Singtel Innov8 launches global programme on startup collaboration

Singtel Innov8 has announced a new program which opens doors for startups to collaborate with Singtel to create innovative solutions for business challenges faced by the Singtel Group, which includes leading Philippine telecommunications company Globe Telecom.

Through Singtel Innov8 Connect, which was launched on January 12, selected startups will receive up to S$75,Program EDM_Final[2]000 to test and validate their solutions with Singtel. Successful solutions may lead to commercialisation with the Singtel Group, providing startups access to the Group’s customer base which includes both enterprises and consumers and over 575 million mobile customers across Asia, Australia, and Africa. They will also have the opportunity to seek funding from Singtel Innov8 and tap on its network of co-investors and partners across the globe.

The move is a step forward from the existing initiatives across the Singtel Group, where affiliates run programs that actively support startups and entrepreneurship
programs. Globe Telecom in the Philippines, for example, has Kickstart Ventures, a corporate venture capital firm that makes investments in digital startups ranging from Seed to Series “C” stages. Other startup-oriented initiatives are run in affiliate operators AIS in Thailand, Telkomsel in Indonesia, and Optus in Australia.

Kickstart in particular runs two funds: Fund 1 is the original US$5Million seed-to-early-stage investment fund focused on startups that originate in the Philippines with an ambition to expand at least regionally; and Fund 2, announced in March 2015, is its US$50Million growth stage fund focused on strategically-aligned startups anywhere in the world. Demonstrating collaboration across the Singtel group, Kickstart last year invested along with Singtel Innov8 in Teridion, an Israel-based startup focused on network optimization and content acceleration.

“This development not only serves as another opportunity for Philippine startups to penetrate the global market and realize their global growth aspirations but also gives Globe and the rest of the Singtel Group a chance to benefit from the innovations that these startups may bring. Kickstart’s mission is to break down barriers and to build bridges to enable close and relevant engagement between the business community and the startup founders. Working with Singtel on Innov8 Connect will drive that goal forward,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart.

Kickstart is a founding member of Innov8 Sparks, Singtel’s network of startup support and funding initiatives across Southeast Asia.  It currently has 25 portfolio companies with various products and services encompassing SaaS (Software as a Service), e-commerce, social impact, digital lifestyle, FinTech, and HealthTech, several of which have already ventured to other countries.  

Edgar Hardless, CEO of Singtel Innov8 said: “Since Innov8’s launch in 2010, we have invested and partnered with many talented startups globally to help them expand their businesses and introduce innovative technologies to the Singtel Group.”

“Entrepreneurs are looking for problems to solve. This programme enables Singtel to share real-world business challenges and invite solutions from startups globally. It is an excellent opportunity for startups to work directly with Singtel’s business units and validate their solutions,” he added.

Mr. Peter Ho, CEO of Hope Technik, a Singtel Innov8 portfolio company said: “The investment and support from Singtel Innov8 have really helped Hope Technik punch above its weight class. Through Singtel, we have a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by large enterprises, which allows us to create more relevant and impactful solutions.”

As the venture arm of the Singtel Group, Singtel Innov8’s mandate is to scout for and provide the Group with insights and early access to emerging technologies, as well as to nurture the innovation ecosystem in Southeast Asia. Innov8 Connect is part of Singtel Innov8’s initiatives to create greater awareness for Singtel’s innovation agenda and engagement with startup ecosystems.

Through the Innov8 Connect portal (innov8connect.com), Singtel Innov8 will publish briefs detailing various business challenges. startups with relevant solutions are welcomed to submit their applications through the portal. Selected startups will then be invited to pitch to a panel of management representatives from the Singtel Group. After a rigorous selection process, one company per brief will be chosen to work with Singtel to trial its solution.

Project Briefs

The first set of 10 project briefs are focused on business challenges in areas such as enterprise cloud, smart and safe city and customer experience. The briefs are now open for submission from all startups in the Philippines and across the globe at http://innov8connect.com.

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Minette B. Navarrete

President

Minette is Vice-Chairman and President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom.  She is a member of the Ayala Corporation’s Innovation Advisory Council, and of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board.  She is a Senior Vice President at Globe Telecom, focusing on New Business, and a member of the Board of Directors of AdSpark, Globe’s wholly owned digital advertising subsidiary. 

Minette has held a number of CEO/COO positions in various industries, ranging from scrappy Philippine startups to iconic global companies.

Dan I. Siazon

Senior Vice-President & Treasurer

Dan is a co-founder as well as the Senior Vice-President and Treasurer of Kickstart Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Globe Telecom. He also concurrently supports Globe in M&A activities, which in the past have included acquisitions of Yondu (formerly Entertainment Gateway Group) and Bayan Telecommunications. Dan’s career track has mostly been in global tech-related companies, particularly in telecommunications, personal portable computers, and over a decade in tech venture investing with JAFCO Asia, with senior-level stints in key global markets including the US, Japan, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Dan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, and dual master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute in International Studies (MA) minoring in German studies, and the Wharton School of Business (MBA).

Joan Cybil Yao

Vice-President

Joan is Vice-President of Kickstart Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Globe Telecom. She is a member of the Kickstart Deal Team.

Prior to Kickstart, Joan was Investment Manager for Southeast Asia at LGT Venture Philanthropy, a global impact investing firm headquartered in Europe. For six years, Joan was primarily responsible for the sourcing, screening, execution, and management of LGT VP’s deals in the region. In 2015, Joan also served as a consultant to the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines, advising the Office of the Secretary on matters related to MSME development, tech startups, innovation, inclusive business, and social enterprise.

Joan holds a BS in Management Engineering with a minor in English Literature, cum laude, from the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

Bit Santos

Portfolio Director

Bit Santos is the Portfolio Director at Kickstart Ventures where he leads the efforts to support portfolio companies and to nurture the local startup ecosystem. He has been a software product development leader for more than 10 years.

Prior to joining Kickstart, he was the Chief Technology Officer of OLX Philippines, an online classifieds platform company. He was primarily responsible for the product and technology strategy and operations of the Philippine team, but he also worked on global and regional initiatives within the OLX Group.

Pia Angeli C. Bernal

Community Manager

Pia joined Kickstart Ventures in September 2012 as its manager for social enterprise investments. Beginning May 2017, she serves as Kickstart’s Community Manager where she oversees PR/communications and external relations with the startup ecosystem stakeholders and enablers.

Before Kickstart, Pia held key Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) roles in both the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, specialising in resource mobilisation, project management and comms, employee volunteerism, community relations, and public-private partnerships. In Globe Telecom from 2006 to 2012, she owned the Education and Social Protection Services CSR portfolio, which saw the application of telco assets -- mobile, broadband, and value-add services -- to bridge resources to communities in need. This role in particular prepared her for Kickstart, as it allowed her to experiment and become an early adopter in the use of digital technology for public good at a time when smartphone and broadband adoption were still early, and the gains from the use of digital assets, technologies, and skills were still evolving. 

Pia holds a BA in Development Studies from the University of the Philippines in Manila, Philippines.

Frances Barsana

Business Development Manager

Frances Barsana is Kickstart’s Business Development Manager, who drives value creation in our portfolio companies by building strategic and commercial partnerships between best-in-class tech startups and top1000 corporations in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

With her deep understanding of both sides of the opportunity: the innovation and speed of tech startups, and the scale and stability of large corporations, Frances is the conduit for high-impact collaborations that help shape and define digital transformations within the ecosystem.

Frances was previously Business Development Director at PHAR Partnerships Singapore, an international media and marketing consultancy with offices in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, Baguio where she majored in Journalism.

Camille Cua

Investment Associate

Camille joined Kickstart Ventures in 2014 and is a member of the Kickstart Deal Team, with a primary focus on making strategic investments into promising startups in the region and globally.

Camille seeks out entrepreneurs building the next generation of category-defining digital companies, who offer innovative solutions to deeply felt problems, especially in Southeast Asia. She is also responsible for Semaphore, a Kickstart-owned SMS API.

Camille holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Fordham University and is both a voracious reader and eater.

Janis H. Nolasco

Office Manager

Janis is Kickstart office manager and the designated grown-up(!) in view of her 15+ years of experience in office management systems and administration.

She holds a BS in Clinical Psychology from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Winchell Wong

Investment Analyst

Winchell is an Investment Analyst of Kickstart Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Globe Telecom. He is a member of the Kickstart Deal Team, which sources and screens investment opportunities. Prior to joining Kickstart, Winchell was an Investment Analyst for Novel Capital, a Philippine-based private equity firm that focuses on the SME sector. For three years, he was responsible for the sourcing, screening, execution, and management of both debt and equity deals in the Philippines. Winchell is a certified public accountant and a CFA Level 3 exam passer. He holds a BS in Business Administration and Accountancy and graduated Cum Laude, from the University of the Philippines.

Ernest L. Cu

Kickstart Investment Committee Chairman; Globe CEO

Ernest Cu is the President and CEO of Globe Telecom, Inc., the leading telecommunications company in the Philippines. Under his visionary leadership, Globe has outperformed industry growth with the company breaking records across all key product groups, brands and market segments, catapulting Globe as the number 1 mobile brand in the country.

Prior to Globe, Ernest was President and CEO of SPi Technologies. At the cusp of the new millennium, he spurred the beginning of the BPO business model for the Philippines, earning him the recognition as one of the founding fathers of BPO in the country. Lauding his pioneering spirit, Ernst & Young named him ICT Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

In 2017, he was hailed as the Philippines’ Best CEO by Finance Asia. A second for Cu, he first received the award in 2010. Also in 2017, for the fifth straight year, Cu was recognized as one of the 100 most influential telecom leaders worldwide by London-based Global-Telecoms Business Magazine Power 100. Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific has also named him CEO of the Year twice, first in 2012, and again in 2017.

Ernest has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila, and an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

Alberto M. de Larrazabal

Kickstart IC Member; Globe Chief Commercial Officer

Filipino, 64, Globe’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). As CCO, Mr. de Larrazabal oversees the integration and execution of our strategies across all commercial units, including marketing, sales and channels, and product development for all segments of business. He joined Globe in June 2006 as Head of the Treasury Division. He became the company's Chief Finance Officer in April 2010. He had over two decades of extensive experience as a senior executive in Finance, Business Development, Treasury Operations, Joint Ventures, Mergers and Acquisitions, as well as Investment Banking and Investor Relations.

Prior to joining Globe, he held such positions as VP and CFO of Marsman Drysdale Corp., VP and Head of the Consumer Sector – JP Morgan, Hong Kong, and SVP and CFO of San Miguel Corporation.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University.

Minette B. Navarrete

Kickstart IC Member; Kickstart President

Minette is Vice-Chairman and President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom.  She is a member of the Ayala Corporation’s Innovation Advisory Council, and of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board.  She is a Senior Vice President at Globe Telecom, focusing on New Business, and a member of the Board of Directors of AdSpark, Globe’s wholly owned digital advertising subsidiary. 

Minette has held a number of CEO/COO positions in various industries, ranging from scrappy Philippine startups to iconic global companies.

Peng T. Ong

Kickstart IC Member

Peng T. Ong is a Managing Director at Monk’s Hill Ventures, a technology venture fund. He sits on the boards of YY Inc. and Singapore University of Design & Technology, and also on the advisory board of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois.

Until recently, Peng was also on the boards of SingTel and Singapore’s National Research Foundation, and chaired Infocomm Investments. Peng founded Match.com (bought by IAC), Interwoven (now part of HP), and Encentuate (acquired by IBM).

The businesses he created now generate annual revenues that total more than US$1 billion. He has a master’s in Computer Science from UIUC and a BSEE from UT Austin. Peng is also an avid audiophile.

Myla Crespo-Villanueva

Kickstart IC Member

Myla Crespo-Villanueva is a technology entrepreneur. She has founded five startups and corporations in Asia over the past twenty-five years, and is a leader in the Philippine IT industry.

She is Managing Director of MDI , a pioneer and leading systems integrator and distributor for Dell, Cisco, IBM, Juniper, VMWare, Fireeye in the Philippines. MDI has introduced many innovations and firsts in its proud history.

Myla co-founded Wolfpac in 1999, a pioneer in Mobile Value-Added Applications and Services during the growth spurt of mobility in Asia. She also founded Meridian Telekoms in 2000, the first nationwide broadband wireless internet provider serving 7,100 islands. In 2005-2006, both companies were acquired by Smart Communications , the incumbent telecommunications company in the country with over 65 millions subscribers.

After acquiring two of her companies, Myla represented Smart Communications in the GSM Association in 2005-2010. GSM Association is the industry trade body representing 800 operators in more than 220 countries. She was part of its Executive Management Committee and was also named Chairperson of the GSMA Mobile Innovation Forum from 2007 to 2009, which linked an ecosystem of Venture Capital, Telecom Operators and mobile technology startups.

Myla was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004, by the Entrepreneur of the year program of Ernst and Young, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Stock Exchange, Bankers Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Securities Exchange Commission. She was also named one of the Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service or TOWNS in 2010 for her pioneering work in the use of Information Technology in nation-building.

In 2006, she co-founded Novare Technologies with Craig Ehrlich, former GSMA Chairman and Mohan Gyani, former CEO of ATT Wireless. Novare is a consulting and solutions provider for telecommunications and banking in areas of customer lifecycle management, transformation technologies and mobility.

She is Regional President for Asia Pacific of the Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN), a global organization spearheading a yearly forum of for executive women active in telecommunications to ‘network’ and discuss current issues in the industry. Recently, she was also appointed as one of the chapter founders of Women Corporate Directors (WCD) in the Philippines.

Myla is a trustee of Go-Negosyo, which advocates entrepreneurship among Filipinos. She was a technical advisor to the PPCRV Chair (Philippine Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) in the first-ever automated election in 2010 and is now part of the Board of Trustees.

She is a graduate of Santa Clara University, CA with a BS in Economics. Myla is married to Jun Villanueva with two children, Blanca 18, and Luis, 12.

Alberto M. de Larrazabal

Chairman of the Board

Filipino, 64, Globe’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). As CCO, Mr. de Larrazabal oversees the integration and execution of our strategies across all commercial units, including marketing, sales and channels, and product development for all segments of business. He joined Globe in June 2006 as Head of the Treasury Division. He became the company's Chief Finance Officer in April 2010. He had over two decades of extensive experience as a senior executive in Finance, Business Development, Treasury Operations, Joint Ventures, Mergers and Acquisitions, as well as Investment Banking and Investor Relations.

Prior to joining Globe, he held such positions as VP and CFO of Marsman Drysdale Corp., VP and Head of the Consumer Sector – JP Morgan, Hong Kong, and SVP and CFO of San Miguel Corporation.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University.

Ernest L. Cu

Board Member

Ernest Cu is the President and CEO of Globe Telecom, Inc., the leading telecommunications company in the Philippines. Under his visionary leadership, Globe has outperformed industry growth with the company breaking records across all key product groups, brands and market segments, catapulting Globe as the number 1 mobile brand in the country.

Prior to Globe, Ernest was President and CEO of SPi Technologies. At the cusp of the new millennium, he spurred the beginning of the BPO business model for the Philippines, earning him the recognition as one of the founding fathers of BPO in the country. Lauding his pioneering spirit, Ernst & Young named him ICT Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

In 2017, he was hailed as the Philippines’ Best CEO by Finance Asia. A second for Cu, he first received the award in 2010. Also in 2017, for the fifth straight year, Cu was recognized as one of the 100 most influential telecom leaders worldwide by London-based Global-Telecoms Business Magazine Power 100. Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific has also named him CEO of the Year twice, first in 2012, and again in 2017.

Ernest has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila, and an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

Minette B. Navarrete

Board Member

Minette is Vice-Chairman and President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom.  She is a member of the Ayala Corporation’s Innovation Advisory Council, and of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board.  She is a Senior Vice President at Globe Telecom, focusing on New Business, and a member of the Board of Directors of AdSpark, Globe’s wholly owned digital advertising subsidiary. 

Minette has held a number of CEO/COO positions in various industries, ranging from scrappy Philippine startups to iconic global companies.

Peng T. Ong

Board Member

Peng T. Ong is a Managing Director at Monk’s Hill Ventures, a technology venture fund. He sits on the boards of YY Inc. and Singapore University of Design & Technology, and also on the advisory board of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois.

Until recently, Peng was also on the boards of SingTel and Singapore’s National Research Foundation, and chaired Infocomm Investments. Peng founded Match.com (bought by IAC), Interwoven (now part of HP), and Encentuate (acquired by IBM).

The businesses he created now generate annual revenues that total more than US$1 billion. He has a master’s in Computer Science from UIUC and a BSEE from UT Austin. Peng is also an avid audiophile.

Rizza Maniego-Eala

Board Member

Rizza is the Chief Finance Officer, Treasurer and Chief Risk Officer at Globe Telecom. She joined Globe in February 1998. Her previous positions in the company included being an Assistant Vice-President for Financial Planning and Analysis, President of G-Xchange Inc. (mobile-commerce subsidiary), and Senior Vice President for International Business.

She has had extensive experience in financial planning and analysis, capital markets fundraising, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, strategic planning, business development, and setting up and managing startups.

Prior to joining Globe, Rizza was Deputy Research Head for Natwest Markets. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Management Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Mina A. Reapor

Financial Planning and Accounting Manager

Mina is the Financial Planning and Accounting Manager at Kickstart Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Globe Telecom. Prior to Kickstart, Mina worked for 17 years at Globe Telecom focused on corporate accounting, taxation, and derivatives reporting. Mina also owned oversight responsibilities with respect to the financial reporting of selected subsidiary companies of Globe Telecom. Mina is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and formerly an Audit Associate at a prestigious accounting firm, Sycip Gorres & Velayo (a Member Practice of Ernst & Young Global) (CPA). She holds a BS Accountancy from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, graduating with cum laude honors.

Jason O. Ramirez

Investment Associate

Jason is an Investment Associate at Kickstart Ventures and a member of the deal team, which sources and screens investment opportunities. Prior to Kickstart, Jason spent 3 years as an Investment Associate at Molave Capital Management, an industry agnostic value-oriented hedge fund: researching public equities. His past research coverage includes Semiconductor, Consumer Goods, Technology and Energy stocks in the US, Europe, and Asia. He also served for 3 years as an Analyst in the Global Markets division of BNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Bank in NYC: managing the market risk for equity and fixed-income portfolios of global hedge funds and asset managers. Jason holds a BS in Public Accounting from Fordham University in NYC.

Jecky G. Pelaez

Legal Consultant

Jecky is Kickstart’s Legal Consultant, providing legal advisory and consultancy in areas such as company operations and systems, human resources, and corporate and regulatory compliance. He also supports the Kickstart Deal Team in deal screening, investment analysis, and due diligence.

Prior to Kickstart, Jecky was a lawyer with Siguion-Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices and with Picazo, Buyco, Tan, Fider & Santos Law Offices, focusing on corporate and labor matters.

Jecky holds a BS in Management from the Ateneo de Manila University; a Juris Doctor from the University of the Philippines; and an MBA from the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

Carla Samson

Corporate Communications Manager

Carla is the Corporate Communications Manager of Kickstart Ventures Inc., driven to grow awareness and elevate brand value to stakeholders through insight-driven communication initiatives.

She has led business-to-business and consumer-driven campaigns for regional and local PR accounts in the travel and tourism, FMCG, and tech startup sectors. Given her focus on market insights and cross-industry knowledge, she intends to bridge owned and earned media channels for strategic industry positioning of both Kickstart and its active investments. Carla holds a degree in AB Development Studies from De La Salle University-Manila and an MA in International Development from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.