Forever a Filipino

Two years after its release, the successful founders profiled in The Finishers remain key figures in the startup and tech ecosystem.

The Finishers

2017’s The Finishers documented the stories of twenty founders, all of whom were able to successfully scale their startup toward an exit. Written by Ambidextr managing partner Ezra Ferraz, the book included an afterword from Senator Bam Aquino and was given to regional delegates part of the nation’s festivities for the ASEAN Summit.

In total, Ferraz captured the stories of 11 exits in The Finishers (see appendix for full list), and he was struck as much as by the diversity of these entrepreneurs as by what ultimately united them. “All of these founders hail from different industries. They have different functional expertise. Some are Filipino born and raised. Others are balikbayan. Still, others are immigrants. Yet they all find common ground in the shared belief that you can build a world-class tech company right here in the Philippines,” he said.

The Silicon Valley stereotype of founders who successfully build a tech company is that they retreat: They head off to the nearest beach and enjoy a kind of permanent semi-retirement. The founders in The Finishers mark a sharp contrast to the image, as the vast majority continue to remain active participants in the startup and tech ecosystem of the Philippines.

They are key investors, entrepreneurs, or in some cases, both. No matter their role, they continue to view innovation as a key driver for the nation’s growth. If you love the Philippines, in short, you must also do your part to support our growth as a tech hub.

Examples abound of this continued commitment. Husband-and-wife team RJ and Arianne David of Sulit now have a venture builder, Innovation Love; Josephine “Jopin” Romero and Dominick Danao of PinoyMail.com have ventured into fin-tech with mobile-first payments platform, Magpie; and John Orrock of GlobalOne has now invested into more than twenty startups as part of his boutique venture capital firm, FutureNow Ventures.

Jay Fajardo of Airborne Access continues to support and invest in other startups through Launchgarage and serves as chief strategy officer of on-demand delivery app Jojo; Niel Dagondon of Anino Games has created an AI-driven school management system via Edusuite; and Shahab Shabibi of HeyKuya is pursuing the on-demand economy once more, this time through mobile app MyKuya.

These are only a few inspirational examples of how the founders profiled in The Finishers continue to innovate for the Philippines, but their original contribution to the book should not go overlooked. By being so willing to candidly share their startup’s journey from idea all the way totheir exit, they mark a clearer path for other founders in the Philippines to do the same, just as Senator Bam Aquino noted in his afterword.

“I am happy to see initiatives like The Finishers share stories not only of success but of grit and innovation that will hopefully inspire budding entrepreneurs to persevere knowing that they are not alone,” Senator Bam Aquino wrote.

Appendix - Full list of exits and entrepreneurs documented in The Finishers

● Airborne Access co-founder Jay Fajardo
● Anino Games founder Niel Dagondon
● BuyBitcoin.ph co-founder Sam Kaddoura
● Chikka leadership Dennis Mendiola, Chito Bustamante, and Junie Agcaoili
● GlobalOne co-founder John Orrock
● HeyKuya founder Shahab Shabibi
● MyProperty.ph managing director Butz de Castro
● PinoyMail.com co-founders Dominick Danao and Josephine Romero
● Social Light co-founders Francis and Annabelle Simisim, Franz Alfonso, and Erwin Lee
● Socialytics co-founders Jonas de Los Reyes, Donald Lim, and Mon Lizardo
● Sulit co-founders RJ and Arianne David
About the Author
Ezra Ferraz graduated from UC Berkeley and obtained a Master’s degree in Professional Writing.

He is a content marketer and a business writer with a passion for technology, startups, and technology. He is also the managing partner of full-service content marketing studio, Ambidextr.

About Ambidextr

Ambidextr is a full-service content marketing studio based in Makati City. The company primarily works with tech and tech-enabled companies across Asia Pacific. They provide all kinds of content, from thought leadership articles, press releases, blog articles, to social media posts.


 A copy of The Finishers was generously donated to the Lopez Library and can now be accessed by researchers and library visitors. Please call 8631-2417, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request access to the Lopez Library.