Founder Spotlight: Francis Simisim of Social Light Inc.

Making use of what you already have

By Michaela Villaroman


Successful businesses aren’t just made overnight. They are the products of hard work and extensive planning. Businesses commonly take time to utilize all its resources to come up with ways to help their market grow and boost their overall sales.


However, as important as finding strategies to appeal to new audiences, sustainability is only truly reached when a business learns to build solid relationships with its existing customers.

Generating repeat sales among loyal clients is imperative to creating a business that is built on trust and credibility. Unfortunately, this is sometimes overlooked.


Branching out to a bigger market without fully understanding and utilizing its current one is a waste of the opportunities repeat sales have to offer businesses. Luckily, Social Light Inc. recognizes that there is a need to help organizations make the most of what they already have. It is offering businesses a chance to innovate their marketing solutions and finally strengthen company-client relationships.



From setbacks to successes


The story of Francis Simisim, one of the founders of Social Light Inc., isn’t free from difficulties and failures. With 10 years of entrepreneurial experience, he is now no stranger to knowing what works and what doesn’t in a business. But getting to this point of expertise and success has indeed earned him his fair share of bumps along the road.


Coming from a traditional Chinese background with both parents as entrepreneurs, Francis was exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age. He was eldest among his siblings, so it was expected that he would take over the family business and manage it himself. It was a tough call not to follow through with that, but he knew he had a different path to take. And so, he set on create his own entrepreneurial ventures.


He took up a business student at Oxford Brookes University. It was during his time in college that he and his friends thought of creating a startup. They tried setting up a social networking site with high hopes of success; however, their project didn’t turn out well. “I was there trying to do it, trying to make it happen, but it didn’t work out,” Francis recounts his story.


This was his first experience with startups and it was also his first taste of failure. He did not let it discourage him though, and he continued on.


After university, he set up his own outsourcing business. Again, his startup didn't catch on, but it was in this project that he gained important insight and experience that definitely helped him understand the dynamics of what makes a startup successful.


And indeed, he struck gold with his next endeavors. It was a turning point in Francis’ career when he cofounded, and shortly after, Blogapalooza. Both of which are among today’s top blogs and most viewed sites in the Philippines. Keeping a positive streak, his next startup, Social Light Inc., is proving to be quite a success, too.



Innovating what you already have  


“We started our company Social Light Inc., about 3 years ago. I started it with my wife, Annabelle. The idea was that we just got married and we were looking for ways to help businesses using different kinds of solutions,” Francis shares. “Our business didn’t do very well at the start. The challenge was that there were a lot of businesses, and the issue was that data appreciation was very low end.”


Social Light Inc., was created as a platform for solving business problem with the use of innovation and relevant information on its existing market. Francis and the rest of the team wanted to help businesses strengthen customer relationships and cultivate repeat sales with the use of technology.


Among its solutions are the Zion WiFi, Zion Send, and Providing businesses with a customer database and platform for development, Social Light Inc.’s technology pushes forward a better marketing plan for businesses as it gives them a chance to further connect and understand their customers.


It didn’t take long for the startup to gain a positive reputation. Social Light Inc. has pioneered a remarkable answer to businesses sustainability through the use of technology. And recently, Tomizone, an ASX listed company, acquired Social Light Inc. with the intention to push that endeavor forward.


Subsequently raising capital by providing 1M dollars from a strategic investor and executive management, Tomizone had seen great potential in Social Light Inc. Their combined entity is surely set to take over Asia by storm as one of the great trailblazers of accelerating technological development and answering businesses’ needs in analytics and digital marketing.



Embracing failures


When it comes to failures, Francis shares that it should be seen as a learning experience. “I think it’s just a matter of changing perspectives. It’s not about just succeeding, it’s also about how people learn,” Francis remarks. “I think it very important for us to fail. There are some startups that have done it without failure. Good for them, but I’m sure at some point they might have smaller failures and that’s it. I think it’s very important.”


So for Francis’ advice to future entrepreneurs, “I think that you have to start young. It’s always better to learn from failures as much as you can, as fast as possible. And when you’re young, you can learn from it with longer time and you’re not scared of risk; you learn all the way.”


Indeed, Francis has proven with his entrepreneurial journey that failures should never stop people from trying. Social Light Inc. is the product of his unwavering efforts and passion to strive for success. And by the looks of it, it’s on its way to reach even greater heights.