Spring.ph LaunchPad – Manila’s startup event done right

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at the Philippine Software Industry Association’s Spring.ph LaunchPad Event. 7 startups applied for the program by presenting their startup ideas & Business Model Canvas. The coaches asked questions, offered feedback and help and I gave a 30-minute talk on Helpful Marketing.


Want to see what I presented at Launchpad – and get the slides?

Unfortunately there are too many bad startup events – especially in Asia

Ironically enough, yesterday I had a call with Paul Orlando, founder of AccelerateHK and one of the leading voices advocating Lean Startup in Asia. I was giving him feedback on the draft of his new book, Startup Sacrilege for the Underdog Entrepreneur. We commiserated about some of our frustrations with startup events here.

Today’s event was an example of best practices – here is what I respected.


Coaches – NOT judges

I don’t like being called a “judge” at startup events. We don’t need to be judges – the customers are the only judge that matters.

The people providing teams help and feedback were called “coaches” – it created an atmosphere of learning and sharing.


An emphasis of learning over “idea”

You could almost feel the aura of Steve Blank smiling in the back of the room. I don’t think I heard anyone mention the words “good/bad idea” the entire day. Instead the feedback and questions were about the needs of the customer, what was learned through discussion and how to do Customer Development.

The coaches understand Lean Startup. They asked insightful questions and gave feedback that was as good as any I have heard worldwide.


Honest – but helpful feedback

The program can accept only so many teams – but every team got personal, 1-on–1 specific feedback with suggestions. Teams who were not accepted were told why and given specific tips on what to do.


No “best pitch” discussions

As an Angel investor I really don’t care much about “pitch” quality – I care whether you’re solving a real problem for customers and can make money doing it. Some of the most promising businesses we heard today were not good “pitches”.


Bravo Joey Gurango, Karen Reyes and everyone else who made it possible

Well done everyone. You’ve got a world-class program and I’m honored to have been invited.

If you’re planning a startup event in Manila I would suggest contacting Joey for some advice.



  1. Joey Gurango March 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Thanks for your contributions as a coach at this event, Kevin! It was valuable for all of us, coaches and product teams alike!

  2. cyburban March 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Your helpful marketing talk was very… helpful… and practical. The customer at the center of any business initiative is nothing new, but your 3 points on what to do was immediately actionable. Thank you.

  3. Arup Maity March 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Thanks Kevin for reenforcing and validating our efforts, like all startups as a program spring.ph do also need validations and hearing back from you is very valuable, thanks for your confidence and bench marking the things we are doing right, would be great to hear what all we can improve upon also. The teams and us co-coches would look forward to hearing and learning more from your sharing and inputs. Welcome to the group.

  4. Ramli John (@RamliJohn) April 1, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    This is awesome! I haven’t been back to Philippines for awhile. I definitely have to check this out.

    • kevindewalt April 1, 2014 at 12:28 am #

      It it is a great community – tight-knit (at least relative to everywhere else). Developing very fast thanks to people like those who run this program.

  5. Dondi Hananto April 11, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    The community here truly envy Manila for being able to get someone like Kevin as a coach in this event… And glad to see the learnings summarised here too. Let’s hope we’ll bring Kevin down here to Jakarta somehow for our program!

    • kevindewalt April 11, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      They’re doing a great job in Manila. Very down-to-earth, earnest smart people.

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