American companies, like Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley startups, have been fueled by millions of funding from venture capital rounds and players, as well as angel investors. Now the same opportunity comes for the sleeping giants in the Philippines as MFT Group of Companies joins in the young age of venture-capital and angel-investing industries to cultivate partnerships, amplify growth and boost regional economy.
Today the group boasts diverse line up of projects in different industries under its fold: Compact Pharmaceutical Corp., Meihao Corp., Bloomquest, MFT Entertainment, Haunted Towers Pictures, MRACC Credit Corporation, Tambunting Online, Regina Online Investing, Upstart, 2Puffs California.
Cutting across various array of fields, on the pipeline are business ventures with retailing and dealing with equipment, opening up to agriculture and a partnership with a Japanese firm among others in the future.
“We are in the business of bouncing back,” Maria Francesca “Mica” Tan, MFT Group of Companies president and CEO, describes her company.
MFT Group adheres to the principles of rebuilding structures and backing great ideas to help businesses grow. With experience ranging from end to end of vast and diverse industries, MFT Group founders and mentors draw from individual backgrounds across the globe to provide great framework to help companies rethink the role innovation and support play in business.
Apart from infusing capital, MFT focuses on innovation of corporate blueprints in the fields of legal, marketing, taxation and accounting, which are the company’s strengths according to Tan.
This is such a gargantuan task for a millennial, who is only 24 years old and who believes making the right decision at the right moment is one of the most important factors for success.
Tan admits she fell into the investment business almost accidentally. Fresh out of high school she ventured into small scale angel investing by connecting small business owners in need of capital to her angel group, who could provide it.
“Since the early days of my ventures, I would always count on my network of friends, mentors and partners for learning,” she said. “I consider myself lucky for being exposed to many business leaders. I was taught that the leader can tip the balance between success and failure, make something out of nothing and improve a lot of lives while earning the respect of others.”
Good partnership, coupled with trust, dedication and focus on a common goal, defines the success of the MFT Group of Companies, which they have been building for the past seven years.
“I believe that, to be successful, one always needs other people,” Tan said.
She credits her co-founders as one of her main sources of inspiration and support.
“The first people who believed in my vision and trusted me are my partners now in MFT Group: CK Agbayani, Luis Cancio Jr. Roxanne Gimenez-Agbayani and Dr. Eric Tan,” she confided.
A lifetime of business preparation
It wasn’t an overnight business success for the young Tan. She remembers vividly she was a grade schooler when she started having keen interest on building a business of her own. Growing up as the youngest of brood of six children, Tan would be asking her dad how much he made at the end of the day as a practicing medical practitioner. The doting father would be jokingly tell her various figures. But, one time, when he declared zero income for the day, it stuck to Tan’s young mind that becoming a doctor and taking over her father’s cancer center was not for her.
“So it has planted the seed in me that business is really the way to go. So I tried to rediscover my roots and found out that, with our Chinese heritage, I had uncles who are willing to mentor me into doing business,” Tan said.
With one of her uncles specializing in the pawning industry, Tan had the idea of bringing pawning into a new form through the Tambunting Pawnshop’s online division.
At the age of 13, she visited the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) office to look for trainings and seminars to teach her the tricks of the trade. Of course, it was only available for graduates. But, luckily, she was introduced to Marita Limlingan, the owner of Regina Capital Development Corp., who took her seriously and walked her through the process of trading.
“Every time she goes down to the floor she would allow me to sit beside her which started the mentorship. Then, one day, in a major initial public offering (IPO) bell-ringing at the PSE, Mrs. Limlingan whispered to my ears ‘Mica, one day you can make that happen’ ”
“Those words ring in my ears to this day. I cherish that inspiration and I look forward to the day that MFT Group of Companies will go public,” Tan said.
At 15, Mica said she was trading foreign exchange (forex) and getting mentorship from renowned investor Mark So. She said her trading experiences were among the major turning points in her life. She was active in stock and currency trading until she turned 18.
She decided that Fordham University would be the best school for her following the roster of their successful entrepreneur graduates. But after getting admitted, she decided against it believing that “life would be my university, the world would be my campus.”
Pan-Asia angel investing model
According to Tan, MFT offers tailor-made funding, combined with angel investing. Moreover, operations involve active coaching of early stage ventures and very efficient management teams that push corporation toward sustainable profitability and growth.
MFT Group of Companies always takes a majority or controlling share of a company it acquires or helps bounce back.
“We sit down with these companies to get to the root of their problem and figure how we can help them get back on track,” Tan said.
Currently MFT operates on 80 percent of efforts on mergers and acquisitions and 20 percent of efforts on partnerships with its existing subsidiaries and projects.
Ever striving to further hone its expertise in the business, the group will be hosting an angel investing confluence on November where they will be bringing in Silicon Valley and Pan-Asia start-up veteran Jordan Green to mentor the group and its partners.
Living the millennial dream
A self-confessed workaholic, Tan said she doesn’t dream of success, but works for it.
“I may not be the most experienced or have the most money but I care the most and that pushes me to build great teams,” Tan said
This young lady is turning 25 in November and has already mapped the future of her company.
“It is MFT Group’s dream to have 100 companies around the world heavily involved in cross boarder investing,” Tan said.
“Time is passing, the clock is ticking, the world is racing and I don’t think anyone can wait for us. We cannot ask competitors to wait; and I believe travel in its truest form can develop and enhance our performance.
“The group’s vision is to have an impact on the daily lives of Filipinos, be it in their health, finance, entertainment, lifestyle and retail,” Tan said.
Aside from her chief executive role in the MFT Group of Companies, Tan is also the vice president of Tzun An Sek Corp., founding president of the Tulungan Ang Nilalang Foundation Inc., and CEO of MR Angel Credit Corp. She continues to sit in the Boards of a growing number of corporations, both in the Philippines and in international markets. She has also become one of the most-sought after speakers locally and abroad.
“There are those who question my wisdom on the certain decisions I made at a young age, but my vision for my fellow Filipinos will always be my prime motive Such decision involves risk, but, if more entrepreneurs and business owner act as custodian of our people’s interests and our country’s welfare we must always strive to promote opportunities – even if it involves risks. In this age of globalization, complacency is not an option I look forward to the support and camaraderie between business owners and the government and how, as a bigger team, we can move forward together.”