European interests in the Philippines have gone from strength to strength this year, with up-and-coming startups attracting funding from established European investment groups. As a promising emerging market, foreign investment has been mainly targeted at business and trade related startups.
Carmudi Philippines, a growing vehicle advertisement portal, received funding from two of Europe’s most prominent venture capitalists, Tengelmann Ventures and Holtzbrinck Ventures, earlier this year.
Both firms invested a combined total of $25 million in Carmudi’s global operations, with a large proportion of the funds being used to expand the company’s dealings in Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Carmudi was founded by German entrepreneurs Stefan Haubold and Fritz Simons and began its operations in the Philippines last January 2014. The website, which aims to better connect car buyers and sellers, now employs over 50 people in its offices in Makati and Cebu and serves the majority of car dealerships in Manila as well as other areas such as Davao and Calabarzon.
Carmudi’s Country Manager, Subir Lohani, has stated that the car advertisement startup is an excellent example of why foreign investors should consider the Philippines when looking for investment opportunities abroad.
"We are seeing a lot of growth in the local automotive industry. Car manufacturers are selling very well for the past years and the middle class is growing steadily. This gives the Philippines an edge among other markets in Southeast Asia," Lohani stated.
Tengelmann Ventures is one of the most well established investment groups in Europe. With an interest in internet based companies, the group has financed over 40 startup phase businesses globally. Dealing mainly in retail, the group now boasts over 4,000 stores and employs more than 80,000 people in 15 countries.
Holzbrink Ventures is one of Europe’s biggest investors, with a particular focus on companies in their startup stage. The group has supplied funds to over 120 startup businesses, including successful internet companies like Lazada, Zalando, Groupon, Experteer, and Zalora.
Carmudi Philippines is a member of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), a bilateral foreign chamber that promotes European interests in the Philippines as well as Philippine interests in Europe. With more than 700 members, ECCP offers a strong business network that potentially translates to multiple business opportunities.