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It’s our great pleasure to invite you to


May 2017 Discernment:


Can we chart a path to what has so far been an impossible dream: the first billion-dollar Filipino startup to impact humanity on a global scale?

By Unicorns, we mean ventures that have (a) built up billion-dollar valuations by (b) delivering breakthrough solutions that address big problems while (c) operating sustainable business models that allow efficient scale.

Is this even the right goal, the Filipino Unicorn? Or are there smarter alternatives to maximize the potential for PH founders and investors?

You might agree, disagree or throw many things in between. Indeed, we raise some controversial questions among our 10+ talk points below. Let’s dive into an afternoon of honest talk, get to know each other and see where and how we might collaborate.

Wayne Silby, grand daddy of impact investing and founder of $15 Billion impact investment fund manager the Calvert Group and Social Venture Network, joined us for Founders Circle 1.

Founders Circle 2
Saturday, 06 May 2017
1:30pm to 6:00pm
Ibiza Beach Club BGC
First Class Lounge

@ The W City Centre
7th Avenue cor 30th Street
Bonifacio Global City

1:30 | Registration

2:15 | Welcome Remarks: Let’s get the right mix of founders and investors in the room. Then let’s dive into an afternoon of honest talk using a mix of plenary and breakout sessions.

2:30 | Plenary: At Ignite Founders, it is our core belief that the vision, imagination, execution and character required to build the first Filipino Unicorn depend squarely on a founder’s capacity for transcendence. But what is transcendence? We’ll define it as jump-off for the breakout sessions.

3:00 | Breakout Sessions: Small group discussions re talk points below. Beware the points of controversy.

3:45Panel + Open Talk: We come together, compare notes and have an open discussion re talk points below.

5:30Closing Remarks: A call to Ignite Founders and what it means in terms of programs and milestones thru 2025.

6:00| Happy hour and dinner at Ibiza Beach Club BGC. 

Big is an apt word for our FC2 host: the 1,000-seat Ibiza Beach Club. You’ve never seen anything like it. The sheer audacity of its vision, imagination and execution will lead you to believe that Ibiza Beach Club is another of a long and seemingly endless line of Filipino imports.

Wrong! In fact, IBC is 100% Filipino, a 2012 startup of Cebuano founder Manny Osmeña and now in partnership with a group of completely homegrown investors. IBC BGC, along with IBC Mactan, are but opening salvos of Manny O’s visionary journey as he builds IBC into a global franchise renowned for its one-of-a-kind tour de force dining and entertainment experience. Like Hard Rock Cafe, but Ibiza!


  1. Can we see the “Bigness” picture? The point of the Filipino Unicorn is neither the billion-dollar valuation, nor global scale per se. This is not about blind ambition and size. But it is about Bigness – the capacity to think big and execute big, to focus on solutions that impact the world’s biggest problems while building sustainable business models that allow efficient scale.

    What will it take to birth this first Filipino Unicorn? Where will this founder come from? In what sectors are they most likely to rise? What kind of values and skills will define this founder above all? What kind of support and ecosystem does this founder need? What do we need to change, add or delete in the PH startup scene circa 2017 in order to birth this unicorn by 2025?

  2. The Big Three. Can you identify up to problem statements that describe your best bets as to where the biggest venture opportunities are that are likely to give rise to the first Filipino Unicorn (billion-dollar ventures that deliver breakthrough solutions to the world’s biggest problems while operating sustainable business models that allow efficient scale)? Avoid labels; be descriptive. Instead of saying “machine learning”, you might propose the problem statement as: “how to apply machine learning to offer personalized educational choices for learners 5 to 95 years old.”
  3. Get Personal. Consider the afore-mentioned problem statements in the context of your own life experience. What has the universe has tossed your way? Which, of all the world’s endless burning pains, are you most connected with? Get in touch with the problems and opportunities you’re most intimate with in your slice of humanity. These may be concerns of organizations or individuals. Would this personal connection change your mix of afore-mentioned problem statements?
  4. Finding Founders. Select your final problem statement and consider these follow-up questions: what kind of founder would be needed to build a solution around this problem statement? What are the top 3 qualities of this founder? Where is such a founder likely to be found i.e., in what industries, or what type of organizations? At what point in their careers would they be? What key resources would this founder need to maximize the opportunity?
  5. Do we need to dig deeper? What is the role of transcendence – of mission, meaning, purpose and values – throughout the journey of starting something from zero that has never been done before? What is the role of transcendence in shaping vision, imagination, strategy, execution, iteration, evolution, pivot, courage, resilience, persistence and humility – all the strengths we need in a founder?
  6. Founders vs. Entrepreneurs. What’s the difference? Do we have enough, too little or too much of either and what is the impact on PH startups?
  7. Too much of this? Do we have too many me-too ideas or too many techies, geeks and startup junkies attracting techies, geeks and startup junkies and creating an incestuous cycle of inbred ideas and perspectives that aren’t well grounded on mainstream experiences having to do with the world’s big problems?
  8. Too little of this? On the flip side, do we have enough of our best hearts and minds turned onto solving the world’s biggest and most serious problems via startups? Or do we have too many of them pursuing sub-optimal paths in big buraeucratic corporations that leave little room for breakthrough innovations?
  9. Can we nurture founders? Can these seemingly divergent paths be reconciled to ignite a more potent mix in our PH startup scene? Can me-too people be turned on and nurtured into more mission-driven founders? Can our best and brightest who are trapped in corporate life be turned on to their inner entrepreneur and nurtured into would-be founders?
  10. Invest in people, really? We always say in the venture space that it’s all about people, it’s all about founders. But are we doing enough to really understand, attract and nurture the right types of founders? Can a more serious take on finding, building up and investing in founders finally lead us to the first Filipino Unicorn?
  11. Finding Founders: Where, specifically, is the first Filipino Unicorn likely to come from? In what sectors – i.e., industries, verticals or founder backgrounds? Why are these sectors particularly promising for PH startups? Where are the promising channels, or fishing grounds, for finding founders?
  12. Who else? How can we nurture more founders among women, LGBT, Gen Xers, even boomers, and surely more experienced professionals? This is not diversity for diversity’s sake. It can’t be healthy that our startups are populated by techies, geeks and startup junkies who attract techies, geeks and startup junkies in said incestuous cycle and inbred ideas. Converesely, we need more founders who have meaningful experience or personal insight into the world’s most pressing problems – because they’ve actually been in the fray.
  13. What else?  What about  structural and cultural issues. Do we need more of the right kind of angel and venture capital investors? Is the viable pathway the one that travels the much-celebrated venture capital rounds or do revenue-first and good old cash flow present more tenable ways forward? Is the local startup process and discipline wanting? Do we lack appreciation for what it takes to envision and execute bigger ideas? Is it a lack of talent and horsepower so we can surround founders with the right team? If we found the founders, what else in terms of resources do we need to surround them with?

Always the central theme of every Founders Circle: Love Story.


Bi-monthly discernment circles for founders, by founders – with investors and others partners in building transcendent ventures

Complementary and by invitation only.

Seats are limited so we would greatly appreciate your RSVP.

Note: Ibiza dinner and drinks are for each attendee’s account. Feel free to invite friends from 6pm on. 

Thank you and see you in Founders Circle!

– Andre & Audrey of Ignite Founders

    Ignite Gifts