Industry Development Services offered messages of support. Mr. Winston Damarillo, CEO and founder of Talino Labs Ventures, spoke to issuers on his own experience of crowdfunding abroad.
Also in attendance were SEC Director Vicente Graciano P. Felizmenio, Jr. of the Markets and Securities Regulation Dept.; Ms. Alegria Limjoco, Founder and Chairperson of the Philippine Franchise Association; Atty. Marion Ivy Decena, Director of the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute; Mr. Pierangelo A. Dominguez, Head of the Quezon City Local Economic Investment Promotions Office; and various members of startup and SME enablers, private equity investors, entrepreneurs, and association and institution partners.
IN PHOTO: The Round One team with the first cohort of issuers and representatives from QBO Innovation Hub.
Among Round One’s first cohort of committed issuers are Alaga Health Inc., Burket.PH Inc., Cocotel International Inc., IOL Inc., LGUSuite Inc., Raven Global Inc., Filipay (Service Economy Applications Inc.), Tipaklong Sustainable Mobility Corp., and UNAWA. The cohort was presented during the launch through a panel discussion, where they discussed their forthcoming fundraising campaigns on the platform and engaged the audience’s questions.
“Our goal as a platform is quite simple: for Round One be an avenue for every entrepreneur, startup, and SME to access every kind of support they need on their journey,” shared Mr. Brandon Leong, Business Unit Lead of Round One. “We’re excited to officially go live so that all these issuers can finally launch their campaigns and get themselves out there.”
Round One is a division of Eastern Securities Development Corporation (ESDC), a stock brokerage with the proper registration and a longstanding participant in the Philippine Stock Exchange. The platform, which is governed by the SEC, acts as a financial middleman between startups, SMEs, and potential investors.
The goal of Round One is to enable Filipinos to make investments in one another. Visit www.roundone.ph for additional information.