The partners bridge the gap from talent to creation – and eventually to the marketplace.

Conferences are known for teaching, inspiring, and connecting people. But that’s not enough, said Winston Damarillo, Amihan’s Executive Chairman and founder of Developers Connect Philippines (DevCon).

“Conferences are the perfect venue to challenge people,” Damarillo said. Thus Fire It Up! Amihan & DevCon Mobile App Challenge was born. After helping thousands of young developers learn from their peers, the DevCon challenge took the organization’s mission a step further and pushed talented young programmers and teams to create the next hot mobile app using Firebase, a platform designed to help developers build high-quality apps with ease.

Emerging as a winner of the contest was Tueri, a Tinder-esque app that matches tutors and tutees. The developers found in Firebase a platform where everything they needed was available: analytics, notifications, authentication, and other things that developers may need in building an app. As the champions of the competition, Tueri’s creators, Team White Cloak, brought home a prize of P100,000.

Special mentions from the competition were iTravel, a travel app for millennials that involves geolocation, and partnerships with hotels and airlines, among others; and Taravel, an app that recommends a travel itinerary based on an emotion, inspired by the Filipino love for “hugot.” Both teams took note of how Firebase’s services and cloud database allowed them to minimize backend work and focus on building the apps themselves.

“This is why we decided to use Firebase: because it allows people to skip the boring stuff and focus on building something new,” said Damarillo. As a veteran tech entrepreneur himself, he said that this idea extended beyond Firebase. According to him, most startups that are good at creating products, but find it challenging to deal with all the other aspects of building it. For most start-ups, said Damarillo, the mindset is: “I just want to build a product. I don’t wanna deal with taxes, BIR, employees. I just want to build the next app. And if it’s big, then I’ll make a company out of it.”

This is where Amihan envisions its role in the startup ecosystem: to become a marketplace that connects small developer teams with large enterprises. Product teams and individuals can focus on innovating, while Amihan can find markets and partners for them.

“For any product that’s starting out, it needs to be anchored in the needs of the market. But it’s tough to reach that market if you’re just starting out. So in the absence of that, focus on your passion. We’ll take care of the rest.