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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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Digital tech startup Squadzip closes successful seed funding

Squadzip, a mobile-first software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for productivity and collaboration that applies the ease of use and familiarity of popular social media platforms to a sales and project management context, received an undisclosed amount of funding from corporate venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures and Silicon Valley-based seed-stage investor and innovation platform Plug and Play Tech CenterPHOTO_Squadzip Homepage

Squadzip is the first co-investment between Kickstart Ventures and Plug and Play Tech Center. This also marks the first investment of Plug and Play Tech Center in the Philippines.

Squadzip was inspired by CEO and co-founder Roman Mercado’s own frustrations in using productivity solutions while he was working in enterprise sales for medical, banking, and digital media industries.

In his corporate life, Mercado saw many corporations sink huge amounts of money into enterprise solutions, the implementation of which meant high upfront fees, hardware cost, complex user trainings, and time delays. These solutions ranged from the free to typically expensive legacy enterprise platforms. The situation prompted Mercado to tap colleague and now CTO and co-founder Joaquin Barandino to help build Squadzip, a productivity tool for businesses that allows teams to communicate in real-time and share data without having to endure lengthy forms.

“For our enterprise customers, Squadzip is like their own private company social media platform and wiki.  Activities are posted in real time on a live feed which are time- and location-stamped, while business intelligence is captured from each post to be classified and organized easily and in real time into Intel Pages. Also, sales teams involved in specific deals can collaborate and access data from anywhere in the world,” said Mercado.

Mercado and Barandino capitalized on the Filipinos’ proclivity for social media apps in a bid to ensure easy adoption by those assigned to use Squadzip. Instead the traditional task- and form-based paradigm commonly seen in other solutions, they created a hashtagging system called “ziptags” based on natural reporting behavior  which allows users to quickly categorize, search, and retrieve data on customer histories, competitors, and service issues as well as added powerful geolocation and timestamp features that allow businesses  to know what is going on and where it is happening.

Mercado further shared: “We make it a point to work closely with each client to make sure we remain responsive to actual needs and pain points they go through in their day-to-day operations. Our customers today use Squadzip to locate, monitor, and track sales teams remotely; capture and organize valuable customer data, service issues, and leads seamlessly; and analyze sales funnels, monitor ongoing projects, and track performance. ”

Since July 2014 when Squadzip was adopted by their first paying enterprise client, it is now in smartphones carried by teams traveling to different parts of the world. Squadzip is being applied in various use cases including sales, customer relationship management, and project management.

Early adopters

Enrique Miguel Valles, Mida Food Distributors president and chief operating officer, is an early user of Squadzip. His company signed up after experiencing unending difficulties in monitoring frontline itineraries resulting to lost opportunities and unanswered leads.

“Squadzip helped us implement a quicker response time: rapid deployment of sales reps as soon as needed by clients, better inter-department communication, and a more strategic approach to itinerary planning, all of these resulting to a record-breaking 2nd half of 2014,” Valles stated. Their use of Squadzip resulted to a year-on-year top line sales increase by 20%.

Another enterprise client, Apo Floors, a local manufacturer of vinyl and luxury resilient flooring, is on its 2nd year using Squadzip. Their vice-president and general manager Alfredo Mamonong shared that Squadzip allows them to save information on customers, companies, competitors, products, opportunities, and projects in real-time which become helpful references for decision-making.

Squadzip is, likewise, a perfect fit for companies with teams working in different parts of the country. Maria Ceres Reano, Broadchem Pharmaceuticals head of product research and development, is able to work with her mobile teams while out in the field dealing with agricultural corporations and farms.

“Using Squadzip has allowed Broadchem to remotely monitor and review activities of our territory managers and the status of their on-going promotions and projects,” said Reano.

Kickstart Ventures, Plug and Play Tech Center co-invest

Kickstart and Squadzip representatives during the close of the seed funding, L-R: Alex Alabiso, Kickstart head for portfolio development; Justine Castro-Mercado, Squadzip director; Roman Mercado, Squadzip co-founder and chief executive officer; Minette Navarrete, Kickstart president; Dan Siazon, Kickstart senior vice-president and treasurer; and Joaquin Barandino, Squadzip co-founder and chief technology officer.
Kickstart and Squadzip representatives during the close of the seed funding, L-R: Alex Alabiso, Kickstart head for portfolio development; Justine Castro-Mercado, Squadzip director; Roman Mercado, Squadzip co-founder and chief executive officer; Minette Navarrete, Kickstart president; Dan Siazon, Kickstart senior vice-president and treasurer; and Joaquin Barandino, Squadzip co-founder and chief technology officer.

In just 18 months since they started, Squadzip has already gained a portfolio of enterprise users across multiple industries. The funding from Kickstart Ventures and Plug and Play will enable the founders to further improve their product and scale distribution here and abroad.

“CRM remains to be an interesting space for Plug and Play.  Particularly those with very creative solutions in enhancing the user experience and interphase, like Squadzip. Its approach to ease of use and intuitive tagging of information I believe is key to its success.  Squadzip is the first investment of Plug and Play in the Philippines so we’re excited to work with Roman and his team and we hope to accelerate Squadzip’s potential globalization, possibly to become the next Salesforce or Sugar,” said Jojo Flores, Co-Founder and Vice-President. Plug and Play engages over 300 corporations in Silicon Valley.

 

Minette Navarrete, president of Kickstart Ventures, a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom also welcomed the addition of Squadzip in their investment portfolio. “Squadzip is an enterprise solution designed to be frontline-focused, and architected to be enterprise-grade. Frontliners and head office management share the goal of growing their business, delivering great quality service to customers, and sharing information in real-time, frequently over multiple locations,” she said.

She added:  “Squadzip’s intuitive user interface makes it easy for distributed teams to collaborate and report information; and the back-end keeps it simple for management to make good decisions and communicate these quickly. This balance makes Squadzip a powerful tool in business development in today’s fast-paced environment.”

With the funding we’ve received from Kickstart and Plug and Play, Mercado expressed confidence that they are in an even better position to help more businesses serve their customers better and faster while saving them time and money.

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Singtel Innov8 launches global programme on startup collaboration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project Briefs

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

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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.

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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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Local startups get opportunity to expand beyond PH and Asia

Edgar Hardless, CEO, Singtel Innov8, on the new partnership: “This is a great opportunity for us to deepen our connections with leading innovation hubs around the world. More start-ups harbor aspirations to venture beyond their own markets and go global. Through Singtel Innov8’s deep connections in Southeast Asia, we can help open doors for African, European, Middle Eastern and Latin American start-ups to the region. Similarly, our portfolio companies can leverage this partnership to expand beyond their home markets."
Edgar Hardless, CEO, Singtel Innov8, on the new partnership: “This is a great opportunity for us to deepen our connections with leading innovation hubs around the world. More startups harbor aspirations to venture beyond their own markets and go global. Through Singtel Innov8’s deep connections in Southeast Asia, we can help open doors for African, European, Middle Eastern and Latin American startups to the region. Similarly, our portfolio companies can leverage this partnership to expand beyond their home markets.”

Local digital startups under the portfolio of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned venture capital firm of Globe Telecom, are expected to benefit significantly from the recently announced partnership among the startup innovation arms of Singtel (Singtel Innov8), Orange (Orange Fab), Deutsche Telekom (hub:raum), and Telefónica (Telefónica Open Future).

The four telecom giants have joined forces to bridge the startup ecosystems across Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East with the aim of catalyzing the growth of eligible startups and launching them beyond their respective home markets.

“We are excited over this development since this global mutual support network is especially relevant to our own startups which have global growth aspirations. Singtel, Orange, Deutsche Telecom, and Telefonica are a formidable partnership covering all of the planet. We couldn’t have better telecom partners to start a global journey with,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart.

She added: “It is Kickstart’s role to build bridges to enable close and relevant engagement between the business community and the startup founders. Thus, working with other incubation and investment companies drives that goal forward, fostering collaboration and creating a startup community that goes not only beyond the Philippines’ borders but even beyond Southeast Asia.”

Kickstart currently has 22 portfolio companies with various products and services encompassing SaaS (Software as a Service), e-commerce, social impact, digital lifestyle, FinTech, and HealthTech, several of which have already ventured to other countries.

The partnership benefits are available to startups supported by hub:raum, Orange Fab, Telefónica Open Future, and Singtel Innov8, as well as all members of Innov8 Sparks – a network of startup support and funding initiatives across Southeast Asia, founded by members of the Singtel Group including Kickstart.

Select startups will have the opportunity to tap the resources and network of the said telecom leaders. This includes market insights, introductions to partners, the use of co-working spaces, and access to the companies’ operating businesses as well as gain access to all operators’ collective mobile customer base of over one billion people across the globe.

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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.