Venture Capitalist Paco Caparas Discusses Social Entrepreneurship
This all started with an idea to put up a bee farm to produce and sell honey. It didn’t push through though...no one wanted to get stung!” shares Miguel Francisco “Paco” Caparas with a chuckle. A sweet idea at one point, but there were more pressing matters to tackle. “There are still a lot of basic and fundamental needs for human life that we tend to miss out on. More than 20 million people in our country have no access to clean water throughout the year. We eat a third of the vegetables that our Southeast Asian neighbours eat because we don’t have access, and we also pay the highest for electricity.”
Armed with unique solutions for our unique problems, his company Bainbridge Management Partners have come in to save the day. It boils down to making essential services in the Philippines—as well as in other developing countries—better, cheaper, and more consistently available.
Bainbridge hones in on tech service solutions with the end goal of applying these to our third- world problems with localised innovations. As managing partner, Caparas drives the firm’s key initiatives for project sourcing, fundraising, and investing. Concurrently, Bainbridge is tackling the issues of potable water (NXTVL Water), agriculture (NXTLVL Farms), technology skills education (NXTLVL Academy), and healthcare.
“The technologies we look at are very different from the software startups that consume most other firms,” Caparas begins. “We focus on the biggest challenges facing the developing world today and exhaust all available options for addressing the problem, including developing our own IP and heavily localising global technology solutions. Unlike VCs or other investment firms, we make full commitment to originating and managing the early stages of each of our projects. We don’t just attract capital and play CFO; we set up the business, develop the R&D/IP, generate revenue, and steer the growth plan.”
On Bainbridge’s immediate to-do list is the proliferation of their premium hydroponic produce across supermarkets and restaurants all over Metro Manila and Cebu as well as their affordable drinking water in coastal communities across the country.
On top of that, Paco is also part of FTW Foundation, which stands for For The Women. Here they educate a select group of female scholars on data science and coding, equipping them with vital knowledge for the future.
“Basically,” says Caparas, “We are trying to address what I see as humanity's biggest problems while having great fun with our best friends. I literally can't think of anything else more worthwhile, or anything else I'd rather do.”
Grab a copy of our July issue, featuring five of our 2019 Generation T Honourees: Paloma Urquijo, Nico Bolzico, Cat Arambulo-Antonio, Paco Caparas, Marion Branellec de Guzman!