#TalkThursday: Filipino in Silicon Valley

Rappler's Maria Ressa sits down with Filipino Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dado Banatao for this week's edition of #TalkThursday

MANILA, Philippines – In this week’s edition of #TalkThursday, Rappler’s Maria Ressa talks with the most successful Filipino entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Dado Banatao. 

Banatao worked in Silicon Valley for 10 years before starting his own company. His technological innovations include developing the first single-chip 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator, the first 10-Mbit Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer transceiver chip, and the first system logic chip set for the PC-XT and the PC-CAT, among others. 

MorphLabs CEO and Co-founder Damarillo says Banatao’s inventions make up 30% of every computer in the world today.

Dado Banatao runs a venture capital firm and is an entrepreneur who has started and sold companies – his first for $430 million, another for more than $1 billion.

He talks about Facebook’s IPO set for Friday, why Instagram’s valuation doesn’t represent a tech bubble, his ties to his homeland and the projects he’s helping jumpstart in the Philippines – from education to entrepreneurship to discovering and funding entrepreneurs.

Below is Maria Ressa’s reaction after the interview:

Dado Banatao is a true Filipino success story.  The son of a famer, he has humble roots, showing how education opens opportunities.  His life is a story about risks, timing and passion.  He went to school in Mapua and instead of taking a corporate job at Meralco when he graduated, he became a pilot for Philippine Airlines.  That brought him to the United States, where at some point, he decided to go to Stanford University for his master’s degree.  He started his PhD but left to begin his own company.  

Now some Filipinos refer to him as the ‘father of the semi-conductor’ and ‘the Filipino Bill Gates’ (a term he didn’t like).

He says he was lucky.  He took a risk and bet on the pc – right time, right place.  He is wildly successful – companies, homes, jets, but you wouldn’t know it from his modest demeanor.  He is soft-spoken, respectful, passionate about his work.  

When I asked him why he kept coming back to the Philippines, he put both hands to his heart and said, “this is home.”  He wants to help elevate science and technology in the Philippines by attacking the problem at its roots – helping put up a scholarship fund that will educate Filipinos in science and IT as well as mentoring entrepreneurs last weekend in StartupCebu and returning for a PhilDev conference in the 4th quarter.  He says he plans to help incubate and fund entrepreneurs.

Here’s hoping for more Dado Banataos in the future! Rappler.com

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