Ateneans shine in book documenting tech innovation in the Philippines

August 02, 2019

Though many know about the success of Ateneans in local business, the contributions of alumni and students to the nation’s tech sector are lesser known. 

The book, The Finishers, highlights the most successful technopreneurs in the Philippines, including many graduates from Ateneo de Manila University. In the parlance of the tech industry, these ADMU graduates were able to “exit.” They founded a startup, grew its user or client base, and eventually sold the company to a larger local or international enterprise for cash, shares, or a combination of both.

Niel DagondonOne notable ADMU alumnus is Niel Dagondon (class of 2014, Ateneo Professional School), who pioneered the video game industry in the Philippines. In the early 2000s, he created Anino Games, which created outsourced and original video games, including Anito, the first video game to use Filipino folklore and mythology as source material.

Dagondon would successfully sell Anino to Thailand's Pocket Playlab, though he remains a key figure in the country’s innovation ecosystem. He is currently the president and co-founder of Edusuite, which provides a school management system that helps schools optimize performance. Edusuite’s partners notably include Ateneo High School.

Another prominent Atenean profiled in the book is Donald Lim (class of 1998, BS Management), who co-founded Socialytics. While Filipinos have long led the world in various social media metrics, Socialytics was one of the first companies that helped brands leverage this young, upwardly mobile, and digitally savvy user base.

Donald LimLim and his co-founders exited Socialytics to Globe subsidiary, AdSpark. Like Dagondon, Lim remains a key figure in his field, now leading global marketing services Dentsu Aegis Network in the Philippines as CEO.

In addition to these entrepreneurs, Ateneans pop up throughout the book in other key roles. Manny V. Pangilinan (BA Economics), whose businesses are the frequent acquirers of local tech startups, while Senator Bam Aquino (class of 1999, BS Management Engineering) contributes a poignant afterword. Ateneo, in short, has a proud tradition in contributing to the nation’s tech and innovation ecosystem.

Senator Bam Aquino

The Finishers is now available for check-out at the Rizal Library courtesy of a donation from journalist Ezra Ferraz, who is a managing partner at content marketing studio Ambidextr as well as a frequent business and tech author.

Manny Pangilinan