Harvard-educated Mikko Perez grew up in the Philippines and saw poverty firsthand. After graduating with honors from one of the country’s leading universities, he left Manila to become a community organizer and adult educator in the rural Philippines where he realised how entrepreneurship could improve the livelihoods of many poor families. Hoping to strengthen his business acumen, he applied to Harvard Business School and afterwards, worked for JP Morgan’s technology investment banking group in San Francisco and managed private equity at Next Century Partners. During this time, he began to view technology as a way to address infrastructure gaps in emerging markets. He soon joined another HBS alumnus in building Chikka, an innovative mobile instant messaging service and helped steer Chikka to profitability and eventually to its acquisition by the Philippine’s largest telco, NYSE-listed PLDT, in 2009.
Fueled by Chikka’s success, Mikko founded Ayannah in 2009, which addresses the US$40 billion under-served domestic remittance industry in the Philippines where urban-rural remittances are cash based - a process that is costly and inefficient. Mikko and his team of engineers built Sendah—an electronic platform that unites individuals and retail organizations into a network of agents providing affordable and accessible digital financial services to the unbanked. Ayannah has built a network of 7,000 agents, has served over 10 million unique customers and aims to be the leading agent network in the Philippines. Ayannah also aims to offer its stack of digital financial services to other emerging markets in the region.
Mikko is considered a pioneer and thought leader in emerging markets financial technology both within the Philippines and in the region. Endeavor Philippines is excited to support an entrepreneur whose business has the potential to change the lives of millions and become a FinTech leader across emerging markets.