Dennis Mendiola

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Dennis Beltran Mendiola (born September 1, 1967, New York City) is an engineer, investment banker and entrepreneur who in 2000, assembled and led the team that created Chikka Text Messenger, an integration of web and utilities. He founded the company, Chikka Asia, Inc., as its CEO and de facto "Chief Imagination Officer." Mendiola saw to Chikka's diversification into the mobile content and mobile commerce, before it was acquired by Smart Communications in 2009. Mendiola is still active in Chikka as de facto head of its product development team. [1]

Educational and professional history[edit]

Mendiola attended primary and secondary schooling at the Ateneo de Manila University before heading to the United States 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 employed through 1992 to 1997 as a consultant and investment banker at such institutions as McKinsey Consulting, Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust.

Early in 1992, he returned to the Philippines to volunteer at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in order to attract international investments in the former US Naval Base. He returned again in 1996, to form Next Century Partners, a venture capital firm.


Mendiola co-founded Chikka in 2000 with Alexandra Roxas and Chito Bustamante. Chikka is an instant messaging application that integrates full mobile functions via text messaging.[2] The service launched in 2001 allowed millions of Filipinos who did not have Internet access to use instant messaging using their mobile phones. Chikka now has over 45 million registering to use the service.

As CEO of Chikka,[3] Mendiola has a role in planning product development. From 2000 to 2008 he had pushed for various versions of the Chikka Text Messenger and scores of mobile applications that “text-enabled” aspects of daily life.

Mendiola or his company has filed eleven patents;[4] 34 applications granted; over 40 applications pending for Chikka’s various mobile communications related products covering 24 countries.

Leading Philippine mobile network operator Smart Communications acquired Chikka in 2009 in a move that is largely seen by analysts as a tell-tale sign of the telco opening up and embracing the new wave of OTT or over-the-top data messaging and social networking services that are fast being adopted by subscribers. Mendiola's Chikka was expected to begin work on virtual telco platforms on which a new breed of telecommunications services could be launched. [5]

The company Mendiola founded then absorbed erstwhile competitor Wolfpac, which was earlier also acquired by Smart. The resulting "powerhouse" is now an incubator for new technologies and innovation, producing telco-grade platforms and systems, and real value-added services for the new digital consumer, including corporate partners. [6]

In 2013, with landscape clearly now defined by the emergence of smartphones, the predominance of OTT/data services and the unlimited texting culture, Mendiola still at the helm of Chikka R&D, patented a new service, launched by Smart Communications as "PowerApp" -- a smartphone application that dispensed data in "sachets" for use of popular social networking and net messaging applications. [7]

Humanitarian Work, Awards and Citations[edit]

Mendiola has also inspired the mobilization of mobile technologies for humanitarian causes. In late 2004 as twin killer typhoons Yoyong and Winnie ravaged southern Luzon in the main Philippine Island, “Donate-a-Load” was launched whereby millions of Filipinos where encouraged to donate their call credits by simply texting variable amounts to a Red Cross short code. The scheme allowed people from all walks of life to give to victims of the typhoons, raising millions of Pesos in a matter of hours. As the country celebrated National Heroes Day in December 30, 2004, the phenomenon was cited in the Editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Donate-a-load would later be mobilized again for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake with UNICEF as the beneficiary.

In June 2008, Mendiola was inducted as Governor of the Philippine National Red Cross with the specific mission to use technology to advance their cause.

For inspiring technological innovations he had been cited through 2006 and 2007 by:

  • Ernst & 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)
  • Junior Chamber International Philippines as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)


Further reading[edit]