Filipino regtech startup UNAWA wins 1st Runner-Up in regional pitch competition


Filipino regulatory technology (regtech) startup UNAWA placed first runner-up in the Business Plan Challenge of the 2020 Licensing Executives Society Asia Pacific (LES APAC) Conference, a regional competition that featured various startups addressing challenges in intellectual property. It was the sole Philippine startup in the competition, which featured four teams from across the Asia-Pacific region.


“We are honored with this recognition by LES APAC’s Business Plan Challenge,” said Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA. “As a proudly Filipino startup, we believe that this win is also representative of the remarkable progress that the Philippine regtech industry has undergone over the past few years.” 


The Business Plan Challenge is a regular feature of the LES APAC Conference, an annual gathering of the region’s experts in the intellectual property and licensing industries. Hosted by LES Singapore on October 22–23, this year marked the first time that the conference was held entirely online, following the theme of “Licensing in the Age of Innovation.”

The overall winner of this year’s Business Plan Challenge was asEars, a Japanese startup developing innovative technology targeted at individuals with single-sided deafness. asEars’ product, which resembles a pair of glasses, allows individuals to better communicate with their peers in both casual and professional settings.


Award-winning solution


UNAWA’s pitch focused on its Digital Transaction Hub, an end-to-end solution that enables Philippine businesses to digitize their analog forms, protect their assets, and transact with other businesses securely and efficiently. Through its suite of solutions, UNAWA is helping entrepreneurs create more value, continue closing deals and earning, and capitalize on opportunities presented by the new normal.


“We have built our team and our business to help other businesses understand and navigate the terrain, and make business clearer, more convenient, more cost-efficient, and easier for them to survive and thrive,” said Niña Terol, Chief Marketing Officer of UNAWA, in the team’s pitch. 


Included in the UNAWA Digital Transaction Hub are the following products:

  • SafeForm – A tool that helps businesses digitize their analog forms and processes
  • SignSecure – A digital solution providing e-signature and mobile-verified encryption, making sure that a digital document is authentic and legally binding in the Philippines
  • SignSecure RNotary – A service that gives businesses easier access to remote notarization, as the Supreme Court has recently allowed remote notarization for certain documents  


“Our solutions were made with Philippine businesses in mind, which face various challenges relating to notarization that were only exacerbated by the country’s community quarantines,” explained Terol. “Through the Digital Transaction Hub, we aim to make a difference for our fellow Filipino entrepreneurs, and we will continue this thrust as we scale up to other countries in the near future.”




UNAWA is a regulatory technology startup making ease of doing business a reality in the Philippines and helping them survive and thrive in the increasingly digital economy. Established in 2020, it is a partnership between multi-awarded legal firm PJS Law and inclusiontech startup Talino Venture Labs. 


For more information, visit

We hope this article was helpful. To get more information, insight, and inspiration,check out the other articles in UNAWA Explainer for more tips on how your business can navigate the new normal.

UNAWA takes center stage as sole regtech firm in She Loves Tech Philippines 2020

UNAWA takes center stage as sole regtech firm in She Loves Tech Philippines 2020

It represented the regtech industry and its growing potential in the country



Regtech startup UNAWA was one of the 10 finalists in She Loves Tech Philippines 2020, the local unit of the world’s largest startup competition focused on women and technology. UNAWA joined nine other Philippine startups that were also led by female founders and executives. 


“The UNAWA team is honored to have been selected as a finalist for She Loves Tech 2020, and we are proud to represent and pioneer the country’s emerging regtech sector,” said Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA. “As a regtech startup primarily led by female Filipino professionals, UNAWA understands and is mindful of its responsibility to deliver innovative solutions to the Philippine market that make ease of doing business something that can truly be at our fingertips.”



The pitch competition was held online on October 8, 2020 in partnership with QBO Innovation Hub, the country’s first public-private partnership focused on the startup community. Established in 2015, She Loves Tech aims to put the spotlight on women-led and women-focused startups around the world, highlighting the importance of female innovators populating the startup and technology industries.  


“We do all of this because we believe that the combination of women and technology is key to solving the world’s greatest challenges,” said Rhea See, Co-Founder of She Loves Tech. “Not having women on the table, not having women in this industry, is depriving us from some of the most innovative technologies that can help us move the needle.”


Fintech startup SukiPlus won the competition, and it will represent the Philippines in the She Loves Tech global finals. Completing the podium are healthtech firm reach52 and e-commerce platform GrocerGenie.


Digital Transaction Hub

Watch Full Event Here!


In UNAWA’s first-ever pitch, the startup presented its Digital Transaction Hub, a suite of regtech solutions that helps businesses participate and succeed in the digital economy. Created in response to the challenges that businesses continue to face in the pandemic, UNAWA equips micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with the tools they need to quickly overcome these challenges and create more value for their businesses. 


“In a world that has rapidly gone digital, transforming digital transactions creates great value for small businesses and entire economies alike,” said Niña Terol, Chief Marketing Officer of UNAWA, in the She Loves Tech 2020 pitch. “It generates up to 80% cost savings per company, gets business done 21 times faster than paper documents, and empowers MSMEs to be part of the US$300-billion digital economy.”


The UNAWA Digital Transaction Hub includes SafeForm, which enables businesses to digitize their analog forms and create automated workflows; SignSecure, an e-signature service helping entrepreneurs close digital contracts and agreements more quickly; and SignSecure RNotary, which gives clients access to secure and efficient remote notarization services. 


“Through the UNAWA Digital Transaction Hub, we champion She Loves Tech’s mission of creating impactful innovations through female-led startups,” added Atty. Dimalanta. “As we continue to roll out our solutions, UNAWA is keen on empowering more of its fellow businesses to not only survive, but also thrive in the digital economy.”

We hope this article was helpful. To get more information, insight, and inspiration,check out the other articles in UNAWA Explainer for more tips on how your business can navigate the new normal.

Wet, Electronic, and Digital: The Three Types of Signatures

Wet, Electronic, and Digital:
The Three Types of Signatures

Which ones are legally binding?



A signature is one of the most common and definitive ways of authentication. As it is unique to every individual, a signature allows transacting parties to verify each other’s identities and acknowledge each other’s consent. This is why signed documents are required for almost every kind of transaction.


With the advent of technology, signatures have evolved to be an essential part of digital transactions, with parties now able to sign these documents electronically. With the COVID-19 pandemic making it harder to transact in person and shifting the world towards a “new normal,” many businesses are looking at digital and contactless alternatives for their documentary needs, with their signatures following suit.


In this article, we will talk about the three main types of signatures, their pros and cons, and which signatures are considered legally binding in the Philippines.

Related: If you want to experience how e-signatures and electronic documents can make your business transactions easier, learn more about SignSecure.


Wet Signatures

The inked signatures we are most familiar with are called “wet signatures”. They come from an individual, by physical movement of the hand, using a writing implement with ink scrolling on a piece of paper. 


As wet signatures have been around far longer than their “dry” counterparts, they are considered the standard for any documents that need verification. Most Philippine laws that require signed documents contemplate the use of wet signatures, and it was not until recent years that laws and regulations made any distinction made between “wet” and other types of signatures.


While wet signatures do not have legal restrictions or limitations, they are increasingly becoming much harder to implement in the new normal. Strict quarantine and physical distancing requirements have made it difficult to set in-person meetings, and sending documents through couriers pose additional risks to all parties.


Electronic Signatures

Enter electronic signatures, or “e-signatures” as they are often called. As the name implies, e-signatures are any type of marks that an individual uses to signify their identity in an electronic document. While the most common example of this is an individual signing on a digital platform, e-signatures can also take the form of digitally scanned wet signatures or even an audio recording of the individual authenticating the transaction.


E-signatures were already growing in popularity even before COVID-19 hit, as businesses  began incorporating digital processes, but they are becoming indispensable tools in today’s business landscape. Instead of arranging physical meetings that may pose a health risk to the individuals involved, or mailing a document at the risk of loss, damage, or violations of confidentiality, many businesses are now creating electronic documents that can be verified through e-signatures. By using electronic documents, businesses are able to transact safely, quickly, and efficiently.


One common concern raised against the use of e-signatures is whether these are all recognized by law. However, e-signatures have already been accepted by Philippine law as legally binding, as long as they satisfy the requirements laid out in the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, which revolve around presenting evidence that the party that provided the e-signature actually consented to the transaction. 

Related: Do you need to sign legal documents and ensure the validity of your e-signature? Click here.


Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are usually considered the strongest and most secure out of the different kinds of electronic signatures. These signatures use cryptographic technology to not only verify the identity of both parties, but also to authenticate the contents of the electronic document itself.


Digital signatures often rely on a set of private and public “keys,” which can be likened to digital fingerprints that represent the identities of the individual signing as well as the document used in the transaction. By encrypting a document with the sender’s public key, it ensures that only the recipient with their corresponding private key can decrypt the message and verify the authenticity of the document’s contents. Any outside tampering made to the document can be easily identified, thanks to this private key-public key dynamic, ensuring the security of the transaction.



As they are a subset of e-signatures, digital signatures are also recognized by Philippine law as legally binding, and they must also comply with the requirements of the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000. In addition, electronic documents signed by either e-signatures and digital signatures can also be admitted as evidence in any situation, by following the Supreme Court’s Rules on Electronic Evidence. This gives them the same legal effect and authenticity as physical documents.


Signing in the New Normal

With both electronic and digital signatures bearing the same weight as wet signatures, businesses can continue to transact digitally while worrying about fewer legal restrictions on their electronic documents. As the new normal brings new challenges, businesses can quickly adapt by digitizing their signatures and making their documents and transactions more efficient.


UNAWA can help you get started on setting up your electronic documents today. Find out more by clicking here.

We hope this article was helpful. To get more information, insight, and inspiration,check out the other articles in UNAWA Explainer for more tips on how your business can navigate the new normal.