Thursdays Unplugged Postscript (July 31 Edition)

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  See that bottle of Pepsi in the picture? I started this Thursdays Unplugged session by accidentally dropping the closed bottle, and then proceeding to absent-mindedly open it. The result was an explosion of cola and pride, mostly on my shirt (which, incredibly, looks the same in the picture). It was all uphill from there though! With the third participant calling that he couldn't make it the last minute, this became a 3-person session. Of course, I loved the result, as Jode, Gerome, and I not only got into the technicalities of the their startup ideas, but more importantly, we got to talk about their journey, and the softer parts of the startup life. The thing I love … [Read more...]

JGL Thursdays Unplugged v1 – So What Happened?

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Last week, we held our very first Thursdays Unplugged in the STORM office in Ortigas. I was with John, Gelo, and Ethel. We were supposed to be 5 people but the last participant couldn't make it at the last minute. In retrospect, it was better suited for 4 people - more on this later. So what happened?  I had no idea what was going to happen, so it was a bit awkward to start - it seemed too intimate at first. Then I laid the rules - 15 minutes per person, with an ideal 5-minute pitch, and then everyone can supply ideas and advice. And just like that, we started. It was pretty cool. Everyone had a very different idea, with each at different stages of the startup process. One was … [Read more...]

My Night With Entrepreneurs

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One of the things I had promised myself was that I would always say "yes" to entrepreneur speaking engagements whenever I would have the honor of being invited and if my time permitted. A few weeks ago I was asked by Ateneo MBA students to be one of the speakers for their culminating event, "Night with Entrepreneurs." I hesitated in saying yes because the weeks preceding January 1 are always the busiest for STORM - it's when our current clients renew and when new clients are added. Not wanting to begin compromising what I promised, and realizing I could make up the work I'd be missing, I said yes. I'm glad I did. Why? Well, first off, I got to hear and learn a lot from my … [Read more...]

On Scaling, the Recent SOFTCON, and the Wonder of Technology

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Recently, I took a picture of the weekly FLEXIBLE BENEFIT products we received in our office and now had to deliver to our clients: There were hundreds of items ordered in a span of a few days. It was the very first time I've seen this many orders made in our system. We had to find a room to keep all the items secure. The problems we're facing in STORM now are very different from what we've faced over the last few years. Before, we would just be consumed mostly by sales and developing the technology further. (and you know, startup stuff like "where the hell do we get the money for next month's payroll?!") Now, while the above-mentioned things are still supremely important, we … [Read more...]

Ah! Open Coffee! (October Edition Postscript)

Group pic! SMILE!

I have to admit, I was worried about the 2-month absence of Open Coffee. Would we lose momentum?  Would people still go?  Will the pitches be just as good?  It turns out, my fears were unfounded. I thought October Open Coffee was super! For starters, after the 2 months, it was great to see the holdovers / familiar faces (around 20 or so, you know who you are) who keep on coming back. You practically feel like family. Next, I thought, we just had the MOST DIVERSE SET OF PITCHES we've ever had. And if you've been to Open Coffee before and heard the pitches, you'd know this is saying a lot. Let's see.... We had an OFW-children's support group, a fashion data aggregator, … [Read more...]

July 2013 Open Coffee Postscript

JGL's July Open Coffee

There was a moment during the actual pitching proper last Saturday's Open Coffee event that I looked at Matt and AR of JGL and said, "I love this...I love it!" It was one of the many times when someone in the audience had the the RIGHT contact or the RIGHT information and then just generously offers it to the pitcher who needs it. This encapsulates the whole point of Juan Great Leap: collaboration and learning. The JGL Open Coffee format pushes this to another level: there is no "sage on the stage" or a central source of information. It's just entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-minded people helping one another out. As usual, last Saturday was very, very different from every other Open … [Read more...]

Dare To Pitch Postscript

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Last Saturday, Juan Great Leap and Hybridigm held Dare To Pitch at the STORM headquarters in Ortigas Center. It was a pitching forum where we invited startups to pitch to VC's. No winners, no prizes. We just wanted deserving entrepreneurs to have a venue where they could pitch to institutional investors. At best, they could get funded, at worst, they WILL get valuable experience, feedback, and contacts. The event was actually a non-public post-event, where ready attendees of the pitching seminar Pitchcraft could volunteer to do an ACTUAL pitch. There were a few audience slots which we opened up to the JGL subscriber base (there are benefits of becoming a subscriber!),  which were … [Read more...]

June Open Coffee Postscript – This Just Keeps on Getting Bigger

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As usual, everyone had a grand time in the June edition of JGL's Open Coffee series held at the beautiful 47 East compound last Saturday. It was a good mix of seasoned startup guys (like Joey Gurango, Ari Bancale, Jojy Azurin, Glenn Santos, David Elefant, Jason De la Rosa, Robert Bernabe, Roxanne Aquino, and so many others), newly-minted startup guys, and newbies. As per Open Coffee tradition, 199jobs.com's main man Glenn Santos starts things off with some startup news: The first pitch is always kind of crucial. There's usually a bit of hesitation as to who wants to go first. Not in the June edition though! An evident trend I really like is the increase of the … [Read more...]

Pitchcraft Postscript

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I had a great time at the Pitchcraft Event last Saturday at AIM. With nearly 70 people, there was a lot of energy in the air. Most importantly, I saw there was a lot of learning happening. Just a quick summary of what happened, for those of you who missed it: First, Karen Hipol of Carillion Partners (yup, she of the $100 million fund) came in to give the first talk: WHAT should the pitch contain. Then, Maoi Arroyo of Hybridigm delivers the second talk: HOW the pitch should be given. After a short break, the panel/simulation activity began. First a panel of experts are introduced: technology serial entrepreneur David Cruz, AIM professor and entrepreneurship expert Richard Cruz (not … [Read more...]

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