35 Innovative Fintech Founders in the Philippinesby Tom Noda November 8, 2018
Despite the Philippines’ catch up internet speed, mobile connectivity, and financial inclusion, it has attracted and inspired many innovative people in the business and technology sectors who saw all these problems as opportunities in disguise.
Latest statistics showed that in 2017 almost 70 per cent of the country’s 105.7 million population were recorded unbanked even as access to financial products and services remained low while overseas remittances continue to soar high at $33 billion.
Here’s a random list of fintech founders who continue to find ways in solving the country’s fintech gaps:
John Joseph Gabriel Puzon
Called JG Puzon by his peers, he founded Posible.net in 2016, a community digital transactions provider catering mostly to rural folks who don’t have access to financial services and products even if they have money. The company has now become a large business-to-business-to-consumer (B2b2C) network in the Philippines. It acts as a marketplace where vendors sell their services to people with no connectivity to Internet and no access to the formal banking system. Puzon has a degree in industrial engineering from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA. A Mombushu full scholar, he had his MBA in International Business Strategy at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy in Tokyo. He finished his first MBA in Business Administration at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
CEO, FirstTree Ventures Corp.
Ralph is one of the most successful Filipino fintech-enablers based on his achievements in implementing large-scale technology programs both local and overseas. He founded payments portal VMoney in 2013 which is now used by retail and online merchants, travellers, government agencies, small to large enterprises, transportation providers, and educational institutions. Ralph led VMoney for over four years and just last October became the CEO of FirstTree Ventures, an internet and technology holdings company that incubates and develops fintech companies globally. Prior to joining FirstTree, he was the CEO of Arkin Technologies Ltd.
Founder & CEO, Coins.ph
Ron is an active investor and adviser to several Silicon Valley startups who co-founded mobile wallet and digital currency exchange Coins.ph in 2014. He was a founding partner at Innovation Endeavors, an early stage venture capital fund backed by Eric Schmidt. Ron was also the co-founder of TokBox (acquired by Telefonica), a consumer video conferencing company. TokBox was backed by Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital, Stanford University and some of Silicon Valleys best-known angel investors. Ron holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from Cornell University, where he graduated at the top of his class.
Founder & CEO, Acudeen
Mario Jordan “Magellan” Fetalino III launched Acudeen Technologies, Inc., in 2016 as an online peer to peer marketplace for receivable discounting in the Philippines. He currently sits as Member Board of Trustee of Fintech Alliance Philippines and a Board Director of the Philippine Association for Digital Commerce and Decentralised Industries (PADCDI). Acudeen is the winner of Seedstars Global 2017 & Founder Institute’s Best Global Fintech 2017. IDC ranked the startup as one of the Top 10 fastest growing fintechs in the Philippines.
Mark is the founder and owner of digital wallet firm Tagcash. He is an IT veteran for three decades and has been engaged in the fintech industry in Southeast Asia for the last six years. Mark is also a blockchain developer, angel investor, and current chairman of Fintech Philippines Association.
Mikko leads growth-stage fintech startup Ayannah, which caters mostly to OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) by offering digital remittances, payments and business solutions. He has a successful track record investing in and operating innovative technology, new media, and telecom-related ventures. Some of his previous positions were director of finance and business development at Chikka, investment manager at Next Century Partners, as well as investment banker at JP Morgan Chase (Hambrecht & Quist) in San Francisco where he advised technology, media, and telecom ventures. Mikko serves on the board of several companies and foundations.
Co-founder & CEO, SCI Ventures Inc
John has been building a Bitcoin ecosystem in the Philippines for the past four years having also co-founded two Bitcoin technologies in 2014 — the Bitmarket.ph and Rebit.ph — meant to empower Filipinos with universal access to otherwise inaccessible financial services. A software developer and entrepreneur, John established his first venture, Baicapture Inc. in 2006, touted as a pioneer in the photo booth industry with presence in the Philippines and Singapore.
Founder & CEO, MergeCommit
James founded MergeCommit in April 2017 to provide blockchain based products and services for companies here and abroad. A a software developer, he is responsible for strategic planning and management of MergeCommit. He envisions MergeCommit to be the most successful and well-known blockchain company in South Asia within the next eight years. James pioneered a bitcoin exchange in the Philippines in 2013 called BuyBitcoin.ph now owned by Bitcoin Investment Group.
Founder & CEO, BloomSolutions Inc.
Israel established BloomSolutions in 2015 to provide a range of financial inclusion services to the unbanked in the Philippines. Hailing from Australia, Israel integrates a background in software engineering, international humanitarian aid and development, and entrepreneurship. He considers himself now as a blockchain entrepreneur – innovation strategist. He holds degrees in Engineering and Science from the University of Queensland, Australia, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Founder & CEO, PDAX
Nichel founded Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) in 2017 to encourage Filipinos conduct direct investments in cryptocurrencies. PDAX is an online, open marketplace for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Nichel is the former investment banking associate at Evercore in Hong Kong, with a focus on M&A, and also used to head the corporate trust and investments at HSBC in the Philippines. He received his MBA from The Wharton School of Business and is a CFA charter holder.
Patrick Paul Palacios
Patrick created Appsolutely in 2013 after seeing the huge growth potential for e-commerce in the Southeast Asian region. Prior to establishing the company, he went on a stellar two-decade run as a tech entrepreneur and executive, creating digital business ventures Ilios Resources and Helius Tech and setting strategies for tech and telco conglomerates such as Digitel, Nortel, and Lucent. He sits as Appsolutely’s president and CEO as well as Loyalcoin (Appsolutely’s digital asset).
Patrick Lynch, 28, Philippines
Co-Founder and CEO, First Circle
Irish native Patrick Lynch launched First Circle in 2015 designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines to access capital through invoice financing and purchase order financing. First Circle uses available information such as social media, credit, network and cellphone data to create credit scores to determine the feasibility of a loan. Backed by the likes of Deep Blue VC and 500 Startups, First Circle has loaned millions of dollars to businesses in the Philippines.
Anthony Giovanni Chua
A software architect and full-stack developer, Anthony led his team to launch Coinage in 2013, technically the Philippines’ first enterprise-grade order book bitcoin exchange platform that allows you to trade BTC and Philippine Peso (PHP). Based on his resume online, Anthony worked as chief software architect of Satoshi Citadel Industries now Satoshi Ventures where he helped conceptualize and design bitcoin based systems. He also did a stint at Bitmarket.ph designing payment system capable of handling bitcoin payments and push based instant payment confirmation from ground up. He is currently a blockchain consultant of Fluent Funds, and a partner of Milkfish Studio.
CEO & Co-Founder, ZAP Group Inc
Dustin is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded four companies in the fields of vehicle advertising, SEO content outsourcing, daily deals and merchant loyalty & rewards. He co-founded ZAP in 2013 now a top rewards and loyalty progam in the Philippines. He conceptualized, designed ZAP’s mobile number based loyalty program for restaurants and retailers with over 1 million users and 1,000 partner merchants.
Founder & CEO, TraXion by Pluma Technologies
Founder, Gava Technologies Pte. Ltd.
A seasoned IT professional, Ann founded two companies in 2016 the Singapore-registered company Gava Tech Pte Ltd which operates in the Philippines as a crowdfunding platform, and Pluma technologies Ltd which was established in Ireland to strategically expand the products and services of Gava Technologies Inc and Gava Tech Pte Ltd. Pluma now owns the IP of TraXion, a Hyperledger Blockchain based solutions that aims to work hand in hand with financial institutions as they inevitably transition to virtual currencies and blockchain. TraXion is a peer-to-peer financial technology solution based on blockchain. Ann is a former country manager of Anabatic Technologies.
Patrick “Patch” Dulay
Founder & CEO, The Spark Project
Patch is a startup enabler in the Philippines who founded in 2013 The Spark Project, a crowdfunding website and startup community where entrepreneurs and changemakers can submit their projects. The platform offers both donation and rewards-based crowdfunding. Patch as an innovation and program consultant has worked with Ayala Land Inc. in mounting IDEA’YALA, the flagship youth challenge of the Ayala Malls crowdsourcing innovative ideas that shape the mall of the future. He is also a mentor at the Hub of Innovation and Inclusion at the College of Saint Benilde.
Founder and Board Member, Pawnhero
David is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor who founded the first online pawnshop in Southeast Asia in 2014 called Pawnhero, a multi-awarded startup. He previously launched Malaysia’s leading financial comparison website CompareAsiaGroup and led the expansion in the Philippines. David claims to have started his first startup when he was 16 and lived in seven countries across three continents. He is now pursuing an Global Executive MBA at IE Business School in Madrid.
Rachel De Villa
Founder and CTO, Cropital
Rachel De Villa Founder CropitalRachel De Villa is the co-founder and CTO of Cropital, a crowdfunding platform that helps finance local Filipino farmers. Established in 2015, Cropital aims to improve the income and productivity of farmers through crowdfunding, providing scalable and sustainable financing. Through Cropital’s online platform, investors choose a farm or farms to invest in. Cropital manages the fund for the farmer making sure it goes to the right resources, assuring as well that investors will get a return on investment.
Founder and President, PhilSmile
Camille created PhilSmile in 2011 that offers cloud-based ERP to schools in the Philippines. PhilSmile builds different fintech services on top of payment, cashless system, invoice discounting, and loans. A former consultant of Asian Development Bank, Camille earned his masters degree in marketing at Essec Business School Paris, and an MBA Exchange program at Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
Founder & CEO, PaidUp
Asim founded PaidUp in September 2016, a cashless mobile app platform that he formally launched in Manila later that year. He is a journalist-turned-entrepreneur based in Southeast Asia building fintech startups in emerging markets. PaidUp is designed to help small and medium businesses in emerging markets ‘crowdfund’ working capital directly from their customers. The app also allows regular customers go cashless by turning their phones into prepaid digital wallets, enabling them to discover, advance order and instantly pay for local food, drinks and services on-the-move, among others. Asim eyes to expand PaidUp across Asia soon.
Founder & CEO, Uploan
Liam founded Uploan in January 2017 designed to make salary loans simple. By partnering with employers in the Philippines Uploans provides loans to employee’s which are salary deducted. Liam served as energy access Consultant at IFC for over two years, and also worked as progam manager at Lighting Pakistan. He is a graduate of International Relations and Affairs at the University of Keele, and earned his Master’s degree of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University.
Co-Founder & CEO of FundKo
Dexter co-founded FundKo in October 2017 to provide a crowdfunding platform that connects verified lenders and borrowers. FundKo is a subsidiary of Guevent Investments Development Corporation (GIDC) where Dexter sits as managing director. He has held key executive positions in several companies for the past decade like vice president of The Nielsen Company, and Manila Electric Company, as well as president and CEO of Meralco Energy Inc (MSERV).
Jaime de los Angeles
Co-Founder, Advance Tech Lending Inc
Founder & CEO, Lendwell Solutions Inc.
Jaime leads two local fintech startups Advance Tech Lending and Lendwell, which he co-founded and founded in September 2018 and September 2017, respectively. Advance delivers on-demand sachet financial services to the underbanked and underserved Filipinos, while Lendwell is focused on responsible online lending, catering especially the underbanked.
Edgar is a software developer who founded in 2015 LendMe Philippines, an online portal for borrowers and lenders. He is also an investor and director at Virtual Advantage Worldwide, a company offering a virtual assistance for overseas clients. He is also a founder of a small call center company SevenTech Solution. He likewise founded nine different traditional businesses.
Jeff Stewart, and Richard Eldrige
Jeff and Richard were one of the early founders of modern fintech companies that operated in Philippines when they co-founded Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup LenddoEFL which uses non-traditional data comprising social media and smartphone records in order to ascertain customers’ financial stability. Although Lenddo is a Singapore-registered firm, it started operations in the Philippines in 2011 then Colombia and Mexico in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Jeff is a founder of three other tech companies based in New York, namely Mimeo, Urgent, and GPO Fund. Richard, meanwhile, is a former chairman of Infinit Outsourcing Inc, and member of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, and World Economic Forum.
Jean-Patrick “JP” Bisson
Co-Founder & CEO, LoanSolutions
Frustrated by the traditional lending industry in the Philippines, JP and his team saw an opportunity to develop a process where lenders compete against each other in a fair and open marketplace transparently. This led to the birth of Loansolutions in 2013, a company that facilitates access to credit for different financial needs by connecting borrowers to multiple lending partners in single online loan application. JP has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16. Another local company he co-founded and led was Clicklabs Ventures, a lead generation and performance marketing company based in Cebu City.
Mike Singh, Adrian Chng, Greg Krasnov
Mike, Adrian, and Greg are established entrepreneurs and executives in the financial services, internet/e-commerce, and technology industries who co-founded AsiaKredit in in 2016 designed to provide Asia’s half a billion unbanked a consumer loan product through a mobile app. Although headquartered in Singapore, AsiaKredit currently operates in the Philippines, with plans to enter other Southeast Asian markets. Mike, Adrian, and Greg, now lead the company as CEO, chairman, and deputy chairman, respectively.
Founder and CEO, Venteny
Casually called Jay by his peers, he founded Venteny in 2015 with a goal to deliver”employee happiness” in the Philippines. Venteny as a hybrid employee benefits and finTech solutions platform offers clients’ employees loyalty programs in the form of exclusive perks, which provides employee discounts at establishments even as it also offers web-based short-term loan services as a service to company employees. Jay was born and raised in Tokyo, and educated in Boston, USA. His business career started with PricewaterhouseCoopers Co., Ltd.
Mr. and Mrs. Patrick and Alex Gentry
Co-Founders, Sprout Solutions
Husband and wife tandem Patrick and Alexandria Gentry co-founded in 2015 the HR and payroll systems startup Sprout Solutions that offers a suite of backend solutions that address payroll, HR and recruitment difficulties of small and mid-size companies. Sprout today is expanding its artificial intelligence (AI) products for enterprise-level companies. Patrick leads Sprout as its CEO while Alex functions as its product head.
Founder & CEO, Salarium
Judah founded payments solutions firm Salarium in 2013 as a Singapore-registered company but operates only within the Philippines serving mostly SMEs engaged in various industries. He was also the founder of Triple i Consulting, which specializes in environmental, tax, fda, and corporate compliance assisting companies to establish entities in the Philippines and reach full compliance.
Ray Edison Refundo
A Cum Laude graduate of finance and economics from California State University – San Jose, Ray is the founder of Qwikwire, a cross-border billing and invoicing platform connects enterprises in the Philippines to international banking facilities not available in their own countries. He founded the startup as a Delaware Corporation but mainly runs its operations in Manila. Ray was also the founder of Moneytran, an online money transfer service that caters mostly Filipino expatriates and overseas workers who want to be able to use their credit and debit cards to send cash instantly to their families back home.
JG Puzon’s photo c/o Newsbytes.ph
Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik