The Kickstart Story

How we started.

Like any other startup, we started with an MVP and a pitch.

No marching orders. No top-down instruction. And like everyone else, no funds.

We imagined that we could create new pathways for innovation: one that leveraged the assets of our parent company, Globe Telecom, and Globe’s major shareholders SingTel and Ayala Corporation; but used them in previously unimagined ways to support startups who were doing pretty amazing things. We wanted to break through protocol and bureaucracy to accelerate collaboration between enterprises and startups. We wanted ecosystem-wide innovation: not corporate or startups, but corporate AND startups, together. There wasn’t a natural process for that, so we were going to create it.

In short, we were going to hack the system.

October 2011: the MVP

Startup Weekend Manila. First ever Startup Weekend in the Philippines. The Kauffman Foundation people said to expect 50-100 participants. We got 300 sign-ups. Creativity, collaboration, passion: there it was. The MVP.

Image lifted from

Image lifted from

*It is important to note here that we couldn’t have done this alone. The community generously shared, pitched in, and got it all going. Jay Fajardo and the ProudCloud crew. Jonathan Lansangan and the Dynamic Objx gang. Mike del Rosario and Hendrick Kiamzon who generously hosted SWM at MINT. Chelle Obligacion-Gray, Anne Olvido, Charo Nuguid, Jerome Locson, Joed See, Alvin Edwald Chan, Scott Henderson. Hugh Mason and Meng Wong of JFDI.

We also roped in corporate support: Margot Balderas-Torres of McDonald’s, who sent a mountain of McMuffins for the participants’ breakfast. Yoly Crisanto and Gold Endriga of Globe Corporate Communications, who subsidised SWM’s promo budget. Michelle Ann Santos, who brought her developer friends. Yvonne Kwek and Edgar Hardless of SingTel Innov8. Ernest Cu, our early believer.


They helped SWManila 2011 happen.

January 2012: the Pitch

Someday, we should share the original pitch deck: it was honest, ambitious, and unambiguous. Based on facts, and driven by a dream. Now that we think about it, it was probably slightly insane. But hey, we got approval: a small fund, a small team, a lot of autonomy.

March 2012: SEC approval

KS Deal Team (standing)

The co-founders a.k.a. the Kickstart Deal Team (L-R): Dan Siazon, Minette Navarrete, and Christian Besler.

We were off. Spun out, and away from the Mother Ship. It was both exciting and terrifying.

Thank goodness for partners like Amazon Web Services, who helped us run our first IA workshops, and Pollenizer – Phil Morle and Isaac Souweine – – who flew in to run our Building Lean Startup workshops.

We invest!

December 2012: Ten startups in our portfolio

AVA. Bagosphere. Kalibrr. Lifebit. Tripid. ZAP.
LaunchGarage Mission 1: Apptivate, WorkInspire, MyLegalWhiz, Tripsiders.

KICKSTART CLASS PHOTO w founders, KS IC and Team members (Jan 2013)

Kickstart Founders’ Lunch with Globe and Ayala Leaders, Makati City.

December 2013: Seven new startups

Lenddo. Trueproperty. Guestlist.
LaunchGarage Mission 2: Peekawoo, Ritmo, Medix, GiftLauncher.
Partnerships with Plug and Play, and with Pollenizer.

2013 Logos

December 2014: Two more startups

Four Eyes. mClinica.

2014 Logos

March 2015: three years!

The internet provides a bunch of estimates for a three-year survival rate of startups. The numbers seem to converge on a 50-60% survival rate. By that token: so far, so good.

But none of us is in this to survive, right? The objective isn’t to “not fail” — the mission is to succeed, and to succeed well.

Our metrics are, like any investment outfit, to deliver a return on investment. A decent financial ROI. A healthy innovation ecosystem. An engaged community. Helping a bunch of startups make a great exit. Getting the Philippines on the global innovation map.

It’s way too early for a fantastic exit (the 2014 EY study suggests an average of seven years for an IPO or a trade sale), and we’ve lots to learn and #flearn. But the signs are good, and it’s been an awesome adventure.

We’re glad you’re here: there’s a lot more to do, and we’re thrilled to start, and venture onward, with you.

KS Founders w JAZA 2014

February 2015: A Switch investment

Switch is a cloud-based, business phone system built for Google Apps users. You get a business phone number that rings all of your devices, and let’s you switch seamlessly between them. Switch integrates with Google Apps to provide a contextual profile including recent Gmail messages, shared Docs, and upcoming Calendar invites.

April 2015: New startup investment!

Kickstart announces its new local investment: COGITO, an SaaS platform that allows any business to easily create and automate customised business workflows. It converts paper, email, or spreadsheet-based processes into online workflows in minutes – no programming required!


June 2015: We invest in LoanSolutions!

Loansolutions is an online platform that matches borrowers with financial institutions. Unlike traditional loan comparison portals, Loansolutions puts the borrower first. Through its algorithms and hands-on concierge services, Loansolutions ensures borrowers get the best possible chance in securing a competitive loan.

October 2015: New healthtech startup investment

Kickstart announces its new healthtech startup investment: Lifetrack Medical Systems, an SaaS platform that can connect hospitals anywhere with internet access to experienced radiologists, who can provide quality readings and diagnosis.