Fil-Am whiz from Silicon Valley to keynote 5th Geeks On A Beach


Helping raise roughly $40 million for a Silicon Valley company before it produced its first intelligent wearable headset is just one of several feats for this Filipino-American – a serial entrepreneur and “World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer” awardee.

Yobie Benjamin can talk about several amazing things during the 5th Geeks on a Beach (GOAB 5) in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on August 24-25, said Tina Amper of and organizer of this annual tech startup event in the Philippines.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is GOAB co-organizer. members Happy Garaje is responsible for branding; PRworks for media and public relations; and for web development of Geeks on a Beach.

“We hope the presence of Benjamin will inspire local startups and M SMEs. But more important, we are looking forward to having this global technology leader to interact with industry leaders and the startup community to drive action for the betterment of the Philippines and the world. GOAB continues to aim for measurable impact by facilitating potential projects and business deals not only for individual companies but also for the Philippine startup ecosystem,” Amper said.

For starters, Amper pointed out that this former political prisoner during the Marcos dictatorship days raised $40 million for Avegant, the company that makes and sells the Avegant virtual reality video headset and Skully, an intelligent motorcycle helmet that helps you see what is happening at the back, receive and make calls, and communicate with nearby vehicles.

Benjamin recently raised $18.5 million for Token that provides software to banks that enables them to issue a new payment type designed specifically for use in the digital era.

According to Amper, Geeks on a Beach gathers hundreds of technology entrepreneurs and professionals along with concerned government agencies to also look at ways of leveraging technology to help address Philippine social and environmental problems.

Amper said, this former political prisoner’s social concerns can be seen in his involvement in yet another company that is developing the ability to perform 50 diagnostic tests using only a drop of blood. This service, he said in a talk at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, will soon be given for free to whole populations in return for big data.

In Kenya, Benjamin is involved in Wildlife Works that sells carbon credits for protecting the rainforest and wildlife from poachers. The poachers, he said, included Al Shabbab terrorists. In Brazil, Benjamin’s company applied the same business model to mobilize the coastal population to protect mangrove forests.

Geeks on a Beach has partnered with the City of Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Known for its environmental advocacy, the city is the location of the world-famous underground river. The Tubbataha Reef, one of the world’s biggest ecosystem, is located some 92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa.

PLDT Innolab is supporting GOAB 5 as co-presenter while A Space is co-producer. The sponsors include Payoneer, Zalora, PouchNATION,, Synergy 88 Digital, Uniform Solutions, and NXTLVL Academy.

The media partners are e27, Tech in Asia,, Innopub Media, Geeks in Cambodia, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Mobile Ecosystem Forum,, and

The organizational partners are the Philippine Software Industry Association, the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, UP CebuINIT, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Science and Technology Advisory Council – Silicon Valley, Mynimo, Teradoor, Israel Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and the Cloud Security Alliance Philippines.

GOAB is organized by, powered by, branding by Happy Garaje, and PR by PRWorks.

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Doris Isubal-Mongaya


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