SINGAPORE (May 31): The hunt for bargains in Southeast Asian’s red-hot technology arena is finally driving investors to the Philippines.

Galvanised by Alibaba-founder Jack Ma’s investment in payments outfit Mynt, early-stage investors have begun to explore opportunities in one of the region’s fastest-growing economies, which since 2012 has drawn but an iota of Southeast Asian venture capital investment. A youthful population, growing middle class and improving smartphone and broadband penetration is now attracting the intention of tech financiers.

Wavemaker Partners LLC, which hosted a pitching session this month for the likes of Pavilion Capital, Aletra Capital Partners BV and International Finance Corp., said at least five local startups have initiated talks with potential investors. Others getting in on the action include 500 Startups and Gobi Ventures Inc. The latter outfit, which focuses on Singapore and China, is launching its first Philippine seed fund next month of about US$5 million to US$10 million ($6.7 million to $13.4 million), Gobi ASEAN Managing Partner Kay Mok Ku said. Its average deal size will range from US$250,000 to US$750,000.

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