Pinoy unicorns: The rise of Filipino conglomerates | Inquirer Technology

Pinoy unicorns: The rise of Filipino conglomerates

/ 12:40 PM July 05, 2021

The global Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated multiple tech trends that led to a major shake-up in consumer behavior that expedited the rethinking of business models across Asia. 

While a number of enterprises were quick to also revisit their expansion plans because of the pandemic, two upcoming Filipino conglomerates have forged a partnership to expedite their technology adoption to provide opportunities for Filipinos.

“A lot of our friends have questioned our move to launch an initial public offering (IPO) at the height of the pandemic,” said Jeths de Jesus Lacson, chairman and CEO of Smoke Free Innotec. Inc., (SFIO). “Our reply has always been, this is the right time when most industries have been shaken and even most global brands have been adopting to the new playing field.”

“Although we don’t believe the [disruption caused by Covid-19] will not make the playing field equal, at least it will give us a chance,” Lacson said. SFIO is a New Zealand-based conglomerate company that is owned and managed by a group of Filipinos with a very detailed and defined road map that has unique and robust structure that will bring a different approach especially in securing potential opportunities.

Lacson was referring to the planned IPO of SFIO and its partnership with a publicly-listed company SAM Digital Technologies. It is through SAM’s Project Development programs where Filipinos from across the globe avail of the SFIO projects, including the opportunity to be their shareholder.  

The conglomerate’s reverse merger to SFIO is in it’s final stage including the renaming of the company prior to the IPO.

“SAM Digital company offers a platform that will provide opportunities not only to investors but to SAM subscribers,” Lacson said. He added the SFIO has several projects, including the expansion of its primary brand Epiphany Café, property development and others. Investors have the opportunity to to become stockholder of SFIO via the IPO and through SAM.

“I met Rommel Santos and saw the opportunities with SAM, which fortunately is also run by Filipinos. Subscribers of SAM have the opportunity to subscribe to SFIO projects and they have the option to either cancel their subscription or convert them as SFIO shares after 12 months. And while waiting for the 12-month period, SAM will provide subscribers a one percent reward that is redeemable every month,” Lacson explained.

Because SAM is also a mobile platform that is available in several countries, including the Philippines, Filipinos interested in SFIO opportunities can will have that chance simply by subscribing to SAM programs.

Eventually, the SFIO franchise will be offered through SAM as well.  Aside from Epiphany Cafe, SFIO also carries other brands which are all in New Zealand and Australia. These brands will be disclosed to the public during the launch of the IPO of SFIO.

The company was founded in 2015 by five Filipino engineers based in New Zealand, who just want enjoy coffee, while envisioning a local brand to gain a foothold in that country. Since then, SFIO has expanded into food manufacturing, franchise business, coffee, property development, tech and software development. It is publicly-listed in the U.S. stock market.

SFIO is now in the process of preparing its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and we would like to share with you the first opportunity for this offering.

Both companies believe that absolute caution is necessary. This includes conducting your own due diligence in the project. It is a must in order to achieve the so-called element of trust and confidence in any project.

“We understand that every new opportunity is worth considering. However, in most cases, we tend to feel unsure because of the risk associated into investing in something we are not very familiar with,” Santos commented about the partnership.


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