As both founder and funder, Ron Hose understands what it takes to run a successful business. Soon after graduating top of his class in engineering and computer science at Cornell, Ron launched his own company in 2007, ToxBox, a consumer video conferencing business. It was acquired by Telefonica and backed by notable investors including Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital. Following the sale, Ron became a founding partner at Innovation Endeavors, the investment vehicle of Google’s Eric Schmidt. In 2011, after two years at Innovation Endeavors, Ron knew he wanted to take off his investor hat and return to entrepreneurship. Recognizing Southeast Asia as the next growth market, he traveled the region with a deliberate plan to build a company that would have a positive impact. Ron instantly felt at home in the Philippines and made it his last stop in 2013.
During his travels, Ron noticed that even in remote rural areas, where basic services like personal finance were difficult to access, people were avidly using social apps like Facebook via their mobile phones. Identifying an opportunity to leverage this wide- reaching and untapped distribution channel, he set out to launch Coins along with his co-founder, Runar Petursson, a long-time developer experienced in building trading platforms. Initially starting the company as a bitcoin exchange, they began to key in on the various use cases for the digital currency and evolved the business by adding a second layer of applications on top, creating banking services for those outside the traditional financial system.
Coins is a mobile-first, blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances, bill payment, online shopping, and mobile airtime top- ups. Alongside its platform, Coins customers can also access an extensive network of cash distribution and collection points through partners like 7-11, Cebuana Lhuillier, Security Bank, and many more. Coins provides payment services in bitcoin and Philippine pesos, as well as international remittances in either local currencies or bitcoin using bitcoin as the transfer medium. This skips the high exchange rate margins and fees charged by banks and other remittance service providers. Coins partners with as many banks, e-money providers, and businesses as possible to provide customers with greater choice and convenience in accessing financial services.
Today, Coins has built an impressive customer base in the Philippines in a short amount of time and is frequently recognized by local and global influencers as one of the few influential fintech startups hailing from the Philippines. It is recognized as the highest rated finance app in the Philippines within the Google Play store. Using cryptocurrency behind the scenes to offer fast, low-cost services to its customers, the company is on the front lines of improving financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.