Why Should you Read The Finishers

When creating a technology-based business, you can’t help but be inspired by the stories of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. One cannot imagine the seemingly unfathomable challenges that they conquered to get to where they are. Reading and watching their stories have inspired people around the globe, including our kababayans. But even when the world is a little bit smaller (or maybe event a lot smaller!) than before, most of us still think that the path to greatness only lie in a few parts of the world.

We’d love to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jessica Alba, but we still think that we, in the Philippines, may not have a chance. We think that we are still worlds apart, and that dream may never be a reality.

Don’t just let go of your dreams just yet, as this book called The Finishers, may be just what you need. Do you know that in this book, Ezra Ferraz, the author and a good friend of mine, documents 11 stories of founders who have successfully made exits.

An exit strategy is a contingency plan that is executed by an investor, trader, venture capitalist or business owner to liquidate a position in a financial asset or dispose of tangible business assets once certain predetermined criteria for either has been met or exceeded. (Read more here: Exit Strategy http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/exitstrategy.asp#ixzz4q0aqrY1L). The dream is really to achieve an exit.

And it’s quite a surprise that not everyone really know that we have founders here in the Philippines who have actually exited. “All of these founders hail from different industries. They have different functional expertise. Some are Filipino born and raised. Others are balikbayans. Still others are immigrants. Yet they all find common ground in the shared belief that you can build a world-class tech company right here in the Philippines.”

I have started reading the book and one of the things that I like about this book is that it brings us closer to reality — the reality that we can also achieve our dreams and ambitions, and we can actually make it big in the global tech arena. We often think that only startups in places like Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv or Singapore can make it big. We, too, can create, build and lead a company that can change how the things work in a global scale.

Another reality is that everyone can have a bright idea, but it all boils down to how bad the founder wants it. From the stories that I have read, most of these founders persevered even amidst competition, barriers, uncertainty, etc. They executed ideas and strategies, pivoted when something did’t work and were all relentless.

So if you have a dream, go for it! The Finishers, by author Ezra Ferras, will help you stay motivated and inspired throughout your start-up journey. It will give you a glimpse into the life that you will have and a peek into a life that you can have.

Order here: https://www.facebook.com/TheFinishersPh/

*** Since publishing The Finishers, Ezra continues to share the success stories of tech founders and their startups, this time through a company of his own, Ambidextr. Backed by Future Now Ventures, Ambidextr is a full service content marketing and public relations studio focused on serving tech innovators across Asia Pacific.

My Ideaspace Experience: Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016

“Given both your extensive experiences, why do you want to join Ideaspace?,” Miss Diane Eustaquio, Executive Director of the Ideaspace Foundation asked Dex (our CTO), Alex (CFO), me and my husband, as we went through the first round of interviews. I’ll share with you what we answered, but let me tell you more about Ideaspace’s story and our story before we joined.

Ideaspace’s mission is to encourage, develop, and nurture innovation and entrepreneurship by delivering a multi-faceted support program for science and technology entrepreneurs in the Philippines and in the ASEAN region. Their vision is to build a new Philippine economy that is driven by technology, innovation and entrepreneurship as a path to nation-building. We also asked startups if they knew what Ideaspace was and they told us that Ideaspace is a prestigious incubation program offered by the MVP group which everyone practically wanted to get into.

As CMO of Taxumo, since we started working on the idea January of this year, my role was really more of to take care of looking for possible partnerships for our business and to look for investors. Funding was what most of the people in this industry needed, and at first, I couldn’t understand why. I was used to doing business the traditional way, where you either put in a small amount of capital and grow it little by little or you loan from the bank or from family. But seeing how fast things are in the tech industry, I know now that funding hastens the process of developing your product. So like probably 80% of the startups in this industry (I have yet to validate this figure! haha!), I did what was expected of me — I started looking for funding.

The way people look for funding in this industry is so cool. They join pitch competitions (which we did). They sign up in different platforms visited by different VCs, angels, etc. (which I also did) and they apply to incubator and accelerator programs (which, obviously, I did as well). When Ideaspace called for applications, I sent out our application. We got through the first round and we then had to submit this video for the second round.

Luckily, we were chosen to be one of the top 20 startups who advanced to the incubation program! Yehey! The incubation program is a 6 week intensive program that will really test our limits as entrepreneurs. It kicked off with a 5 day bootcamp at First Pacific Leadership Academy in Antipolo. Since I got back last Friday, my friends have been asking me if the program (so far) has been worth it. I have been ecstatically saying that “it was so worth it!”

During the 5 day bootcamp, 3 founders should attend. I was there with EJ and Lex.

Taxumo Team

The first day was about of getting to know each other (the other startup founders) and getting to know more about your self. The second day was about getting to know more about the other members in your startup. We all took a test that assessed our strengths and weaknesses and then we were given tips on how to assign roles and how to work with other members of the team based on the assessment (which was so cool!). BTW, our team won the Amazing Race challenge for that day (super fun, btw, and super tiring! haha!). We learned more about planning for our startups the LEAN way, and for the next two days, we had a customer validation challenge which taught us tools, tricks and tips on validating our ideas using the Javelin Board (which will now be a fixture on our sala walls! haha!). On the last day, Ideaspace invited key partners, investors and advisors — key people who were important in implementing our ideas. It was one of the best experiences in my life, even if EJ and I had to drive to Antipolo everyday (we had the option to stay there but we needed to get home to see our daughter every day).

Taxumo and Nanica won 2nd for the V-Challenge (validation challenge)! Woohoo!

Taxumo and Nanica won 2nd for the V-Challenge (validation challenge)! Woohoo!


Taxumo with the super great and inspiring Prim Paypon!

Taxumo with the super great and inspiring Prim Paypon!


With our mentor Jojy Azurin at the Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016

With our mentor Jojy Azurin at the Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016


Paul Pajo, Gabe Mercado and Arin were guest speakers at Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016

Paul Pajo, Gabe Mercado and Arin were guest speakers at Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016


EJ telling the other Co-Founders about Taxumo

EJ telling the other Co-Founders about Taxumo


Last Day at the Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016

Last Day at the Ideaspace Bootcamp 2016

Our reply to Miss Diane was that during the few months that we have been part of the tech community in the Philippines, we have learned more about starting and maintaining a successful business. We both want to learn more and we think Ideaspace can help us learn more about putting up a tech startup specifically.

Yes, we have had experience working in corporate and that gave us the ability to come up with structured processes and streamlined strategies, but working to build a tech startup requires speed and hustling. For the last five days, it really taught us more about coming up with work fast and taught us how to hustle more! Plus, we have gained a new family! Ms. Diane, Miguel, Goldy, Brenda, Dustin, Ping, and all the other members of the Ideaspace team have really shown that now we are part of their family. It’s such a great feeling! 🙂

I’ll be writing more about my startup experience and lessons that I have learned in these coming months!


Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

Tech Babies who Pitch

Two days ago, the fastest and one of the most important 3 minutes of our lives happened. During that day, our team had to deliver a 3 minute pitch for the Philippines Qualifiers for Echelon Summit Asia 2016. We didn’t even expect to be part of the top entries in the Philippines, since we really didn’t have any basis on what the judges were looking for. This was the first time that we were going to pitch after several years. Looking at the list of startups, we felt like babies pitted against the pros who have done this several times before. All we had were the business experience of each member of the team, confidence and a lot of preparation. It may seem very trivial to spectators, but let me help you understand how important these pitches are for startups.

Echelon Asia Summit Philippine Qualifiers

Pitching is basically summarizing the time and effort spent in your business in 3 minutes. We started conceptualizing our business late last year, but some of these businesses have even been in the industry for a year and already gaining revenue. We have gone through brainstorming, idea generation, choosing what brand or product name to go with, purchasing hosting or even dedicated servers. We have gone through hours and hours of coding to create product prototypes and user friendly websites. We have gone through market analysis, market strategies, market research. We have analyzed the market sized and have come up with the best business model that we could think of after deciding that thinking about it too much caused analysis-paralysis. We have gone through all those and more and in pitches, they expect us to relay all of these things that we have done in 3 minutes. Can you just imagine that?

Taxumo Pitch

Ej, CEO of Taxumo.com

Echelon Summit Asia

Pitches open doors. Startups pitch business ideas for different reasons. They pitch because they want funding and pitches shows investors a little bit about who and what you are as an entity. Some startups use it to validate ideas and some use it as a testing ground to learn more and to improve their product by hearing what the investors and judges have to say.

Lyle from Cape

Lyle, CEO of Cape

As mentioned. we haven’t attended a pitch since 2010 and this is the first time again that we are actively joining this scene. I haven’t been in touch with this industry for several years, but since two years ago, I have joined friends who wanted to make a difference by putting up a tech startup. And recently, I have become even more attracted to this community and I’m beginning to love it.

Carlo of Klaseko.com

Carlo of Klaseko.com

As far as I have seen, people are very nice and are willing to share ideas and input that would further improve your product. They are also very helpful and are willing to share contacts for resources that you might need. Of course, you still have to protect you ideas, but so far, I’m loving the vibe of the Philippine Tech Startup Scene.

Taxumo Team: EJ - CEO, Ginger - CMO and Dex - Lead Developer

Taxumo Team: EJ – CEO, Ginger – CMO and Dex – CTO

What I have noticed is that a lot of Filipinos have new and great ideas and not a lot of them have access to things like these pitches. I have been helping my fellow entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs come up with solid business plans and marketing strategies for a couple of years now and it was only recently that I got to absorb and see with my own eyes what articles or what people meant when they said that the Philippines is the up and coming startup scene in SEA. I have my own start ups in the Philippines and it was just fairly recent that I got to realize that there are already quite a number of incubators, angel investors, venture capitalist who are willing to invest in startups with good, unique and revenue generating ideas.

I highly recommend people to check out this industry and if you have new ideas, just go and check out its feasibility and its potential.