The Philippines’ first public-private sector initiative for startups, QBO Innovation Hub (QBO), will launch its own app where startups can connect with top-notch mentors and consultants who can help them grow their business on March 1 at the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati.
QBO (‘ku-bo’) was formed through a partnership between Ideaspace Foundation Inc., J.P. Morgan, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It is a platform for the startup community to collaborate, develop talent, and grow. Spurred on by the vision of Filipino startups changing the world, QBO’s mission is to create a globally competitive startup ecosystem in the Philippines. The QBO App is an extension of QBO’s on-ground efforts.
“In this fast-paced, always-on world, we saw the need for startups to get easy access to our services and resources. This is why we created the app,” said Katrina Chan, Director, QBO Innovation Hub.
The QBO App is downloadable on iOS and Android devices (search for ‘QBO Innovation Hub’). It is a digital space where startups and entrepreneurs can come together to connect and collaborate with other players in the startup ecosystem and contribute their own knowledge with the community.
Access to top-notch mentors
QBO recently launched its impressive mentor roster, consisting of successful startup founders, experienced venture capitalists, and veteran company leaders, among others. They were selected to provide mentorship to startups that qualify for the INQBATION program, which was created in partnership with J.P. Morgan.
The INQBATION program was designed to support highly promising yet underserved Philippine startup companies. Once selected for the program, startups gain access to a customized development program that provides targeted interventions to help them achieve their unique goals, overcome barriers to growth, and scale.
“A significant number of startups fail, and the reasons vary. Among the most common include lack of focus and lack of motivation or commitment. However, there is one factor that proves to be even more dangerous to the success of a startup: the lack of mentorship,” said Rene “Butch” Meily, President, QBO Innovation Hub.
“We didn’t want to waste the great potential we see in a lot of local startups. And we believe that our mentors can help them move forward and grow,” Chan said.
Here are the seven mentors, and why they’re perfect for Philippine startups:
- Chito Bustamante, CEO, Chikka Asia, Inc. The Silicon Valley engineer has enabled Chikka to grow and develop into what it is today. During his term, Chikka was awarded triple ISO certifications and a rare CMMI maturity level 5, which is the highest in the industry. Aside from being a CEO, Bustamante is actively taking on mentorship roles to help young startup founders succeed.
- Ambar Machfoedy, Managing Partner, Rekanext Venture Capital Partners. In his current role, Machfoedy manages a Singapore-based Venture Capital firm that is focused on a portfolio of technology ventures that target Southeast Asian markets. Machfoedy is also well versed in analyzing and assessing deals, conducting due diligence, and executing exit strategies via IPOs/M&As, all of which are important for any startup founder.
- Jojy Azurin, Founder and CEO of Horsepower.ph. Azurin has co-founded a number of startups as well as IT companies. He has pioneered tech companies in the fields of BPO, IT outsourcing, online content publishing, and eCommerce. He is also co-director at Manila Chapter of Founder Institute, the world’s largest startup incubator. A seasoned leader and entrepreneur like him can definitely help any startup founder navigate the choppy startup waters.
- Francis Simisim, CEO of Social Light, Inc. Simisim’s experience as an entrepreneur through various startups such as WhenInManila, Blogapalooza, and Social Light, Inc. is valuable to any fledgling startup. His current position as partner at a Philippine-based VC firm, Original Pitch Venture Capital, can give startup founders invaluable insight when it comes to pitching to potential investors and coming up with out-of-the-box creative solutions.
- Joey Vilar, Head of Marketing Services & OIC of Market Education, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). Running a successful startup requires a good understanding of financial matters. Recruiting a mentor who has a strong background in finance spells the difference between a successful startup and a floundering one. Vilar, who has been at the helm of the PSE’s marketing services and market education for 10 years, is the perfect match for any startup that wants access to financial knowledge.
- Noel Lorenzana, a Venture Capitalist with years of experience in key leadership position. Insight from someone who has successful experience in various posts as CEO, COO, President, and Managing Director and served in various roles across functions in General Management, Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Innovation Management is gold for anyone who is just starting out. Lorenzana has weathered many challenges as an executive, making him the perfect mentor for newbie founders.
- Joseph Lacson, Chief Investment Officer at Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Lacson has accrued various leadership experiences spanning a wide range of departments in his 20 years of professional experience. Currently, he is the CIO of Metro Pacific Investments. He has also been at the helm of many sales and marketing departments, as well as strategy and business development. Insights from someone who has experience in moving and growing various companies can prove helpful to anyone just starting out.
Started last March 1, QBO startups have unfettered access to these mentors and more through the QBO App.
For more information about QBO’s INQBATION program, please visit www.qbo.com.ph.