Dr Rene Catan of Arthrologic

IdeaSpace Foundation looks for ‘next big idea’

When orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rene Catan introduced to his fellow doctors some years back his plan to manufacture a local joint replacement, it was dismissed as a “backyard project.” When he presented it to a group of physicians last week, they snapped up shares, even at P12,000 apiece, of the company he built to bring his idea to life.

The difference? Catan won last year a nationwide competition for startup ideas conducted by the IdeaSpace Foundation, the largest privately-backed technology incubator in the Philippines. IdeaSpace has a P500-million fund for five years, pooled together from the resources of Manuel V. Pangilinan’s group of companies.

Catan’s project was borne out of frustration — of the increasing number of people who need joint replacements every year, only about two percent get it because the process is expensive. Parts for the total knee replacement can cost up to P150,000, not counting the costs of the procedure, medicines and other related expenses. Continue reading →

NEVER TOO LATE. Cebuano doctors Niño Ismael Pastor (2nd from left) and Rene Catan (3rd from left) with PLDT and Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto (left) and Smart chief wireless adviser Orlando Vea after the IdeaSpace finals. Catan, in an interview, said it’s never too late to chase your dream. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

IdeaSpace winners show why it’s never too late to chase your dreams

When orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rene Catan proposed to create a local and cheaper total joint implant, nobody listened.

Way mutoo, way maminaw (nobody believed, nobody listened),” Catan said Friday while propping up the huge P500,000 mock check he got for being one of the 10 winners of IdeaSpace’s nationwide search for start-ups.

Catan and his teammates, epidemiologist Niño Ismael Pastor and engineer Vernie Reyes, were named winners for their entry Mirand (Metal Implants Research And Development Corp.) in the IdeaSpace nationwide finals last Friday at the First Pacific Leadership Academy in Antipolo City, Rizal.

Catan specializes in joint replacements and finds it frustrating that people who needed their knees replaced refused the procedure because of the cost. He said he had been grappling with the problem for close to 20 years. Many people, Catan said, became aware of the procedure when former president Joseph Estrada underwent it.

NEVER TOO LATE. Cebuano doctors Niño Ismael Pastor (2nd from left) and Rene Catan (3rd from left) with PLDT and Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto (left) and Smart chief wireless adviser Orlando Vea after the IdeaSpace finals. Catan, in an interview, said it’s never too late to chase your dream. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

NEVER TOO LATE. Cebuano doctors Niño Ismael Pastor (2nd from left) and Rene Catan (3rd from left) with PLDT and Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto (left) and Smart chief wireless adviser Orlando Vea after the IdeaSpace finals. Catan, in an interview, said it’s never too late to chase your dream. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Continue reading →

NOT JUST DATA PIPE. PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan speaks to shareholders during the company's annual stockholders' meeting. Pangilinan said PLDT must "move firmly into social media, social networking and Internet spaces before they move into ours and eat our lunch." (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Next frontier lies in media space: MVP

PLDT will not just be an Internet pipe for data, chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told shareholders during a meeting Thursday afternoon in Dusit Thani hotel in Makati City.

The company needs to “move firmly into social media, social networking and Internet spaces before they move into ours and eat our lunch,” Pangilinan told the company’s shareholders and officials.

“Innovation and competition will not only come from telcos like ourselves but also from ‘over the top’ players belonging to the Internet space like Facebook, Google, Apple and YouTube, which actually compete with us,” he said.

He later told reporters who interviewed him at the venue, “margins are getting depressed by staying purely as a distribution company, as an infrastructure company… We have to be something more than that.”

“And really the next frontier lies in the media space — both in the legacy and in the new media space. And how you will blend the telco, utility operations with the creative part of social media is a big challenge. Nobody has been successful yet,” he said.

Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →