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4 Homegrown Startups and Their Success Stories

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Monika Visenio

4 Homegrown Startups and Their Success Stories


Starting a business is no easy feat, and some may find it extremely challenging to grow a brilliant idea into a fully-operational company that turns a profit. Read up on how these 4 homegrown startups persevered in seeing their vision grow into amazing businesses as they share insights into their success stories.


Aperitif PH



You’ve probably seen one of Karla Zulueta’s creations come across your Facebook feed, and we’re pretty sure it caught your eye. Aperitif popularized the term “grazing” here in the Philippines, and anyone who encounters one of their grazing boxes or tables is in for a treat. They create beautifully curated and styled collections of sweet or savory goodies, perfect for any gift or occasion.


What is so unique about Aperitif?

Aperitif is all about creativity and unique food concepts. Be it a gift for a friend or a new station for a party, we make sure every celebration not just taste good but look good as well! Aperitif offers a new way to experience food and satisfies this growing Instagram generation.


If you could give one advice to those looking to start their own company, what would that be?

Just do it. If you have this brilliant idea and you think it can be a force of creativity and inspiration in this world, don’t think twice and just do every step even just baby steps to make it happen. You never know where it could take you.


Kings of the Court



Kings of the Court has tapped into the desire of Filipino basketball fans to take their turn in the spotlight at amateur leagues. Founder & President of KOTC, Cholo Legisma, attempts to level the playing field and gives basketball lovers a chance to be just like their NBA icons.


What is so unique about Kings of the Court?

As our mission statement suggests, KOTC addresses the clients’ desire to be recognized in an organized league because we believe that somehow, in some way, all have envisioned playing in the professional level, receiving the glamour and acknowledgement that go along with it i.e. Graphics and photos ala NBA cards, Video highlights ala ballislife.com, Comprehensive Stats ala NBA fantasy, and vivid post-game write-ups, among others.


What has been the biggest contribution to your success?

Si Lianne! She has been my greatest supporter, and at the same time my worst critic. She is the VP for Creatives, and we’ve fought countless times over branding, but at the end of the day, at the end of each fight, we submit na kami pa rin ang mag-kakampi, that we are just two like-minded individuals with a common goal. From petty branding issues before, I believe we’ve come a long way now.

If you could give one advice to those looking to start their own company, what would that be?

Create an image, build a personality, decide how to communicate. It is not, however, just a choice; it is a commitment to have as a way of life; A commitment to eat, sleep, breathe, and die for your brand. If you have that kind of mindset, then “good” is unacceptable; it has to be “f**kin’ good!”





S107 creates comfortable apparel inspired by the islands of the Philippines. They collaborate with various local artists in creating designs for their collections, all in the pursuit of promoting the culture and beauty that the Philippines has to offer. Jose Llamas, one of the founders of S107, and his team create pieces that are perfect for every tropical getaway.


What has been the biggest contribution to your success?

I would say that being present in SM Kultura did pave the way for the company to enter the mainstream market but, at the same time, it was also the reason for the shift of the company’s direction in terms of its brand positioning, thus reinventing its original brand from Seven107 to S107 and created new categories and bolder designs which led us to leave SM and focus more on beach and lifestyle stores.

If you could give one advice to those looking to start their own company, what would that be?

I believe that one must be willing to go beyond their passion and take the risk, accept failure and have the perseverance to go on in order to start a company.



Hope in a Bottle



Who knew bottled water could be the perfect vehicle to bolster the advocacy for better and accessible education for all Filipino children? Hope in a Bottle sells bottled water and donates all proceeds to alleviating the classroom deficit in our country, a very big step towards quality education in our most remote regions. Alexi De Claro, Marketing Manager for Hope, gives us a look behind their “Business for Good” model and how they hope to encourage other companies to do the same.


What is so unique about Hope in a Bottle?

We’re the first social enterprise in the country that uses 100% of the profits from the sale of our flagship product, Hope in a Bottle, to build much-needed public school classrooms around the country. We definitely think that it’s this factor that sets us apart from our other bottled water competitors.


What has been the biggest contribution to your success?

It would definitely have to be the people we call “unsung heroes” – basically, every single person that’s ever bought a bottle of HOPE and made a conscious choice to give back! Unfortunately, we will never know each of their names, but we like to call them our “Hope Heroes”. We have this belief that whatever you spend your money on is a reflection of what you value. Choosing products that give back (even in something as basic and simple as water) means that you care about something greater than yourself, and we find that very inspiring. HOPE’s tagline is “Business For Good”, and it’s about encouraging other companies to see that it’s possible to do business and contribute to a greater cause!

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Monika Visenio

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