After finishing your hard-earned undergraduate thesis, what’s next?

For Gary Villame, together with his group mates John Paulo Adaoag, Roy Flores, Mark Gil Manalansang, and Joe Cris Molina, it brought them to establish a company.

The idea of running a company started from their undergraduate thesis as Electronics and Communications Engineering students at University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman in 2006.

But it took them four years to finally turn the idea into a tech company.

Despite their promising idea, they felt they weren’t ready enough to jump off on an entrepreneurial journey. After graduation, Villame, Flores, Adaoag, and Manalansang pursued graduate studies in UP as scholars of Department of Science and Technology (DOST). On the other hand,  Molina decided to work abroad.


Deogracias “Gary” P. Villame, (3rd from right), with Itemhound co-founders (from left) John Paulo J. Adaoag, Tyrone W. Tai, Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr., Roy R. Flores, and Mark Gil F. Manalangsang (C)

In 2010, still holding on with their idea, they established Itemhound (CBN-PH000000999), a tech start-up company that offers sports timing solutions for running and motor racing through the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) hardware and software.

Like any other startup company, the team encountered a rough start penetrating the market as well as looking for clients.

“Given our lack of experience, it was very difficult for us to close deals with big companies or to have enterprise-level projects.” – shared Gary, Chief Executive Officer of Itemhound.

Because of this, they decided to focus on a market that’s easier to penetrate. The team focused on covering fun runs, marathons, and racing event as they realized that the utilization of RFID is part of the solution they can provide to these kinds of clients. 

“It takes time to establish a relationship with potential clients and to interact with them to really understand their problem. It takes time to build a product that really addresses this problem. And so it takes time to build a product-market fit.”

Recognizing that startups venture is still on its fancy stage in the Philippines, Villame hopes that their story may inspire more people to go into technopreneurship.

When Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs asked Villame for an advice to all millennials who wanted to pursue entrepreneurship, he answered:

“Entrepreneurship is a very hard endeavor. Having a firm grasp of the technical skills is beneficial, but what’s more important is to have a stronger grasp of the problem.”

Millennials planning to go into the entrepreneurial world should have the patience and resilience to persevere in those very hard times, which could sometimes take a lot of years to figure out.”

Faces behind ASEAN SMEs by Confirmis 

CBN – PH000000999

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