Dado Banatao’s PhilDev accelerating PeoplePods growth: How to access more resourcesThe pioneering entrepreneurial spirit entails not only thinking of creative ways to leverage a department’s existing assets, but also being opportunistic in gathering more resources/expertise and building networks and brand identity to access future resources.
Gather resources that are not immediately obvious
My start-up PeoplePods Philippines was funded in 2017 with the life savings of my wife and me. Because of the high capital required to develop dignified dorm communities for industrial employees, this was not enough.
To raise capital, we joined the Kellogg Real Estate Competition (USA), beating out teams from top MBA schools to win the top monetary prize. We also won the first-place cash prize at the INSEAD Venture Competition (France and Singapore) against start-up ideas around the world.
Build support to access seasoned experts
Our entrepreneurial team also realized that we have much to learn from seasoned executives. Fortunately, we found business accelerator Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP).
An accelerator is a program that gives developing companies access to investors, mentorship and support services.
ISIP is the most prestigious SDG-focused (Sustainable Development Goals) business accelerator in the Philippines. It is the flagship entrepreneurship program of PhilDev and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
PhilDev, or Philippine Development Foundation, was founded by Dado Banatao, a venture capitalist and inventor of semiconductors that are the foundation of computers today. The accelerator takes no equity with the goal of turning start-ups into future inclusive businesses.
Over the six-month program, PeoplePods will receive mentorship from Banatao and investors such as ICCP Ventures (Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines), Wavemaker Partners, BDO, Google and other prominent leaders in business, technology and international development. These mentors and leaders will use their networks to open up new markets for us to serve. Additionally, our start-up receives access to specialists in strategy, operations, sales and marketing, technology and fundraising. They will help us with execution as well as codifying our sales playbook and operations manuals. Lastly, our team will attend workshops that will aid us in strengthening our competitive advantage.
Invest in your network and brand identity to access future resources
The first step in seeking resources is the willingness to ask for help. Tell others about what you want to achieve and what support you need. If they realize that your objectives will generate more revenues or lower costs for your company, your colleagues and superiors will want to support this. If your department is helping people live better or work better, other people will want to help you.
ISIP chose PeoplePods be cause of what we stand for:
Social justice. Improving the lives of female employees at the base of the pyramid with dignified dormitory communities. We immerse and empathize with our residents and put them at the center of our design and operations.
Climate justice. Promoting sustainability through building design—done by awardwinning J+A Architects and a LEED-certified sustainability specialist from Gensler—and focusing on the livability of industrial townships. Our methodology lowers carbon footprint, minimizes utilities consumption and helps decongest traffic routes in the area.
Business model innovation. Our start-up has a validated business model, established operations and the potential for large-scale growth.
Pioneering entrepreneurial spirit is for all employees Throughout the decades, the leaders and managers of the Lopez Group have displayed creativity in leveraging limited resources and uncovering new opportunities. Bringing the Lopez Group to the next stage of growth will depend on not just a few leaders, but all employees working together.
There are large benefits to being creative in uncovering resources that may not necessarily be obvious. What I hope readers take away from this is that no matter what your position is, everyone is counting on your pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.
Dan Lopez Layug, CFA, founded PeoplePods Philippines which provides dignified dorm communities for female industrial workers. Prior to this, Layug worked at ING Bank’s Mergers & Acquisitions team and Maybank ATR’s Equity Capital Markets team covering Southeast Asia. He holds a professional diploma in Residential Property Management from the College of Saint Benilde. Layug has an MBA from INSEAD and undergraduate degrees in Finance and Chinese Studies from Georgetown University. He was awarded the INSEAD Young Alumni Achievement Award 2019 for exemplifying the institution’s vision of using “Business as a Force for Good.”