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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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#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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PH startups, developers push for global digital inclusion through Facebook’s Free Basics

DSC_1010__1443683606_222.127.180.160
Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business Daniel Horan, Growth & Partnerships Manager, Facebook Dikshant Chopra, Lily Lyman and Product Partnerships Manager, Facebook Jackie Chang, and Kickstart VP and Head of Community Engagement Christian Besler at the Kickstart Raid the Fridge event.

Philippine startups and developers were recently called to push for global digital inclusion by providing free access to basic internet services to millions of people worldwide through Facebook’s Free Basics powered by Globe.

Globe, through its venture capital subsidiary Kickstart Ventures, Inc., recently brought Facebook’s Free Basics closer to Philippine developer and startup communities to rally them to develop locally relevant and useful services for Filipinos through the Free Basics platform.

Jackie Chang, Product Partnerships Manager, Facebook, spoke to over 150 members of the Philippine startup community at the Raid The Fridge event hosted by Kickstart.

“We’re here to support local developers create locally relevant services and content that will make a real impact in people’s lives. This is an opportunity for the developer community in the Philippines to scale their products and bring the benefits of the internet to more Filipinos,” said Chang.

One of Kickstart’s portfolio companies, Kalibrr, which provides online job training and assessment tools to job applicants, is already one of the pioneer Philippine digital startups to be part of the Free Basics platform. To date, Kalibrr has 40,000 monthly active users on its blog advice content.

Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business Group Daniel Horan is equally excited with the partnership between Globe and Facebook to connect more people around the world through free internet services.

“Globe continues to share with Facebook the common goal of expanding the digital lifestyle and make it more inclusive. By opening Free Basics to developers and entrepreneurs, we see more opportunities to bring more Filipinos online and benefit from the free basic services offered. With this collaboration, Globe and Kickstart aims to bring more developers and services to the platform.”

He said that the Globe-Free Basics partnership would serve as the company’s impetus to drive existing business models, launch new and exciting offers, and make mobile internet more accessible within a safe browsing environment for Globe customers without having to worry about unexpected data charges.

With the refurbished platform, more than 60 new services are available across the 19 countries where free basic services are available. People using the app or mobile web version can navigate to a menu where they can select which services to add to the list.

To know more about Free Basics by Facebook powered by Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph/free-basics.

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PHILIPPINES: One of the Great Undiscovered Adventures of the World

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video ratio=”16-9″ align=”left” id=”47988360&doc=techinasiaphilippinemarketexpansiontrackbychristianbesler6may2015-150511094605-lva1-app6892″ link=”http://www.slideshare.net/KickstartPH/techin-asia-philippine-market-expansion-track-by-christian-besler-6-may-2015″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Highlights from TECHINASIA Singapore 2015 Conference (6-7 May 2015) included “Market Expansion Tracks,” a series of country-focused business environment briefings by subject matter experts. If you’re interested to enter the Philippine market, let this presentation be your guide: “THE PHILIPPINES: One of the Great Undiscovered Adventures of the World” by Christian Besler, Kickstart Ventures co-Founder.

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The doc is in! Examining the state of #healthtechPH

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last year, December 17 2014, we held our very first HealthTech Forum in A Space in Makati City. We gathered awesome speakers with topics centered around innovations in the field of healthcare. Better said: how can we apply technology to improve or change the way we deliver healthcare.

Kickstart invested in two HealthTech Startups: mClinica and Medix. We share their vision that Healthcare is ripe for disruption.

Further, emerging markets like the Philippines are in an unique position to be the testing ground for innovative and new models in the Healthcare sector. Hence, our very own backyard is the perfect playground.

Will Greene, one of our esteemed speakers, also wrote a nice summary about the event on his personal blog.

In case you didn’t make it (you missed out big time), we’ve thoughtfully arranged video  recordings for all speakers with their respective decks.

Our first speaker Paolo Borromeo – Group Head of Corporate Strategy and Development at Ayala Corporation, provided the 10,000 feet view on the healthcare ecosystem in the Philippines, best described as : abundance of opportunities!

His presentation is available here.

Paolo was followed by Eric Schulze, Founder & CEO Lifetrack Medical Systems. Eric was talking about the amazing stuff they are doing at Lifetrack. You can read more about his Startup here.

The presentation is available here.

Third speaker of the morning was William Greene, writer for Techonomy, Southeast Asia Researcher and Digital Strategist at Tigermine Ventures. He serves as mClinica’s Asia-Pacific Business Development Adviser.

Farouk Meralli, the Founder and CEO of mClinica followed with insights on the opportunities and challenges in the HealthTech ecosystem.

Farouk’s presentation can be found here.

The last speaker of the event was Jay Fajardo, CTO and Founder of Medifi – a Startup facilitating on-demand online medical consultations (between patients and doctors).

The presentation can be found here.

The questions raised during the presentations and the following networking session made it more than clear, we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what can be done when you combine technology and healthcare.

We are looking forward to see you at the next HealthTech event. If you wanna reach out to us and pitch your awesome idea or Startup that will change the way we think about Healthcare, just reach out to us here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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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.