SpellDial. Albert Padin and Nicole Macarasig are on their way to Silicon Valley for a 3-month immersion program.

Silicon Valley calls SpellDial

They were at a “really low point,” SpellDial founder Albert Padin said in our interview. After two years of chasing their startup dream to make the world dial names instead of numbers, Padin had to look for a job.

Padin said he could no longer stretch funding for his startup and decided to look for money. He linked up with Dave Overton of Symph, a technology solutions provider.

But weeks ago, SpellDial got a much-needed boost. It was picked by the Science & Technology Council as one of the 2012 ON3 pitching competition winners, along with Payroll Hero and NEXTIX, another Cebu start-up.

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IDEASPACE. PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan answers questions of bloggers in a briefing on IdeaSpace. With him are (left) Earl Valencia, Smart Strategic Business Development head, and Marthyn Cuan, Meralco vice president and chief information officer.

MVP makes pitch for risk-taking, start-ups

PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan’s latest baby is IdeaSpace, part incubator, part angel fund, part accelerator but fully backed by his conglomerate.

During a meeting with bloggers from all over the country last week, Pangilinan said his group is setting aside P100 million a year for the next five years to fund startups that will be identified by a nationwide contest.

Pangilinan, known in business circles as MVP, said he is prepared for a large part of that P100 million annual fund to initially “go to waste.”

“Our statistics show that globally, only one innovative idea out of 3,000 sees the light of day. There will be a high failure rate, no doubt about that. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try,” he said.

IDEASPACE. PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan answers questions of bloggers in a briefing on IdeaSpace. With him are (left) Earl Valencia, Smart  Strategic Business Development head, and Marthyn Cuan, Meralco vice president and chief information officer.

IDEASPACE. PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan answers questions of bloggers in a briefing on IdeaSpace. With him are (left) Earl Valencia, Smart Strategic Business Development head, and Marthyn Cuan, Meralco vice president and chief information officer.

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Exciting times for local startups

THESE are exciting times for local startups, Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores said in a press conference last week.

Flores was in Cebu to announce this year’s ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. During the press conference in CeBuinIT or the Cebu Business Incubator for IT, Flores said at least four Philippine-based groups want to set up investment facilities to fund start-ups.

That is a sharp rise, indeed, from the number of local venture capitalists of previous years: zero.

In explaining his drive to cultivate startups and the culture that produces people who form startups, Flores cited a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management titled, “Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT.

Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores, SpellDial's Albert Padin and Mark Abella of TechTalks.ph during the press conference on ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. CLICK TO ENLARGE. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores, SpellDial's Albert Padin and Mark Abella of TechTalks.ph during the press conference on ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. CLICK TO ENLARGE. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

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PLDT, Metro Pacific setting up incubation, angel investment facility

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. are currently setting up a program that aims to support technological entrepreneurship in the country, officials said last week.

“If you look at the companies in the group, we are all heavy users and developers of technology. We all benefit from technology,” said Smart and PLDT public affairs head Ramon Isberto.

Isberto said the program is aimed at developing “technopreneurship” and was decided in a management conference a month ago. The program is “one of the projects with very high-level backing,” said Isberto.

He said companies in the group are setting up a fund for the “angel investor” component of the project.

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