Last March 28, 2023, Sprout Solutions and Kaya Founders held SaaScon PH, the country’s biggest SaaS (Software as a Service) conference.
Local industry and enterprise leaders gathered at the Marriott Grand Ballroom to discuss B2B SaaS.
Attendees were given the opportunity to network with influential tech personalities and discover the most relevant homegrown SaaS solutions across multiple industries.
Did you miss the event? Here’s a recap of what else went down to get you up to speed.
Understanding Technology’s Role in Digital Transformation
Patrick Gentry, CEO & Co-Founder of Sprout Solutions
Host RJ Ledesma kicked off SaaScon by welcoming attendees to SaaScon PH. He then gave the floor to Sprout’s CEO and co-founder, Patrick Gentry, for his opening remarks. Patrick’s talk touched on the growing B2B SaaS sector and how it helps companies succeed in a more digital world.
After an inspiring opening, attendees listened as Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary, Hon. Ivan John E. Uy, discussed two key topics in a video message:
- What the Philippine public sector has encountered while adopting digital tools
- How to create a stronger, more innovative culture of digital transformation that meets people’s needs better
SaaS & Artificial Intelligence’s Rise, Broken Down
The next talk spotlighted SaaS and artificial intelligence (AI). Specifically, The Boston Consulting Group’s Managing Director, Anthony Oundjian, showed how these technologies had fared these last few years in his topic “The Global State of SaaS and AI in 2023”.
Anthony Oundjian, Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group
Anthony discussed the SaaS market’s expected growth and the several factors driving it, including more organizations using SaaS solutions.
He presented the significant trends shaping the sector, including analytics aiding user growth and increased adoption. Anthony then tackled generative AI and shared what it could be used for in the present and future.
Local Businesses & Their Stories About Adopting Technology
Several Philippine enterprise leaders recounted their journey toward digital transformation at SaaScon PH. JG Summit Holdings, Inc.’s Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng and Ayala Corporation’s Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala were the first to share their insights. The panel discussion was entitled “Out with the Old: How Philippine Business Leaders are Adopting Tech to Keep Their Foothold” and was moderated by Paul Santos, Managing Partner of Wavemaker Partners.
From left to right: Paul Santos, Managing Partner of Wavemaker Partners | Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Senior Vice President, Digital Transformation and Corporate Services of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. | Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, Head of Business Development & Digital Transformation of the Ayala Corporation
They let everyone know their strategies, priorities, and what they learned while digitizing their businesses.
From left to right: Kit Sumabat, Head of Corporate Partner Products of Sprout Solutions | Rolando Zubiri II, Senior HR Manager of Jetti Petroleum Inc. | Russell De Ocampo RN, MBA, Ph.D., Human Resources Director of PSG Global Solutions | Carolynne Sioson, Country Manager of Adventus IT Services Philippines, Inc.
Philippine SME leaders chimed in as well. SaaScon’s panel discussion after lunch highlighted three SMEs and how digital transformation helped them grow. The topic was titled “From Nice-to-have to Business Critical: SMEs Embrace Software,” where Adventus IT Services Philippines, Inc.’s Carolyne Sioson, PSG Global Solutions’ Russell De Ocampo RN, MBA, Ph.D., and Jetti Petroleum’s Rolando Zubiri II graced the session together with Sprout’s very own Kit Sumabat, Head of Corporate and Partner Products.
New SaaS Tools Take Center Stage
SaaScon attendees also got their first look at new homegrown B2B SaaS solutions, including those shortlisted for IMPACT ‘23, an eight-week accelerator challenge for early-stage startups, and their innovative B2B solutions.
The Crowd’s Stage Perspective at SaaScon PH
We encouraged eligible startups to present solutions under these categories.
- From Hire to Retire: Managing the Employee Life Cycle
- The Future of SaaS: Enabling a Fintech-powered Landscape
- What’s Next: The Post-ERP Era is Here
Ten finalists were selected to join an eight-week accelerator program. The top three finalists presented their solutions at SaaScon PH.
Introducing the IMPACT ‘23 Finalists
Raya Buensuceso, Kaya Founders’ Managing Director, introduced IMPACT ‘23’s finalists during the second half of SaaScon PH: Umwelt.AI, Smile, and Olivia.
Raya Buensuceso, Managing Director of Kaya Founders
Umwelt.AI is an AI-powered employee experience management platform (EEXM). Nikki's intelligent AI bot connects with team members and collects their feedback. Company leaders can use these insights to inform and make more effective decisions.
Vishal Chopra, CEO & Founder of Umwelt.AI
Meanwhile, Smile makes employment data accessible for smarter credit decisions. It stores this information in one API (Application Programming Interface). Smile collects regular employee, freelancer, and gig worker data.
Jan Pabellon, Chief Product Officer of Smile API
Finally, Olivia lets users turn receipts and invoices into reports and digital assets within seconds. Its AI and cloud-based system means user data is safe from prying eyes. As IMPACT '23's grand winner, the app won up to $100,000 from Kaya Founders in equity investment, among other prizes.
Jocs Pantastico, CEO of Olivia
A Deep Dive Into SaaS & Supporting Digital Startups
SaaScon continued discussing SaaS and supporting digital startups. The topic “Lessons for Growing a SaaS Startup in the Philippines” featured a powerhouse founder panel comprised of WIZ.AI’s Jennifer Zhang, klikit’s Christopher Withers, and Komunidad’s Felix Ayque.
From left to right: Patrick Gentry, CEO & Co-Founder of Sprout Solutions | Felix Ayque, Founder & CEO of Komunidad | Christopher Withers, Founder & CEO of klikit | Jennifer Zhang, Co-Founder & CEO of WIZ.AI
All three startup leaders discussed growing tech businesses in the Philippines and what people think about SaaS. Patrick led this insightful discussion.
SaaScon also brought investing in SaaS to light with the topic “In it to Win it: Why invest in SaaS? Why invest now?”. Dirk Van Quaquebeke (BEENEXT PTE. LTD), Harris Yang (Softbank Ventures Asia), and Tommy Teo (Cercano Management) explained why investors should fund appealing SaaS companies now. Moreover, they guided everyone through assessing a SaaS startup’s sustainability and finding opportunities in a volatile market.
From left to right: Harris Yang, Vice President - Southeast Asia of Softbank Ventures Asia | Tommy Teo, Managing Director & Head of Southeast Asia of Cercano Management | Dirk Van Quaquebeke, Managing Partner of BEENEXT PTE. LTD
Kaya Founders, Brankas, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)’s leaders then came together for the conference’s last panel discussion titled “Supporting Industry-shaping Digital Startups: Breaking the Barriers to Success.” Here, Paulo Campos, Todd Schweitzer, and Naveen Asrani emphasized that key parties must support the Philippine tech industry as the country braces for the next industrial revolution.
From left to right: Naveen Asrani, Head - Strategic Growth, Digital Native Businesses and SaaS, ASEAN, Amazon Web Services (AWS) | Paulo Campos, Managing General Partner of Kaya Founders | Todd Schweitzer, Co-Founder & CEO of Brankas
Wrapping Up SaaScon PH
After the last talk, Paulo stayed on stage for his closing remarks. He first shared his key takeaways and his thoughts on the future of the local SaaS market. Paulo also encouraged future tech business leaders to achieve their goals.
Paulo Campos, Managing General Partner of Kaya Founders
The event ended by flashing the same-day edit video highlighting SaaScon’s best moments and a raffle draw. It was a day full of remarkable insights and great networking opportunities.
To our SaaScon attendees and event partners, thank you for making this event possible! We hope to see and work with you again soon.
Check out our Events page for more updates about Sprout’s upcoming events. Or, visit our blog for more insights on HR tech solutions.