LocalRide app bags first place on 3rd round of Startup Weekend Bohol

LocalRide app bags first place on 3rd round of Startup Weekend Bohol

A transportation tariff app LocalRide won first place on the third installment of Startup Weekend Bohol last October 1.

Forty-two people, divided into 9 groups later, competed for the third round of Startup Weekend Bohol over the weekend. With the theme “Tourism Edition”, this event focused on innovations created for the tourist industry in Bohol.

A total of three winners were named.

The winning group, composed of Justine Win Cañete, Syd Caguindangan and Algie Caballes, agreed that their different approach of solving the unregulated tariff especially in Panglao as a tourism problem in Bohol gave them the competitive edge. While most groups focused around a travel and tour package app or restaurants and bars apps, their app centered around the transportation fare woes within the island.

The group leader, Cañete, has her fair share of being scammed on different occasions during her travels within the country and abroad. The group also lamented that most local and foreign tourists in Alona Beach, Panglao island, were complaining of unregulated tariffs as most tricycle and “habal-habal”  throw in their own rate, marking up way higher.

Tricycle fares from Tagbilaran to Panglao (and vise versa) are marked from ₱250 – ₱300 while motorcycle fares range from ₱150 – ₱200. On the other hand, bus and jeepney public transportations have a fixed tariff of ₱25.

Caballes noted that pursuing this group project is a challenge itself because they have to present a proposal to the investors and different stakeholders: the LTFRB, the local transportation association, and the Department of Tourism.

LocalRide is an information app so it’s not a competition to Uber and Grab apps. According to Caguindangan, while there is an absence of a booking feature, the app would instead provide the list of available transportation in a locality and it would supply the correct and regulated tariff rates. The tourist or a local can use the app as a guide and report a driver to LTFRB if the tariff is not followed.

With this app, Cañete said this app would bring positive change to the Boholano’s old mindset once launch the app soon. “The locals are so used to complacency with the unregulated tricycle and “habal-habal” fares and there is a need to fix and deal with the issue. It will also push and pressure LTFRB to do their work.”

What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where majority of the participants come from different spectrum: graphic designers, developers, business managers, entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts and experts from their fields. Anyone is welcome to pitch ideas, receive feedback, and form teams to work and develop a working prototype, demo or presentation by Sunday evening. Once the winners are chosen, the groups may decide to pursue their project and receive mentorship and backing from investors.

Originally started in Seattle, the Startup Weekend expanded to 135 countries with over 210, 000 entrepreneurs and counting.

The startup scene in the Philippines started to gain momentum in Manila and Cebu back in 2012. One successful startup from Cebu is MiCab, an alternative answer to the country’s public transportation woes. With controversies surrounding Grab and Uber against the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). MiCab will allow passengers to book a taxi at a low booking fee through a mobile device.

Since then, several startup weekends were launched in different part of the country, including Bohol. The tourist island held it’s first two startup weekends in 2014 and 2016, where attendants were composed of students and professionals.

The turnout for this year’s startup event were composed of professionals: developers, web designers, managers, and entrepreneurs.

For three days, the participants were divided into 9 groups and each individual pitched in ideas that would curb the tourism problems in mainland Bohol. Each group were judged based on 3 points: validation, executive and design, and business model.

Zion Campo, the lead organizer, said a “Tourist Edition” theme allowed the attendees to focus on problems for the Bohol tourism industry, present their ideas to the body and receive instant feedback from the mentors and judges.

Ashley Uy, a volunteer and facilitator of the event, said this year’s participants are different from the previous startups. “A lot of the participants are professional so they have the freedom, the money, and the skillset to move forward, unlike student who joined from previous startups. This time, the skillset are much higher.”

This time, the organizers scaled down the attendees to less than 100, with four or five members in each group. Uy explained it helped having a specialized theme so attendees know what to bring in to the table and think of ways to improve the Bohol tourism sector.

Success or failures of Startup companies

Do most startups end up successful for a few years?

Uy, who joined previous startups within the country, explained that most startup companies usually have less than 1% chance of success. Participants of startups in the Philippines are not able to pursue their projects because most have different careers with family obligations. This is also due to to lack of support from the government. Aside from going through the difficult process of registering and accreditation of a business, the government’s current system or infrastructure do not have the capacity to take in local talents and utilize them.

Through these startups initiatives, Uy believed that participants will be motivated to help their grass root community, get their voices heard, and bring change.

Campo was also optimistic about the overall result of the event and hoped the winning team and other groups would pursue their projects despite hardships. “It will be a win-win situation for us, for them, and for the LGUs. It could be a win for the Bohol tech community and startup weekend,” he said.

The Startup Weekend Bohol, held last September 29- October 1, was spearheaded by TechStars StartUp Weekend Bohol, Bohol ICT along with their volunteers and co-presented by the DOT and the Province of Bohol.

To organize your own startup or learn more about Startup Weekend Bohol, visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StartupWeekendBohol/.

By: Penny Lyn P. Cunanan

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Techstar Startup Weekend Bohol

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