Modernizing the Philippine transport system will not only ease travel, but will also offer the public more choices in terms of commuting, and transport providers more tools to deliver efficient service.
iWantSeats, a technology startup that created a booking and ticketing platform for buses and ferries, recognized these opportunities when it launched its system in 2014. It employed technology to improve productivity in and increase accessibility of public transport. It now caters to three major groups of bus and ferry operators based in Luzon.
"We see the potential of iWantSeats to grow. In fact, all of us would want it to succeed because in one way or another, it will impact our lives. We have become so much mobile, and iWantSeats not only creates convenience, it gives us more freedom," said Aisa Mijeno who was among iStartPH's judges.
Mijeno is the CEO of SALt, and is one of the rising Philippine women entrepreneurs especially after she sat in a panel with US President Barack Obama and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Manila in November 2015.
Atty. Kristine Alcantara of AAA Law, Arvin Rafol of FutureNow Ventures, and Armin Reinartz of FNF South East and East Asia Regional Office evaluated the entries for iStartPH. A total of 16 applications from all over the country were received. "The data gathered and accumulated by iWantSeats overtime can be useful to understand commuter and operator behaviors. Insights from these data can be valuable in crafting initiatives and policies for the transportation sector," remarked Rafol.
Aside from the booking and ticketing service, iWantSeats also offers transport providers back-end support. "We understand that innovation is not just about doing something new, but also about making meaningful contributions," said iWantSeats Managing Director Samantha Kapunan. "We hope that by organizing bus and ferry transport, we can unclog Metro Manila and bring more people to the provinces, ultimately bringing development to these areas," she added.
Kapunan, as winner of iStartPH, will join Mijeno as part of the South East Asia delegation to Berlin, Germany in August 13-20, 2016.
"We are proud of our Philippine delegates to Berlin. Their startups are models of the triple bottom line framework. Financial position is not the sole important element for their business, but equally significant to them are the social and environmental impact of their enterprise," said FNF Country Director Wolfgang Heinze.