adobo FOI 2019: Changing the Rules of the Telco Game – Globe’s Foray to New Tech as Told by 917 Ventures’ Issa Guevarra-Cabreira

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – As one of the biggest players in the telco space in the country, Globe Telecom’s position was secured by its intuitive approach to short message servicing (SMS). Efforts placed into providing affordable multi-network, and unlimited text and call packages enabled them to create a large base of users, so much so that as the country became one of the top texting populations in the world, their revenues for the service reached a 92% share of their total business in 2012. The obvious course of action for most businesses would be to sustain the current model, but Globe did the exact opposite.

At the height of its early success as it dominated majority of the market, the telecom company took a pivot and reallocated its manpower and funds to new ventures. And in a time when tech obsolescence was becoming rapid, this would prove to be the smart move. The changes the company was about to embark on were driven by Globe’s incubator arm — 917 Ventures.



At this year’s adobo Festival of Ideas which took place on December 5 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila, Issa Guevarra-Cabreira, Managing Partner of 917 Ventures, spoke about all the different innovations they explored, and how they came about it. Her talk, which described how Globe decided to find startup partners for solutions and services it wanted to explore was a great demonstration of how The Connectivity Economy works.

By connecting and collaborating with other entities, even those outside their immediate space, they were able to increase their market share even further and build a diversified set of income sources.

Cabreira says that they began conversing with companies that offered services beyond direct communication like social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, and eventually experimenting with startups that offered something new. One of their most successful ventures has been Spotify. She gladly shares how Globe was among the first telecom companies that Spotify worked with, and both parties have been happy with how much growth they have been able to grow between the two of them.

The way they went about finding ventures is by categorizing certain services acquired into phases, including Education, Trial, Value, Investment, and Habit. Cabreira calls this as the mobile data habituation, a journey that Globe tries to guide consumers through. And as the scope of demands needed by consumers and services offered by startup companies change, the journey moves onto a sixth phase that Globe has only begun exploring through fintech, health-tech, and adtech.

Exactly how has this journey been, and where is it headed? We invite you to watch her full session here:

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