Senior Industry Professionals
Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan is an economist with extensive high-level policymaking practice and a well-recognized expert in Asia on economic development, inequality and poverty, antitrust (competition policy), and political economy of policy reforms.
On secondment from the University of the Philippines (UP) where he is Professor of Economics, Professor Balisacan is serving as the first Chairperson of the Philippine Competition Commission. Prior to this appointment, he was Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and concurrent Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority from 2012 to 2016.
Previous to his Cabinet appointment, he was Dean of the UP School of Economics, Director-Chief Executive of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, and Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture. Before joining the UP faculty in 1987, he was Research Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu and Economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
He is a lifetime Member-Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology, the country’s peer-elected group of select individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and technology.
Chairman Balisacan holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Hawaii and an MS degree in Agricultural Economics from UP Los Baños.
Manny Ayala is the Managing Director of the Philippine office of Endeavor, a global nonprofit organization focused on accelerating the growth of high impact entrepreneurs. High impact entrepreneurs 1) have the biggest ideas, 2) have the potential to scale their businesses and 3) multiply their success by mentoring and investing in other entrepreneurs. Endeavor is in 26 countries and has supported over 1,200 high impact entrepreneurs.
Prior to Endeavor, Mr. Ayala founded Hatchd, Inc, a technology incubator that has helped to create companies such as Rappler, PawnHero, AVA, Purple Click, Zipmatch and Ayannah. Mr. Ayala was also a co-founder of IRG Ltd, a Hong Kong based M&A advisory firm focused on the Telecoms, Media and Tech sectors across the Asia Pacific.
He sits on the Boards of Sky Cable and is a past president of the Philippine Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization.
Mr. Ayala has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Yale University.
Natasha Dawn Bautista heads the Operations of QBO, Philippine’s first innovation hub and startup platform. QBO is the first of its kind public-private partnership initiative in the country specifically geared to provide resources, connections and support to accelerate the growth of Philippine startup companies.
A Bachelor of Science Management graduate in the Ateneo de Manila University, Natasha has been in the startup scene since 2013 when she was only 21 years old. She brought over Grab to Philippines when she was just an intern and in a span of 3 years, lead the company to what it is today with Head of GrabCar as her last role.
Since then, she has been helping both foreign and local startups start and continue operations in the country. Her passion for development, whether it be as an individual, as a team or company, or as a nation, fuels her drive to empower the people and companies she works with.
Jaime Enrique Y. Gonzalez, Filipino, is currently the CEO of IPVI. He is also the founder of IPVG Corp., Egames, and IP-Converge, Inc., which all listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
He has structured profitable exits such as PCCW Teleservices (sold to PCCW of Hong Kong), Prolexic Technologies (sold to Kennet Partners and eventually Akamai for over US$ 300 million), and Level-up Games (sold to Asiasoft).
He is a partner in the Kaikaku Fund (a Softbak-led fund), a venture capital focused on SE Asia. He is also on the board of Arthaland Corporation (PSE ticker symbol: ALCO), a listed real estate developer. Enrique is also a shareholder and director of Retail Specialist Inc, the exclusive retailer of Naturalizer and Florsheim brands in the Philippines.
He was IT Executive of the Year in 2008 and a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. He is also part of the Young Presidents Organization and sits on the Board of Trustees of Asia Society Philippines.
He continues to hold the record of being the youngest person to have listed a company on the Philippine Stock Exchange at 27 years old.
Mr. Gonzalez went to Middlebury college, Asian Institute of Management and Harvard Business School. He is also a Kauffman Fellow and part of the Class 21 batch.
Michael Guarin has over 14 years of experience in the areas of due diligence (buy side and sell side), M&A, valuation and audit. He regularly conducts financial due diligence work for potential investors in the areas of logistics, healthcare, BPO and consumer markets. Mr. Guarin is an accredited KPMG valuations professional with extensive financial due diligence, model review and impaired loan advisory experience. He is also active in M&A and project advisory transactions.
Mr. Guarin is a member of the following Asia Pacific Working Groups: Transactions Services, Valuations, M&A. He attended Executive Masters in Business Administration, Asian Institute of Management (Dean’s List). Mr. Guarin is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated with Business Administration and Accountancy (Cum Laude), University of the Philippines—Diliman.
Some of his experiences include:
• Conducting due diligence for a media holding company, owned by a major Philippine telecommunications company
• Providing financial due diligence services for a listed Japanese entity in its planned acquisition of a local automobile distributor
• Mr. Guarin also provides commercial due diligence, feasibility studies or market studies to new entrants in the Philippine market.
• Performing commercial due diligence for an international healthcare company in relation to its planned expansion of product distribution business in the Philippines
• Providing commercial due diligence to a local company for its contemplated diversification into the cement industry
• Preparing the business plan and financial models for an international hotel chain in its planned development of an intergraded hospitality school and hotel
Michael de Guzman joined KKR in March 2019 as a member of the Asia Pacific Infrastructure team. Michael de Guzman has over 20 years of experience in Asia Pacific infrastructure transactions, covering core and non-core infrastructure assets across various subsectors. Most recently, Michael was Head of Philippines for Credit Suisse. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, he spent 18 years with the Macquarie Group holding senior positions in both the Infrastructure Funds division and the Advisory division. He was involved in creating two significant infrastructure funds for Macquarie, the Communications Infrastructure fund and the PINAI Philippines infrastructure country fund. Over the last 10 years he has focused on the Philippines infrastructure sector. Michael speaks English and Filipino and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a bachelors degree from the University of Sydney.
Serge L. Lépine is originally from Montréal, Québec and has primarily been assuming regional and global investments responsibilities out of Canada, Asia and the Middle East.
Mr. Lépine established Cabot Capital Partners (CCP), a Singapore Regulated Fund Management Company to provide delegated investment management services to institutional investors and family offices seeking to develop exposure to Asia or manage and grow existing portfolios. CCP is also developing niche PE and credit yielding strategies for Asia and North America respectively.
Previously, Mr. Lépine was the CEO of the Qatar and Abu Dhabi Investment Company (QADIC), a US $2 billion global investment platform that he led since its inception in 2013 with the support of SWFs from Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Before relocating to Qatar to establish QADIC, Mr. Lépine was the Chief Investment Officer at a Bahrain SWF and prior to that worked successively at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) to set up the co-investment and direct investment business units respectively.
Before moving to the Gulf region in 2004, Mr. Lépine had been based in Asia since 1996 establishing the initial private equity operations of the Caisse de Dépot et Placement du Québec (CDPQ).
During his early career, Mr. Lépine worked in Montréal for CDPQ as well as other leading Canadian financial institutions, primarily in the areas of direct investments, mergers and acquisitions advisory and corporate finance.
Martin Lichauco was part of pioneering teams that introduced US-style cross-border private equity/venture capital investing in Asia. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, he was involved in several investments that have led to successful regional and local public listings or profitable corporate acquisitions.
He is currently Managing Director of Crescent Point, a China and Southeast Asia focused private equity firm and is in charge of daily operations in the Philippines. Concurrently, he assists the firm in its business development endeavors for its portfolio companies in the region.
Previously, Mr. Lichauco was Co-Founder of the Asian operations of Wavemaker Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm founded in 2003 with offices in Los Angeles and Singapore. It now has over US$100M in assets under management and over 200 active portfolio companies. He was also Managing Director and Head of the Asian operations of Wavemaker’s investment banking division extending the firm’s global reach by executing client mandates throughout Asia.
He started his private equity/venture capital career with H&Q Asia Pacific (H&QAP), a division of US investment banking firm, Hambrecht & Quist and spent 12 years with Walden International including a stint as Country Manager of the Philippines. He spent 4 years in Walden’s Head Office in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Both H&QAP and Walden are the two private equity/venture capital firms that started cross-border US-style value-add investing in Asia.
Mr. Lichauco was a Venture Panelist at the 8th Kauffman Fellows Program, a 2-year transformative opportunity designed to radically accelerate innovator success through self-reflection, peer learning, mentoring and a structured curriculum taught by venture capitalists and global thought leaders. He was a member of the US National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). He is a graduate of the 5th NVCA Venture Capital Institute Graduate Management Program (2004) and the 29th NVCA Venture Capital Institute Management Program (2003).
Mr. Lichauco received his MBA (Honors) from the Arthur D. Little School of Management in Chestnut Hill, MA., and BA Economics degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Dannah is the Managing Director of Lalamove Philippines, the on-demand delivery app known for its iconic orange hummingbird and fast delivery. Before she was appointed as Managing Director, she served as the Operations Director during Lalamove's early days, focusing on day-to-day driver operations, which is the core of the company. Prior to Lalamove, Dannah has always been inclined to new innovations, starting from Groupon, to Globe Telecom, and to Mynt. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Ateneo de Manila University.
Lalamove, Asia’s fastest growing on-demand delivery service, has just celebrated its 2nd year of delivery services in Manila, and has recently expanded in Cebu City. With its rapid growth and technological edge, Lalamove’s presence in the country is undeniable.
Partner drivers are without a doubt the core of Lalamove’s business. Enabling them to earn at their own time using their vehicles, Lalamove provides a source of livelihood to more than 20,000 partner drivers, uplifting them to provide for their family and reach their dreams. At the same time, Lalamove supports micro, small and medium enterprises, and even multinationals and established businesses, to reach more customers through on-demand delivery. With the wide array of vehicles and services built for businesses, Lalamove certainly empowers Filipino entrepreneurs and businesses to fulfill their passion.
Since 2016, the company’s story has always been about moving what matters for partner drivers, business clients and everyday customers by making deliveries fast and easy. Whether it be for their family, passions, or dreams, Lalamove will make sure to uphold the quality and exceptional service to complete hundreds of thousands of deliveries. Lalamove has moved the lives of many - partner drivers, business clients, and everyday users, by moving what matters to them.
Minette is Vice-Chairman andPresident of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiaryof Globe Telecom. She is a member of the Ayala Corporation’s InnovationAdvisory Council, and of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board. She is a SeniorVice President at Globe Telecom, focusing on New Business, and a member of theBoard of Directors of AdSpark, Globe’s wholly-owned digital advertisingsubsidiary. Minette has held a number of CEO/COO positions in variousindustries, ranging from scrappy Philippine startups to iconic globalcompanies.
Mr. Pai is a Partner and an Investment Committee member. Mr. Pai has extensive investment and portfolio management experience, both in Asia and the US, across industry sectors such as food, consumer, infrastructure, financial services, logistics, TMT and healthcare.
Prior to joining Navis, Mr. Pai as CEO & Managing Director of New Hope Investment Holding set up the group’s Asia investment office. Previously Mr. Pai was Head of Strategic Investments for ITOCHU Corporation where he was tasked with development and deployment of the company’s investment strategy in Southeast Asia, West Asia and cross-border China. Prior to returning to Asia, he was a Director with the same firm in New York.
Now a Singapore citizen, Mr. Pai was raised in India and educated in India and the UK. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from Poona University, India and is a Sloan Fellow from London Business School.
Dayu Dara Permata is currently VP at PT. GO-JEK Indonesia, previously a consultant with McKinsey & Company. At GO-JEK, Dayu cofounded & spearheads Go-LIFE, a non-transportation business line of GO-JEK. As a consultant, has served various clients rom public and private sectors focusing around ASEAN & emerging markets on topics of innovation, change management, investment and infrastructure financing, corporate transformation and strategy, banking and financial sector, and technology implementation.
Emmett Thomas joined Advantage Partners in 2007 to lead the firm's activities in Asia ex-Japan. Advantage Partners is one of the leading Private Equity firms in North Asia, having invested over US$ 3.0 billion in more than 70 companies over the last 20 years. Emmett has led investments for Advantage Partners in a variety of industries including media, telecom, retail and business services.
He currently serves as the Managing Partner of Advantage Partners Asia Fund. He is on the Boards of several Advantage Partners portfolio companies. In addition, he oversees Advantage Partner’s portfolio company activities in Asia ex-Japan. Emmett started his career in Tokyo at TSE-listed SMC Corporation, the factory automation manufacturer. Subsequently he spent 18 years at the Monitor Group, the global strategy consulting firm, the last 10 of which he was President of Asia. Currently, he is a Director of the Harvard Business School Association of Hong Kong, and serves on the MBA Advisory Board of Hong Kong University. He graduated from Duke University with a B.A in Economics, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has resided in Asia for more than 25 years.
Alasdair Thomson is a managing partner and co-founder of Sierra Madre, a Philippines-focused private equity fund. Sierra Madre differentiates itself from global and regional investors through the long established local networks and extensive local investment track records of its team. Mr. Thomson has been deeply associated with the Philippines for over 25 years, speaks passable Tagalog and returned permanently to Manila in 2012.
Prior to Sierra Madre, Mr. Thomson was a partner at Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, which he joined from Apax Partners. His early career was spent in operational management with Coats Plc in Asia, Europe and South America, and in private-equity focused consulting at Bain & Company.
He holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and a First Class Honours degree in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde in his native Scotland. He is a director of Transnational Diversified Group, Inc and EasyCall Inc.
Mr. Uy-Tioco has over 20 years of investment banking, asset management and general management experience. Prior to joining BPI Capital in 2013, he was Regional Manager and Vice President, Regional Strategy and Business Development for ING Asia/Pacific Ltd. Previously he managed a US$200 Million private investment partnership between AO Capital Partners and a special situations fund from the U.S. and held various investment banking and management roles with RCBC Capital Corporation and House of Investments.
Mr. Uy-Tioco has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and structured transactions involving illiquid assets. Recent transactions included advising Ayala Corporation on the USD300 Mn merger of AC Education Inc. and iPeople, Inc., the largest transaction in the education sector in the Philippines to date, and acted as a co-adviser in the USD572 Mn sale of a stake in AC Energy to Aboitiz. Other notable transactions included the sale of 49% of BPI Leasing to Century Tokyo, the combination of BPI’s merchant acquiring business with Global Payments, and the acquisition of Adora by Rustan’s Group.
Mr. Uy-Tioco received his undergraduate degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University and his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia.
William M. Valtos, Jr. has been with the firm since its inception in 1997 and has over 25 years of experience in venture capital and private equity in the US and Asia. He has extensive experience in all facets of private equity transactions. He brings in deal sourcing resources, deal structuring expertise, experience in achieving liquidity events, and strategic guidance to the firm. In addition to Billy’s role in the firm, he also has oversight over the financial services business units of the ICCP Group.
Billy is currently the Chairman of DirectWithHotels and holds board positions at Rustan Supercenters and AG&P. He served as Chairman of Ambergris Solutions, one of the firm’s previous portfolio companies and led the sale transaction to Telus, Inc. of Canada. Billy was a former managing director at Strategic Asset Management, a Chicago-based private direct investment firm with over US$600 million in assets under management.
He is currently an active member of the Philippine-Singapore Business Council.
Billy holds a Master of Management Degree from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Economics and Political Science from the University of Illinois, where he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate.
With degrees from LSE, Yale and CFA, CAIA professional designations, Rebekah Woo has 20 years of investing experience. Ms. Woo started her career with the the government of Singapore, in Singapore and New York. She then spent more than 6 years with a multi-billion single family office in New York, investing across asset classes. Ms. Woo then joined J.P. Morgan Asset Management, followed by Canada’s 2nd largest pension plan where she became the 1st local employee when it opened its Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore. After a stint at Lufax, a leading fintech company by Ping An Group, Ms. Woo is now with Fosun, responsible for covering investments in the Maternal Infant & Family sector.
- 10+ years experience in investment management in public and private markets.
- Prior to Openspace, Gervin was part of the Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity Team and covered the Technology Sector.
- Prior to Templeton, Gervin was with Deutsche Bank in Singapore.
- BSc in Economics major in Finance from the Singapore Management University.