The next big idea

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By Prim Paypon


Friday, March 21, 2014

“I FIND the Filipino Tony Stark. I find the next technology idea made by a Filipino created in the Philippines that the world will use.”

That’s how Earl Martin Valencia describes his passion and professional work at IdeaSpace Foundation which he co-founded, and where he currently serves as president.

Like Tony Stark, he is excellence personified, considered a super Filipino by many aspiring start-up entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.


Being the best in the world is not a new concept to him. “Often not sleeping until I know I could perfect an exam or complete a major school project” is how he prepares himself for opportunities.

But at a young age, he generously defines “best” as “excelling with others,” and not from others. No wonder meeting him in person is both humbling and aspiring, because despite his outstanding life and monumental achievements, he will ground you with his generosity and humility.

At 20, he graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering as summa cum laude.

At 23, he graduated from Cornell University with a master’s degree in Engineering.

At 24, he was the first Filipino and Asian to be included in the exclusive list of 15 New Faces of Engineering in the World. And he also happens to be the youngest recipient in history.

At 27, he graduated from Stanford University with an MBA.

Because of his remarkably decorated resume, he was invited and worked for the best technology industries in the world, living the dream of most engineers.

But after birthing pioneering innovations, one after another, his love for country and family inspired him to go back to the Philippines, and create platform with Filipino corporate visionaries like Manny V. Pangilinan to provide global opportunities to those who are prepared for it.

He just came back from Palo Alto, California where he spent three weeks of collaboration and partnership meetings with the world’s most innovative future thinkers.

Next week, he will be flying to Harvard University, Massachusetts to receive a Young Global Leader award from the World Economic Forum for his outstanding contributions to social impact. This award is only given to top global leaders under the age of 40.

After he delivered his welcome remarks to officially open this year’s IdeaSpace National Bootcamp, he quietly proceeded to the last row of Rizal Hall of First Pacific Leadership Academy, Antipolo City where he took his seat and did tremendous multitasking as a young global CEO. Not a thin air of arrogance or a steal of limelight.

But like a proud and supportive father, his frequent nods and smiles have assured national finalist teams that their ideas and dreams for a better Philippines are safely taken care of.

After listening to the introductions and story snippets of this year’s National Finalist Teams, I perfectly understood where his proud but calm moments are coming from.

Out of almost 650 applications gathered all over the Philippines, Asia, and the United States of America, 20 strictly and carefully made it as this year’s national finalist teams.

MyChild, NCR. A student customer relation management (CRM) solution in web/mobile application for schools and parents that allows both parties to mutually monitor the academic performance, attendance and compliance to school requirements of the students/their children.

Taxinoy, NCR. An SMS-based application that curates available taxis within the area by locating a needing passenger.

Unlock and Load, NCR. A mobile advertising solution that curates essential ads, ranging from promos to new products, into the subscriber’s smartphone that pops out once the user slides the unlock button.

TaxiSPA, NCR. A taxi company backend solution for operators and/or owners that allows them to track and monitor their operating cabs.

Zander, NCR. A fishpond management system that makes use of sensory hardware that automates the procedures and processes in a fishpond.

Tambio, NCR. A mobile application that curates raffles made available online by various companies and organizations.

GrocerEase, NCR. A mobile solution for grocery shopping that provides convenience and ease to Filipinos who have everyday constraints in getting their groceries.

HubMNL, NCR. An online marketplace that connects legitimate suppliers to businesses.

iHarvestDUO, NCR. An automated technology that dries harvested rice in 5 to 8 hours compared to a normal drying which takes a week.

Inhenriya Sol, NCR. An online energy solution that allows households and enterprises to monitor and audit their energy consumption.

iTravel PH, Batangas. A mobile solution that curates city information, tourist spots, government contacts and establishment information to provide customers and tourists easy access and convenient travels.

R-TAP, NCR. A real-time adjusting pump for water.

RHeng, NCR. Rehabilitation and engineering devices driven by eye-sensory technologies to minimize and prevent pressure sores common among patients in wheelchairs.

Salt-Water Lamps, Batangas. An affordable lamp powered by salt water.

Tactiles, NCR. A handy and educational hardware kit for basic electronic education.

Nifty, NCR. A 3-fold bike technology.

BluLemons Gaming Studio, Cavite. An all-Filipino mobile gaming application studio whose first invention is a “guess that OPM song” game.

BusFinder.PH, Cagayan de Oro. A mobile application that tracks and monitors buses.

FlipTrip, NCR. An online Philippine travel information solution that makes Philippine trips easy and convenient.

Food BioSciences and Technologies, Davao. A creation of a red yeast product that minimizes human cholesterol levels.

Every year, through his “let us do it” leadership, IdeaSpace Foundation has been incubating start-up enterprises that promise to improve access to resources, bridge social gaps, and transform Filipino dreams into reality.

He is Earl Martin Valencia, 31, a global Filipino startup accelerator and incubator, who boldly asks you, “Do you have the next big idea?”*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 21, 2014.


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