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Philippine startup community networking mixer with Coins.ph on Feb 28th!

For this month’s edition of Raid The Fridge, the monthly startup networking mixer of Kickstart Ventures, we can look forward another fantastic evening with guest speaker  Ron Hose, Founder & CEO of Coins.ph.

Ron is keen to share knowledge on what worked and what didn’t work building Coins.ph from seed funding to acquisition, setting strong company culture, and competing with incumbent players backed by two of Philippine’s largest conglomerates. Recently, a majority stake acquisition in Coins.ph was announced by the Indonesian tech company GO-JEK, a strategic move that will allow both companies to build something bigger and better for their customers. This acquisition has also allowed its investors to make an exit, which incidentally, makes Coins.ph the first exit for Kickstart Ventures — we’re a corporate venture capital investing in Pre-A to Series Cdigital startups globally.

So: we’re re-stocking our fridge with beers for the #startupPH community to enjoy while evening making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, and swapping stories over beers!

For any questions, you can contact the Fridgemaster via info@www.kickstart.ph. To view our Raid The Fridge events, check it out through Doorkeeper.

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Coins.ph acquisition by Go-Jek; startup growth lessons shared

Coins.ph makes it very easy for people to access financial services directly from their phones. We’ve crossed half a million customers in the Philippines.”

This was Ron Hose in December 2016, founder and chief executive officer of fintech startup Coins.ph, during a video interview arranged by one its investors — Kickstart Ventures, a corporate venture capital firm headquartered in Manila and investing in digital startups globally.

At that time, Kickstart had gathered a selection of digital startup founders to talk about why it’s a good time to invest and grow a business in the Philippines. After all, the Philippines, as oft-repeated in business and tech conferences, is in a demographic sweet spot: a young, connected, and tech-savvy population driving the adoption of mobile and internet products and services.

The video, entitled “#investPH,” introduced locally-based digital startups already showing growth and progress — while not massive successes yet, they are generating real traction in the market solving deeply felt problems of customers in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. The founders’ objective: attract investors to invest in digital startups operating in the Philippines.

What is Coins.ph?

It is a digital wallet and mobile payments app for the unbanked looking for life-improving financial services. It allows users to easily send or receive cash across online and offline platforms, transact bills payments across registered and non-registered users, or buy mobile load top-ups.

Lessons Learned: Bringing Banking to the Unbanked

In the time since that fortuitous video interview, Coins.ph has successfully carved out a path to scale and profitability, thereby becoming a compelling fintech player for emerging markets.

However, this is not to say the journey has been easy for Coins.ph — Ron and his team at every significant step towards building a valuable business meant responding to customer demands at a scale and speed uncommon in a highly-regulated industry.

So while there is truth to the saying “fortune favors the bold,” Coins.ph is a representation of “fortune favors the prepared.” Here now are three startup growth lessons that helped Coins.ph transform from crypto exchange services to a suite of mobile wallet and payments services:

Growth Lesson #1: Solve a real problem. The bigger the problem, the better the opportunity.

Founded in the Philippines in 2013 by Ron Hose and Runar Petursson – CEO and CTO respectively – Coins.ph was built to address banking for the next generation of Southeast Asia customers.

They assessed the emerging economies and came up with these numbers: for SEA’s population of 618 million, 59% were still unbanked and 95% without a credit card ownership. But most were online or owned digital identities e.g. Facebook.

In 2013 Philippines with a population of 100 million then, two out of 10 households were banked and one out of 20 Filipinos owned a credit card. Amazingly, four out of 10 Filipinos were on Facebook.

Given this socio-economic environment where the majority of the Filipino population is unbanked, Coins.ph created a free digital wallet app that allowed mobile phone users to conduct domestic and international financial services transactions such as remittances, instant person-to-person money transfers, bills payment, mobile load top-ups, etc.

By the fourth quarter of 2015, Coins.ph had signed up 270,000 users and was steadily growing; also, almost 24,000 Coins.ph subscribers were actively using the company’s suite of financial services monthly, thereby allowing Ron and his team to handle cash transactions in millions of US dollars each month.

In 2015, Coins.ph expanded to Thailand. Within the same year, it launched the first-ever instant blockchain-based remittance service for the benefit of Filipino OFWs whose relatives based in the Philippines could claim money remittances instantly through a bank ATM.

Growth Lesson #2: Differentiate.

Coins.ph’s stickiness as a product is anchored on two key pillars: a powerful technology at its core and ease of use/low friction for customer adoption.

First, blockchain. The use of blockchain as its underlying technology for the Coins.ph platform has allowed the company to provide instant, global cross-border settlement, and access to a global network of fintech services.

Second, great user experience. The team regarded user experience as a product, not a by-product of a great design. Onboarding of new customers became more seamless, despite operating in a highly-regulated industry where “Know Your Customer” or KYC is a regulatory requirement for financial institutions. With faster KYC from Coins.ph, it allowed customers to spend more time transacting on their app than learning how to use it.

In addition to creating a great product with effective user experience, the efforts of Coins.ph to proactively work with government regulators and other relevant institutions deemed likely to impact the financial sector’s growth in the future mattered to Coins.ph to the extent that it allowed its founders to discover and address risks to the business.

The recognition that Coins.ph received — the first company in Southeast Asia to be regulated as a Virtual Currency Exchange and Electronic Money Issuer (e-wallet) as well as the first virtual currency provider based in the Philippines to be issued the “Virtual Currency Exchange” license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) — these serve as testaments to the product’s compelling value proposition, and their differentiation from the earlier mobile wallets.

Growth Lesson #3: Scale.

Coins.ph, which last raised Series A funding from a group of investors that included Naspers, Quona Capital, Pantera Capital, Kickstart Ventures, has wisely used its fresh capital infusion to deliver new and competitive products that grabbed market share at a faster clip versus the entrenched incumbents in the Philippines. Certainly, the team has proven the ability to deeply understand the market it serves, and is skillful in partnering with different ecosystem players, even competing ones, whose own products and resources e.g. deep talent bench, geographical reach, etc. complemented Coins.ph. As a result, Coins.ph was able to triple its user base from 1.5 million to 5 million users in under a year, and has developed one of the largest cash distribution networks in the country with over 33,000 partner locations nationwide.

The Way Forward: GO-JEK and Coins.ph working together

When asked how he feels about the GO-JEK acquisition, Ron replied that “it was clear to us that there were strong synergies between the two companies. Together, we can work on creating a cashless society built on the backs of our products without sacrificing our respective missions, visions, and values.”

Ron is also keenly aware of the public’s interest in the Coins.ph and Go-Jek partnership. He responded by retelling the reasons he shared at a local TEDx event some time ago about creating his fintech startup:

“There were a few things that excited me about the Philippines, which led me to establish a fintech startup here in 2014: (1) the economy was growing at 6-7%, faster than other developing markets in Southeast Asia but at the same time, a large section of the population was not included in that growth — this offered me an open area to create social good; (2) there was low penetration of technology, and how technology was being applied that will bring real impact and change in people’s lives; (3) the operating cost here was low, which was conducive for innovation since the cost of experimentation was not so high; and (4) the Filipino culture and mindset, which made me and continues to make me feel right at home.”

What this means for the Philippine startup ecosystem is that in the absence of infrastructure and systems that work reliably, cheaply, and serve the people at scale, there is an opportunity for startup founders to create and offer new solutions to old problems. In many ways, these gaps and inefficiencies are what make scalable technology innovations more valuable and more viral.

Meanwhile, Minette Navarrete, Kickstart president and vice-chairman, viewed Go-Jek’s acquisition of Coins.ph — funded by Kickstart in 2016 —  a step in the right direction and should invite a closer look into the reasons that made Coins.ph a strategic acquisition for Go-Jek.

“While a lot of effort has been undertaken by many parties over the years, and we’ve seen progress in how both private and public sectors engage with startups, the universally accepted indicators that define a robust startup ecosystem have yet to manifest in the Philippines, i.e. high deal flow, large investment sizes, a critical mass of significant exits whether in the form of IPOs or acquisitions by global and regional giants like Amazon, or Google, or Go-Jek,” Navarrete said.

She added that “We’re thrilled for Ron and the Coins.ph team: the Coins.ph exit is an important win for the Philippines. For startup founders, it is both proof and a pathway for scaling technology solutions that create measurable market value; for investors, it’s concrete evidence that the Philippines presents attractive opportunities equally as a source of high-value investible startups as well as a compelling consumer market; and for the government and corporate sectors: the Coins.ph exit demonstrates how digital startups are not just a kind of MSME (micro-, small- and medium enterprise), so that the startup-specific policy and programmatic interventions that are being crafted now can genuinely increase tech startups’ chances of massive success.”

The Coins.ph represents one of the first large exits for a startup founded in the Philippines in recent years. It leads the way, for what we hope will be many more to come.

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PH venture capital and private equity players form VCAP

(L-R) VCAP founding members Juan Carlos Camara, Associate at Navegar; Jennifer Alcabao, Director at ICCP SBI Venture Partners; Dan Ichikawa Siazon, Senior Vice-president & Treasurer at Kickstart Ventures; Honorio “Nori” Poblador, Managing Partner at Navegar; Gladys Enhaynes, Director at ICCP SBI Venture Partners; William “Billy” Valtos Jr., Senior Managing Director at ICCP SBI Venture Partners; Minette Navarrete, President & Vice-Chairman at Kickstart Ventures; and Manny Ayala, Managing Director at Endeavor Philippines.

Leading venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) players in the Philippines have come together to create an investment industry association that will act as a unified voice representing professional and institutional investors in the Philippines.

Called the Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of the Philippines (VCAP), this non-stock, non-profit corporation was the brainchild of ICCP SBI Venture Partners, Navegar, Endeavor Philippines, and Kickstart Ventures, Inc. with support from Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura, Sayoc & de los Angeles Law.

“VCAP is the first of its kind in the Philippines. It is a forum to promote a greater understanding of the roles VC and PE play in economic growth, to foster the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation, to encourage foreign investments into the VC and PE sectors in the Philippines, as well as to facilitate interaction and collaboration amongst its members,”

said William Valtos Jr., VCAP Chairman and President and ICCP SBI Venture Partners Senior Managing Director.

VCAP’s mandate includes building linkages with similar associations in other countries, raising the profile of the VC and PE asset classes, serving as a platform for potential dialogue on regulatory and policy issues affecting venture and private equity investments in the country, and promoting professional development of the member firms and employees.

The formation of VCAP will give local and foreign investors an accessible forum for sharing market information as well as discussing policies and practices which are of concern to VC and PE institutions and professionals, according to Honorio Poblador IV, VCAP treasurer and Navegar managing partner.

To this, Kickstart Ventures SVP and co-founder and VCAP charter member and trustee, Dan I. Siazon added that

“the long-term vision of VCAP is to help establish a mature and sophisticated market for venture and private equity investments in the Philippines commensurate to it being the second most populous market in Southeast Asia with an already well-established world-class talent pool.”

Siazon also invites all VC and PE practitioners as well as industry service providers interested in the Philippine market to join VCAP as members or associate members by emailing info@vcap.ph.

On the other hand, Manuel Ayala, VCAP charter member and Endeavor Philippines managing director, said VCAP’s formation is long overdue in the Philippines.

“Globally, Endeavor has seen how a VCAP-type industry association in other markets such as [Mexico] has had a multiplier-effect on investment activity in the VC and PE sectors.”

The past few years have seen increased activities and interest in the local startup scene, where many players such as startups, founders, investors, public institutions, and other enablers have participated in hackathons, pitch competitions, and conferences but critical gaps remain in building a vibrant, self-sustaining ecosystem that can attract world-class talent and capital.

While there is an expressed desire for more capital, there is no deep enough understanding about how to attract quality capital, whether to startups at the micro level, or to the country, at the macro level. VCAP is committed to helping address these gaps so that promising entrepreneurs and companies achieve massive success, create more jobs, and accelerate economic growth.

About the VCAP Founding Members:

Kickstart Ventures:
Kickstart Ventures is the Philippines’ most active Corporate Venture Capital firm, focused on investments in Pre-A to Series C digital startups. It puts big company resources – capital, facilities, expertise and business connections – behind startups, so investees can launch faster, and achieve scale and profitability sooner. Kickstart is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, and is backed by Singtel and Ayala Corporation.

Navegar:
Navegar is a Philippines-focused private equity fund that collaborates with founders and management teams to create long-term value for its portfolio companies by providing financial, operational, and strategic guidance.

ICCP SBI Venture Partners:
ICCP SBI Venture Partners is a partnership between two leading venture capital firms, ICCP Venture Partners and SBI Holdings. ICCP Venture Partners is the longest-operating venture capital firm in the Philippines, having raised six funds since 1997, and ranks in the top quartile of U.S. venture capital funds as tracked by Cambridge Associates. SBI Holdings (TYO:8473 formerly known as SoftBank Investments) is a listed internet financial services conglomerate and operates Japan’s largest venture capital practice. ICCP and SBI have a combined footprint of sixteen offices throughout Asia and one in Silicon Valley.

Endeavor Philippines:
Endeavor is a global non-profit organization that provides access to mentors, communities, talent, and capital.

Romulo Law:
lromulo mabanta buenaventura sayoc & de los angeles is a full-service law firm with offices in Manila, Cebu and Hongkong that provides solutions to private equity, venture capital and corporate clients in the fields of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity capital markets, banking and finance, project development, corporate governance, anti-corruption including dispute resolution and arbitration.

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Singtel Group’s Go Ignite innovation alliance opens doors to local startups

Go IgniteThe most promising local growth startups working on solutions in the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, content delivery, cyber security, or customer experience enhancement space have a huge new opportunity to scale their business through Go Ignite, the recently-announced innovation alliance of the Singtel Group with their European counterparts.

The alliance, composed of  the innovation arms of Deutsche Telekom (hub:raum), Orange (Orange Fab), Singtel (Singtel Innov8), and Telefónica (Telefónica Open Future), offers to help top startups in the Philippines and abroad find business development opportunities, accelerate the commercialization of their innovations and bring their business outside their home market. Up to five innovative startups will be selected for the program:  the global call for startups to apply will be open until 11:59PM CET on April 30, 2016. Applications are submitted via the Telefonica Open Future platform. Shortlisted startups will be invited to pitch to the Go Ignite Alliance members.

“We are thrilled to see developments like Go Ignite giving Philippine startups a path to penetrating the global market. Through the collective resources of these four major global carriers, any startup shortlisted to the top five would have a wealth of opportunities and services to help them accelerate their global growth aspirations,”  said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned venture capital firm of Globe Telecom which is also a part of the Singtel Group.

Kickstart is a founding member of Singtel Group’s Innov8 Sparks, a network of technology startup support and funding initiatives. Kickstart helps startups by breaking down barriers that prevent founders from accessing capital, mentors, and markets. The VC firm’s network of business connections build virtual bridges to enable close and relevant engagement between the business community and startup founders.

To translate their ideas into viable solutions quicker, selected startups will benefit from the alliance members’ insights into different markets, introductions to partners, use of co-working spaces, potential investment, coaching, mentoring, invitations to  showcases and events, and access to the alliance members’ operating businesses. They will also have the opportunity to gain access to Go Ignite alliance members’ business units and their collective customer base, which includes enterprises and consumers, equating to over one billion mobile customers across five continents.

Edgar Hardless, Chief Executive Officer, Singtel Innov8, said:  “The Go Ignite alliance helps startups succeed in multiple markets by providing them with the right resources that are critical for their commercialization. Selected startups can expect access to the alliance’s business units and refine their solutions within a sizeable customer base. Combining our resources together, the Go Ignite programme can give startups a better chance to scale across markets worldwide.”

Interested startups can apply via the Go Ignite website; deadline for applications ends on April 30, 2016. To be eligible for the Go Ignite Global Call, all members of the startup should be above the age of 18.  The startups are expected to be in their growth stage with a ready product that can be taken to ecosystems across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. To find out more about the Go Ignite global call, please visit http://go-ignite.com

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Teridion joins Kickstart Ventures investment portfolio

Teridion, a cloud-based networking company, becomes the 25th startup in the investment portfolio of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom. Teridion

Kickstart joins SingTel Innov8, Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Magma Ventures for Teridion’s Series B fundraising amounting to US$20 million, which allows Teridion to accelerate its go-to-market strategy as well as grow its team both in the US and abroad.

The internet is showing its age and Teridion offers a fix for content companies, app publishers, and other businesses that serve content and apps at scale. It has deployed a cloud-based optimization service that identifies the best paths for content and apps, and selects these paths so that dynamic content—both uploads and downloads—are delivered up to 20x faster.

Being a Business-to-Business (B2B) company, Teridion requires no hardware nor software installation, thereby, making deployment much quicker and cost-effective than a traditional Content Delivery Network (CDN). This means a typical cloud customer can be connected to the network in under an hour.

“We have confidence in Teridion. We believe that it is the answer to the fast-growing appetite for high performance and reliable internet experience by today’s applications and services for content delivery—but without sacrificing quality or reliability. With their network optimization and content acceleration solutions, Teridion is well on its way to becoming an important partner for organizations that need to build highly-dynamic applications without compromise,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart.

Kickstart and Globe are both committed to help build a digital nation towards a #wonderfulPH through supporting and maximizing the use of information and communications technology.

“The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool but until now, we have struggled to take full advantage of its capabilities. It is still common for us to fall victim to slow response times and volatile connections.” said Elad Rave, CEO and co-founder of Teridion.

More about Elad Rave, Co-Founder & CEO: A proven industry visionary, architect, and R&D manager with extensive experience in the technology sector, is CEO and co-founder of Teridion. He is recognized as an architectural expert and for multi-platform integration design and implementation.
More about Elad Rave, Co-Founder & CEO: A proven industry visionary, architect, and R&D manager with extensive experience in the technology sector, is CEO and co-founder of Teridion. He is recognized as an architectural expert and for multi-platform integration design and implementation.

He added: “We are thankful for the trust given by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Magma Ventures, our earliest institutional investors; and our most recent investors, Singtel Innov8 and Kickstart. We are breaking down boundaries and providing users with a seamless Internet experience – no matter their location, device or application so that they can say goodbye to slow response time and volatile connections. The funding and general availability of our product are major steps in this direction. We are extending our sales coverage and channels to Asia Pacific countries.”

Teridion was only formed in 2013 but Rave has been working on the concept for over six years based on his past cloud and video experience. Their global headquarters is located in San Francisco while their engineering team is based outside of Tel Aviv, Israel.

The company’s solution is currently being used by more than 15 companies in the US and Israel which require some of the most bandwidth-demanding applications and services such as hosting and file sharing, rich media, and advertising. Future markets include enterprise and service providers.

Early customer deployments of Teridion have shown up to 20x improvement in Internet performance, offering an opportunity for businesses to achieve new levels of customer engagement and retention, ultimately driving up revenues.

Kris Lahiri, VP of operations and chief security officer at Egnyte, one of Teridion’s customers, noted how Teridion was able to help his company.

“Enterprise businesses rely on the flexibility of the Egnyte platform to securely share files, collaborate and maintain control over important data, no matter the storage provider, cloud, application or device. We want our customers to be freed from worrying about Internet connectivity or their geographical location. Fast response times and always-on reliability are vital to IT professionals and business users alike, and Teridion helps us consistently deliver high-performance across our solutions and services,” he said.

Lahiri’s view was also supported by Edward Chiu, DigitalOcean’s director of customer success. “Our company’s core mission is to simplify cloud infrastructure for the developer community. We’re excited to see Teridion focus on the same goal by simplifying content delivery across the core of the Internet, offering a service that doesn’t rely on caching,” he said.

Teridion also provides unparalleled flexibility through its cloud routers that are created on demand, thereby, providing scalability and enabling users to only pay for the resources consumed. The solution works with the largest cloud providers in the world to ensure the speed and reliability of traffic without requiring customers to leave their cloud provider. The solution is now available, and is priced based on data volume or users. For more information, check out www.teridion.com or www.twitter.com/teridionnet.

 

 

 

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Kickstart Ventures: A Pitch for Innovation

Kickstart Ventures was a pitch for innovation to the Globe Board: Kickstart will be a corporate hack that will accelerate collaboration between corporations and startups. In 28 March 2012, Kickstart was launched with three co-founders: Minette Navarrete, Dan Siazon, and Christian Besler. Fast forward to today, Kickstart president Minette sums up the journey of the last four years comprised of 25 digital tech startups with 59 founders in its investment portfolio:
“You know when you go to a carnival, and you sign-up for the roller coaster ride — that’s going to be a series of ups and downs. But somewhere in there, you’re gonna think, ‘why, why did I get on this ride?’ And sometimes, you’re going to be in some places on track where you think it’s exhilarating and exciting, and you’re absolutely freakishly happy to be there. Well, that’s kinda what we all signed up for – the highs and the lows, for the moments where we are in abject terror because we have no control nor idea about what’s going to happen next.” #startupPH #kickstartPH

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Lifetrack Medical Systems announces Kickstart investment

Lifetrack Medical SystemsLifetrack Medical Systems (LTM), a healthtech startup that provides quality interpretation of radiology diagnostic images for hospitals and clinics, recently announced that it had closed a round of funding from strategic investors, including the Philippines’ Kickstart Ventures, Inc.

Radiology readings are increasingly critical in medical diagnosis, especially in the detection of orthopedic and soft tissue conditions. Most hospitals and medical practitioners require data from procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI tests but there are too few experts in the field. This shortage is nowhere more felt than in developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, where there is typically a 10- to 30-fold lack of radiologists per capita versus the developed countries, and where experienced radiologists make up 1% or so of the total practitioners.

Lifetrack addresses the shortage of radiology experts via their unique radiology software platform with a two-fold value proposition: increased efficiency in radiology reporting and more radiology knowledge workers trained.

Lifetrack’s platform complies with global Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) standards used by all leading computer imaging providers like Siemens, Philips, General Electric and thereby, allows interoperability with existing systems and equipment of hospitals.

The company’s unique browser-based radiology software with onsite and cloud-based servers offers hospitals and clinics the ability to leverage their existing radiologists with their efficient approach to radiology reporting while also providing on-demand access to a pool of radiology experts, thereby helping improve patient care at an affordable cost. The platform’s radiology software contains context-sensitive decision support which helps improve existing radiologist’s skill sets while also making the platform perfect for learning institutions’ Continuing Medical Education courses and subspecialty training.

DSC_0774
Lifetrack founder Eric Schulze at Kickstart’s #healthtech forum last December 2014 at A Space Manila.

“Part of our advocacy is to reverse the brain drain, which we’ve seen far too long in the country’s healthcare industry. Through Lifetrack’s affordable software and professional services, we can bring in radiology studies from around the world to be read by Filipino radiologists based here. This, in turn, can lead to attracting high-income knowledge-based jobs from overseas to local radiologists. In fact, we have already brought in at least 50 medical jobs from abroad” said Eric Schulze, founder and chief executive officer of Lifetrack.

He further added, “We do struggle in finding people with domain experience in radiology IT but since we engineered our software to meet the needs of our target market, we end up mentoring more people to develop those skills.”

The system is so unique that Duke NUS, a collaboration between Duke University and the National University of Singapore, is using it in partnership with Lifetrack to provide sub-specialty certification and training to radiologists throughout the region. Duke NUS Medical school is also using Lifetrack to train their medical students in interpreting pediatric chest X-rays.

Schulze expressed confidence that with the strong backing from Kickstart, Lifetrack will be much closer to achieving its goals. “The people at Kickstart are wonderful mentors and can draw upon a wide range of experience and resources to help us find new clients, as well as build out our infrastructure and human resource needs. We are always looking for referrals for new hospitals and clinics — clients who want to experience 24/7 coverage and high-quality fast reporting turnaround time.”

Kickstart, in turn affirmed Lifetrack’s vision of improving healthcare services globally. “The world’s healthcare systems have not scaled in step with the world’s demographic development. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a developed or emerging market: the sad truth is, there are not enough resources to offer the quality and speed of diagnosis and treatment that everyone needs. Lifetrack can help improve healthcare systems globally, deploying a concentration of skilled diagnosticians and making them available to hospitals on-demand, reducing patient waiting time, hospital costs, and the risk of misdiagnosis,” said Kickstart president Minette Navarrete.

Lifetrack is based on the experience of building a successful US-based teleradiology company founded by Schulze in 2003, which he subsequently sold in 2011. The undertaking gave Schulze valuable insights on how to do efficient radiology while being freed from the constraints present in existing legacy RIS/PACS systems.

Kickstart Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, has made 24 investments globally. It is committed to accelerating the growth of new businesses and entrepreneurs in the digital technology space, as well as co-creating a dynamic innovation ecosystem in the country.

 

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#TBT: Startup Weekend Manila 2011

Fortuitous and life-changing. These two words capture best this day, October 1st, for two startup founders in the Kickstart investment portfolio.

  • Fortuitous because today is the first day of October, which falls on a Thursday, and it brings back memories of the 1st-ever Startup Weekend Manila held at MINT College, October 21-23, 2011.
  • Life-changing because little did two registered participants know then that Startup Weekend Manila 2011 would be their first step out of their corporate cubbyholes and into the crazy cool world of co-working spaces for startup founders.

And following the modern tradition of #tbt posts, below is a repost of an original blog written by GiftLauncher co-founder Kenneth Reyes-Lao. Together with co-founder Shiela Marie Jocona, the unfolding story will take you back to Startup Weekend Manila 2011: what Ken and Shiela experienced, what they learned, and who they’ve met.

The blog accurately captures what makes Startup Weekend a great 54-hour bootcamp for wannapreneurs, the fledgling entrepreneurs, and anyone who willingly embraces entrepreneurship and digital innovation as a way of life.

And what’s heartening? Some folks from other teams Ken and Shiela were in competition with to earn the distinction of being the best  “No Talk, All Action” team of SWM 2011 reunited at #area55 — as founders of early-stage startups Kickstart invested in.

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STARTUP WEEKEND MANILA 2011
by Kenneth Reyes-Lao, Co-Founder and CEO, GiftLauncher

 

SWM2011

Startup Weekend events have been a staple tech event in the Philippines since 2011. The very first one was Startup Weekend Manila which was held in Mint College back in October of 2011. This year’s Startup Weekend Manila will be held in iAcademy in Makati City on October 10–12, 2014.

There are a lot of conflicting opinions on when the startup phenomenon really began in the Philippines but for us, Startup Weekend Manila 2011 was the starting point of our Startup Journey. This is a #throwback post to our Startup Weekend experience and what we’ve been doing since then.

Ground Zero

Back in 2011, Shiela Jocona and I used to work for a company calledTransnational Diversified Group (TDG). One of the enjoyable tasks that we were assigned to do was to conceptualize new businesses for the company and organize and mobilize resources to execute that new business.

On our spare time we were toying with a business idea that revolved around Crowdfunding and if we were to pull it off, how would that be implemented. A few weeks before Startup Weekend Manila, Patch Dulay told us about the event and that we should join. We took a look at the event page and decided to jump right in.

What I liked about Startup Weekend was that they invite people that come from different industries and have different expertise who try to work and learn together during the event.

Shiela and I enjoyed every minute of Startup Weekend Manila. We met a lot of interesting and cool people from different industries and backgrounds. And most importantly we learned a lot within that 54 hours and kept it close to our hearts until today.

Walk In Our Shoes

Let me take you back to what we’ve experienced, what we’ve learned and some people that we’ve met during Startup Weekend Manila 2011.

Getting Picked Last 

Shiela and I joined Startup Weekend with the intent to work on our idea. Back then, joining another team was out of the question. We wanted to pitch our idea and look for technical people to work with us over the weekend. And on that Friday night, we nearly walked out on this amazing experience twice…

Startup Weekend (for those of you who don’t have a clue) works like this:

  1. The Pitch Fire — Friday night, if you have registered to pitch an idea, you will only have 60 seconds to pitch your idea. In that 60 seconds, you need to have shared the following information: a) Introduced yourself b)The Problem you are trying to solve c) Your Startup Name and how it is going to solve the problem, d) And most importantly what you need for your team (ex: Designer, Developer etc)
  2. The People’s Choice — After the Pitch Fire, people from the audience gets to vote for the startup idea that they found interesting and would like to support. They then announce the top ideas from the Pitch Fire.
  3. Teams — Startup teams start looking for possible team members that they need.
  4. No Talk All Action — Once teams are formed, they have until Sunday to, learn from the mentors and work on the prototype.
  5. Final Pitch — Sunday evening is the final pitches for the teams and judging of the winners.

The main gist of the concept was to give better gifts that couples will love by pitching in with family and friends.

After the Pitch Fire session, there were 60+ startup ideas which were posted up and were voted upon during the People’s Choice segment. Of course we were biased and bullish about our idea and felt a bit of a heartbreak when we saw that we just got less than 10 votes (I vaguely remember how many votes exactly because I was trying to erase it from my memory haha).

We thought that if your startup idea did not garner enough votes then you’re out. Shiela and I are introverts but are foolishly competitive, and at that moment we were stubborn as well. We came to this event wanting to only work on our idea and no one else’s. We were about to leave when I had the urge to ask someone from the organising committee if we can still join and work on our idea over the weekend. Our eyes lit up when he said that as long as you can convince a developer to join your team to help the prototype then you’re good to go. In my mind I was thinking, “How hard can it be?”

It was pretty damn hard! We were walking around in circles in the halls of Mint College trying to convince developers to join our team and work on our Wedding Lab idea. I guess our idea was not that cool to work on and at that moment we were beginning to lose hope again. It was 11:30 pm and teams were already working on their ideas. They close the doors at 12:00 midnight and once again we were about to leave empty handed.

We were standing in the hallway near the exit with one foot already out the door. We were both tired and depressed being shut down through out the night that all we wanted to do was go home.

Shiela
Shiela Marie Jocona, GiftLauncher co-founder. Pictured here at MINT College, the venue partner of SWM 2011.

I told Shiela that we will wait for a couple of more minutes and ask the next developer that walked by if they would be interested to work on our idea. We ended up meeting two amazing developers who were willing to work with us over the weekend. Their names are Rod Coronel and Jose Asuncion. Looking back, waiting for a few more minutes and getting to meet these guys was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made in our Startup Journey.

No Talk, All Action

Out of the 60+ startup ideas that was pitched, it was down to 28 teams. Some teams made a conscious decision to merge with another team who was working on the same idea. Others did not get enough members on the team to be eligable to participate. I guess we owe it to our stubborness and a bit of luck to be able to work on Wedding Lab and learn from mentors and fellow participants.

I will limit my sharing during this part of the event so that first timers to Startup Weekend will get to experience it without any spoilers from me. Startup Weekend Manila has been running for a good four years now and I guess it wouldn’t hurt to share some learnings that we have taken to heart.

Learning Points

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) — In the corporate world an MVP would be your Most Valuable Proposition. This was the first time we heard the term in Startup speak. Having an MVP is to be able to build and deploy the core product to early adopters. MVP here does not mean the cheaper version of your product but a process of iteration where you are able to learn from your early customers. You iterate until you find Product Market fit or you find your product to be non-viable

Problem Solution Fit — Problem Solution Fit is having to validate your solution to the existing problem that you have proposed. Sometimes you find out that the solution to the problem does not fit. And sometimes it does but the problem is not big enough to merit you spending time on it. You need to constantly validate the problem against your customer and your proposed solution

Customer Validation — Based on our corporate experience, we tend to build products and solutions based on certain assumptions that may or may not be validated. We end up building a bulky system with all the bells and whistles either because your boss wants you to or your team is just working blindly based on assumptions. Building a startup means having a two-way conversation between your team and your customers. In this way, you can validate if you are still on the right direction or not.

Monetization — In simple terms, how are you going to make money out of your startup idea. This is usually my favorite part of the conversation. I love analysing business models. We don’t necessarily have a killer monetization strategy but I will always be interested in how other startups or businesses makes money. Based on our observation the usual suspects are having and ad-based revenue or subscription based revenue.

There are a lot more things that you’ll pick up when you attend this Startup Weekend Manila 2014. You will not learn everything in a weekend because it will be an information overload kind of weekend. I suggest that you listen to the mentors, take note and take it home with you. I advise that you guys constantly study and learn beyond this event.

Final Pitches

Christian, Jonathan
SWM 2011 co-organisers Christian Besler and Jonathan Lansangan. Taken during the counting of votes for best ideas pitched.

We are nearing the final pitches. You can feel the excitement and anxiety around the room. I’ve presented to a lot of top level executives even to CEOs and it came out easy for me but this time was different. I was nervous and anxious to do the final pitch with Rod. I guess the reason behind it was this was personal.

We did not win any of the Startup Weekend categories but the things that we’ve learned and the amazing people that we’ve met helped pave the way to where we are today.

Beyond Startup Weekend

We were still working in our previous company after Startup Weekend. During our spare time we were constantly working on WeddingLab. It took us a year to develop WeddingLab.

We were able to launch WeddingLab around April 2013. And by July 2013, we got in to Kickstart Ventures and Proud Cloud’s Accelerator Program called Launch Garage

Since joining the program, we’ve learned a lot and with our continued startup education we have decided to open up the platform and allow group-gifting beyond the wedding vertical.

We launched GiftLauncher.com so that we can pitch in for amazing gifts for any occassion.

Collectively we’ve processed over 700,000 pesos in gifts for our customers.

We are about to release version 2 of GiftLauncher.com and will continue on and develop mobile applications so that you can easily launch and pitch in for gifts as easily as sending a message.

Words of Advice

We wanted to share our story to be able to give back to the Startup Weekend community in the Philippines. This is how we started and for most of you Startup Weekend might also be your starting point.

For those brave enough to continue to work on their idea beyond the weekend we wanted to share some advice.

  1. Keep It Simple — Starting out with limited resources is very difficult. Flesh out your idea and build an MVP. Adding features to set yourself apart will be tempting but as much as possible focus on the core and it will be much easier for you when you iterate.
  2. Be Flexible on Execution but Be stubborn on the Vision — If you have a grander vision for the solution that you are building, you need to be stubborn about it. There are a lot of curve balls that will be thrown at you while building your startup. Always go back to the vision and be flexible on how you execute that vision.
  3. Get out of the Building — You will hear this a lot. It just means that never work in a silo. Go out and meet your customers and constantly validate. Talk to strangers and random people about your idea, they might provide you with a much more uncensored feedback that would be very valuable in the future.
  4. Have fun and love what your doing — It’s a bit of a cliche but it works for us. Have fun on your Startup Journey. There will be ups and seemingly long series of downs but if you love what you are doing it will definitely tide over those down days.
  5. No better day than today — There is no better day to start working on your startup idea than today. Jump in.

 

NOTE: GiftLauncher is a Kickstart-funded startup, which was first pitched as Wedding Lab PH on June 24, 2013 for LaunchGarage Mission 02 —the early-stage incubation program of Kickstart Ventures and ProudCloud

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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.

Merivita Marasigan

Accountant

Bavi is the Kickstart accountant.

She is a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy graduate from the University of Batangas in Southern Luzon and has 14 years’ worth of experience in accounting working with small and medium enterprises, manufacturing companies, and government agencies.

Ernest L. Cu

Kickstart Investment Committee Chairman; Globe CEO

Ernest is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Globe Telecom. Joining the company on 1 October 2008, he brings with him over two decades of general management and business development experience spanning multi-country operations. In 2010, he was declared Best CEO by Finance Asia and was conferred the International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC/Philippines) CEO EXCEL Award for communication excellence in telecom and IT. In 2012, Ernest earned international accolade as CEO of the Year by Frost&Sullivan Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Globe, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of SPI Technologies, Inc., where he earned the Ernst & Young ICT Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003.

Ernest earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila and his Master of Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

Alberto M. de Larrazabal

Kickstart IC Member; Globe Chief Commercial Officer

Alberto de Larrazabal is the Chief Commercial Officer of Globe.

As CCO, Albert drives the integration and execution of Globe’s strategies across all commercial units, including marketing, sales and channels, and product development for all segments of business. He joined Globe in 2006 as Head of the Treasury Division and became Chief Finance Officer in April 2010. Albert has 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 positions such as Vice President and Chief Finance Officer of the Marsman-Drysdale Corporation, Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sector – JP Morgan (Hong Kong), and Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer of San Miguel Corporation.

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

Alberto de Larrazabal is the Chief Commercial Officer of Globe.

As CCO, Albert drives the integration and execution of Globe’s strategies across all commercial units, including marketing, sales and channels, and product development for all segments of business. He joined Globe in 2006 as Head of the Treasury Division and became Chief Finance Officer in April 2010. Albert has 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 positions such as Vice President and Chief Finance Officer of the Marsman-Drysdale Corporation, Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sector – JP Morgan (Hong Kong), and Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer of San Miguel Corporation.

Ernest L. Cu

Board Member

Ernest is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Globe Telecom. Joining the company on 1 October 2008, he brings with him over two decades of general management and business development experience spanning multi-country operations. In 2010, he was declared Best CEO by Finance Asia and was conferred the International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC/Philippines) CEO EXCEL Award for communication excellence in telecom and IT. In 2012, Ernest earned international accolade as CEO of the Year by Frost&Sullivan Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Globe, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of SPI Technologies, Inc., where he earned the Ernst & Young ICT Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003.

Ernest earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila and his Master of Business Administration 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 fund raising, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, strategic planning, business development, and setting up and managing start-ups.

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.

Vince G. Tobias

Strategy & Partnerships Director

Vince Tobias joins Kickstart as Director of Strategy and Partnerships reporting to Kickstart president Minette Navarrete. This will be concurrent to his role as head of Ayala Innovation, which he has led since its beginnings in 2012. Outside the Ayala walls, he has been a pioneer of the nascent corporate innovation community, and has been onstage in  dozens of key international conferences, alongside other leading thinkers and practitioners. Vince serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI), the world-wide standard professional certification body, with the mission of developing innovation management as a management discipline, while democratizing innovation capability and catalyzing corporate culture.

Vince draws from eight years of management consulting experience — most recently with the Monitor Group, a top-tier strategy and innovation consulting firm founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter; and much earlier with Arthur Andersen’s Strategy Consulting practice in the Philippines, across the Asia-Pacific, and with AA’s Revenue Enhancement Competency Center headquartered in Chicago.

Vince also takes from experience in the startup world, where has led scale-ups internationally: as Managing Director (Malaysia) of K2, a pioneer digital agency now part of media giant the Publicis Groupe; as Regional Manager (Asia) of Intermedia Games UK, then the world’s biggest creator of cross-channel interactive games; and as co-founder of companies in the media, computing, and energy spaces.

Paolo B. Monteiro

Innovation Associate

Paolo “Monty” Monteiro joins Kickstart as Innovation Associate reporting to Vince Tobias, while continuing his role at Ayala Innovation where he helps drive disruptive thinking through trend analysis and new opportunities research; capability-building activities; and by organizing and participating in various internal and external innovation events, including Ayala’s annual Spark Innovation Conference. Monty also works with the Ayala Corporate Strategy team for special projects, group-wide strategic initiatives, and supports communications requirements of the Ayala leadership and Group Mancom.

Prior to joining Ayala in 2016, he was with the Makati Business Club for five years, where he specialized in communications, project management, and policy research and advocacy. During the Philippines’ hosting of the 2015 APEC Conference, he was appointed one of the leads of the Philippine youth delegation to APEC’s Voices of the Future Program and helped draft the APEC youth declaration statement.

Monty holds a  bachelor’s degree in Legal Management from the Ateneo de Manila University and studied on exchange at Mahidol University International College in Thailand.

Prior to joining Ayala in 2016, he was with the Makati Business Club for 5 years, where he specialized in communications, project management, and policy research and advocacy.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Legal Management from the Ateneo de Manila University and studied on exchange at Mahidol University International College in Thailand. During the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC Conference in 2015, he was selected to be one of the leads of the Philippine youth delegation to the APEC Voices of the Future Program, where he was also part of the international team that drafted the conference’s youth declaration.

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.