STARTUP

Redefining Your Start-up’s Dream Team

IdeaSpace Philippines adds a local spin to the start-up lexicon.

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 26 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Anyone exposed to the start-up ecosystem may have heard of the 3H’s in a start-up’s dream team—the hacker, hipster, and hustler. The hacker builds the product and takes care of all things tech-related. The hipster uses creativity to make the product stand out. And the hustler sends the product out to the world by driving sales and partnerships.

This is the trio most entrepreneurs aspire to have when presenting the core team to investors. But Diane Eustaquio, the executive director of IdeaSpace Philippines, looks beyond the usual 3H’s, giving it a localized rendition that still resonates globally. IdeaSpace Philippines has released 68 start-ups and deployed over P100 million in funding, covering 400 entrepreneurs in the region in the last five years.

Expressing these key points in Tagalog, the Philippines’ local language, Eustaquio lists the localized twist to the 3H’s:

1. Hugot (Pain Point)

A buzzword for brokenhearted youngsters, this Tagalog word loosely translates to the source from where people draw their deepest feelings. Whether a perplexing situation, an old song, or a place that invokes nostalgia, it is something people connect with on a personal level.

Start-up entrepreneurs should always be on the lookout for this kind of pain point. “The germ of the idea that comes from a personal pain point is stronger than an idea one chances upon,” Eustaquio says. “Your motivation should be driven by the pain points you yourself are experiencing. In most cases, the ones who are successful are those who really feel the pain point themselves.”

Paul Rivera, founder of Kalibrr and mentor at Kickstart Ventures shares the same sentiment. “Don't create a start-up just to have a start-up — it is probably the most difficult thing you can choose to do. Start a start-up only if you deeply care and understand the problem you want to solve because when it gets tough, and it will, caring deeply about the problem you want to solve will allow you to persevere as you struggle to get your initial partners, customers, and investors,” he says.

Rio Ilao, founder of Philippine-based start-up Tarkie, shares her insights on pain points in this video, “[M]ake sure that your start-up idea is close to your heart, something that's close to your abilities, something that's within your capital, and something that’s for keeps — something that will really be sustainable for you.”

2. Huwaran (A Good Example)

They need to have integrity,” Eustaquio asserts, referring to start-up entrepreneurs. From customer service to brand image, entrepreneurs must set a good example — a huwaran.

In the business world where one’s ethics and values can easily be put to the test, only the toughest start-ups will prevail. Christina Lattimer writes, “It’s becoming increasingly clear that we are entering a business world where ethics, values, and integrity are priorities for customers and employees alike. For any business to compete, the values statement which had been written and tossed in a drawer is having to be pulled out, the dust blown off, and implemented in a more meaningful and practical way.”

In customer service, for instance, Coins.ph Business Operations Head Justin Leow says start-ups should never give the impression that the business isn’t proactive about addressing issues quickly. Start-ups should always strive to maintain the integrity of their mission statements, says Leow, adding, “Customers can smell a canned response from a mile away.”

3. Habang-buhay (Lifetime)

This word, in the Philippine context, could possibly refer to undying love. Its direct translation is “for a lifetime.”

“You can’t just do this for one year or two years; this is really for the long-term,” says Eustaquio. “Some start-ups are not committed; what we look for are those who want to do this for a long time, who want to really make an impact and understand that it will really take a long time before things can get disrupted.”

Many people have the talent and skills to be a genius hacker, a creative hipster, and an alluring hustler. But when forming your own dream team, ask these questions first: Have they experienced real-world pain points that need to be addressed? Can they maintain their integrity even when it’s difficult? And are they committed enough to be in it for the long haul?

Once you have those questions answered, then the magic begins.