DOST invests in blockchain startup Twala for its digital signature innovation
Blockchain startup Twala has received a P4.6 million grant fund from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) to further help companies power their remote or hybrid work arrangements through its digital signature solution.
The fund is part of the semiannual PCIEERD Grant Fund Program, which aims to help startups overcome research and development (R&D) roadblocks, strengthen intellectual property, establish initial market traction, refine business models, and prepare business continuity plans. For its first cycle this year, PCIEERD granted funds to startups that embody its theme, “Powering Startups to Thrive in the Next Normal”.
Through its blockchain-based digital signature solution, Twala is providing companies with an innovative and secure way to legally sign their documents. With companies increasingly shifting to full-remote or hybrid work arrangements, Twala’s digital signature solution will help them save money and effort as they will no longer need to print and courier documents for sign-off, enabling them to thrive in the next normal. Twala also helps companies reduce fraud risks because all documents signed within its platform are tamper-proof, auditable, and independently verifiable.
Jeffrey Reyes, Chief Executive Officer of Twala, said they will use the fund to improve the security and user experience of its digital signature platform as well as accelerate the R&D activities for its Twala Blockchain Network. This is to help advance blockchain’s practical application in the Philippines and support DOST’s new blockchain training program for its researchers to explore further use cases of the technology.
“We thank the DOST-PCIEERD for their trust and support of our technology. Despite its increasing adoption, blockchain’s full potential is yet to be realized. Our blockchain-based digital signature solution proves the technology’s immense potential beyond cryptocurrency and NFTs. Right now, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. We want to leverage our experience and knowledge to dive further into this trend and uncover what more can be done with blockchain and how it can improve our lives,” Reyes noted.
Selection for the PCIIERD Grant Fund Program is competitive, with only six startups out of 38 applicants this cycle receiving grants. The other five selected startups are Olivia Technology Group, Hubware, Creatorbox, Brooky, and Cerebro.
Russell Pili, Chief of DOST-PCIEERD Technology Transfer and Commercialization Division, said they are looking to grant funds to more startups in the future. “The focus of the DOST is on technology, strengthening the foundations of the tech, validating the product, improving the tech, and refining your business model in the process. Unfortunately, these incur costs, and not all startups have the capacity to access expertise, equipment, and the help needed to protect their intellectual property, reach out to more people, and get feedback for their products or services. This is where the Startup Grant Fund comes in. Since we started the program in 2021, we evaluated a total of 120 applicants and approved 27 startups for the grant. We hope to help more startups in the coming year and increase the number of grantees over time.”