Dennis Beltran Mendiola
(born September 1, 1967, in New York City) is an entrepreneur and investment banker oft cited for pioneering technology ventures that have been mobilized for both real profit and invaluable service to people and communities.
Mendiola attended primary and secondary schooling at the Ateneo De Manila before heading to the US for college.
He graduated double summa cum laude with degrees in BS Economics (Wharton) and BS Electrical Engineering (Moore) from the University of Pennsylvania, and later earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1995. He was gainfully employed through 1992 to 1997 as a consultant and investment banker at such institutions as McKinsey Consulting, Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust, at some of the world’s most important financial capitals.
Twice however, country beckoned: Early in 1992 to volunteer at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in order to attract international investments in the former US Naval Base, and give the country new hope of joining the ranks of Asian Tigers; and then again in 1996, to form Next Century Partners, a venture capital firm that would call the attention of more international investors to more investment opportunities in the country.
In 2001, Mendiola, together with a group of young entrepreneurs, responded to the challenge of creating a messaging solution that would withstand SMS volume in a country sending 30 million messages daily, and claiming the title ‘Text Capital of the World.’ Mendiola launched the Chikka Text Messenger, the world’s first instant messenger with integrated mobile features via SMS, beating world players such as AOL, Yahoo and MSN to probably the world’s most coveted mobile messaging market.
The Chikka Text Messenger became an integral part of Filipinos’ lives everywhere, including overseas Filipino workers, and a diverse online community that quickly embraced and enjoyed Chikka for its ease of use and reliable mobile connectivity.
company he co-founded in 2000 with Alexandra Roxas and Chito Bustamante, built an instant messaging (IM) application that was the first to seamlessly integrate full mobile functions via text messaging. The service launched in 2001 allowed millions of Filipinos who did not have Internet access, to become part of an instant messaging community using their mobile phones.
The service called Chikka Text Messenger would be driven by millions of overseas Filipinos who embraced the service as it united them, reliably, economically, with their families and friends back home. Chikka has thus been downloaded from the US to the Middle East and every corner of the world where Filipinos could be found (including the open seas for which a Chikka version was specifically developed for access via the INMARSAT by Filipino seamen who man the world’s ships). Mendiola indeed envisioned Chikka to address a strong need for communication (itself resulting from a Philippine Diaspora that began decades back, as Filipinos were compelled to look to foreign shores for a better life). With over 45 million registering to use the service since its commercial launch in 2001, Chikka today is one of the most widely used communications tool that bridges Internet and mobile communities.
Presently Chikka is a diversified company powering mobile communications, content, commerce and corporate solutions available across the globe in countries such as the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.
“Chikka” is Filipino colloquial for “small talk,” and indeed the nature of billions of text messages exchanged around the world.
For inspiring technological innovations that have translated to valuable services for the Global Filipino, and put the Philippines on the map as a global hub for mobile applications development, he had been cited through 2006 and 2007 by:
- • Ernst and Young as Entrepreneur of the Year (2006)
- • The Go Negosyo Movement of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship as one of the Ten Most Inspiring techno entrepreneurs (2007)
- • The Philippine Marketing Association for the Agora Asia-Pacific Marketing Excellence Award (2007)
- • The Philippine Jaycees as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)>
Mendiola expanded his business further by launching other affiliates that includes Sagent, a leader in “natural language” or the SMS counterpart of “artificial intelligence”. It features a technology it calls M-brace, which is the usual 1-800 number except the numeric digits are text or SMS short codes.
His company was also behind the successful Paysetter International which started the “virtual wallet” enabling users to send and receive actual cash via text messaging service with the use of mobile phones. It then partnered with Globe Telecom to give the country its first peer to peer secure credit reloading system more popularly known as “Share-a-Load.”
Chikka is no longer a local business anymore. It has already launched Lounge, a mobile version of IRC with Chinese carrier Unicorn for Shangdong province in China. It plans to expand to other parts of China. It will also launch its mobile instant messaging service in China called Chikka China. In the US, it has partnered with Cingular and is testing its mobile instant messaging service with T-Mobile and AT&T.
Chikka may literally mean small talk but for the founder Dennis Mendiola, it means a big business as he continuously introduces innovative solutions to the mobile technology.
Truly a worthy chikka minute from a proud Filipino Achiever.