Founder Spotlight: John Aguilar of The Final Pitch
A Look Into The Exciting Journey of Entrepreneurship
In the blockbuster film The Social Network, we got to watch Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's life unfold as he navigated through the ups and downs of creating one of the most popular social media platforms to date. Of course the story was told in a very Hollywood lens, dramatizing and exaggerating how everything probably played out in real life. But the movie in general was able to capture just how much of a rollercoaster ride the journey of an entrepreneur can be.
Creating a successful business is no easy feat. Entrepreneurs must have both a strong mind and heart to get into a profession where failures are highly prevalent. And with trial and error constantly part of the journey, it is the ability of entrepreneurs to keep learning from their own mistakes and that of their fellow entrepreneurs which will help them move forward.
Hoping to provide startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs some insight into the entrepreneurial world is the reality show The Final Pitch. The series follows select founders as they take their businesses from idea to pitch. TechShake had a chat with The Final Pitch Creator and Host John Aguilar who shared about his own entrepreneurial journey as well as what he hopes the show can impart to their viewers.
Journalist turned entrepreneur
John Aguilar’s involvement with the media industry can be traced way back to his college years. As a champion track and field student-athlete, John was often featured in editorials and publications. While he was initially the one being written about, he soon found himself more and more interested in becoming the writer instead.
“I’d say I was a good writer. Being on the other side of the fence as the one being talked about, you really get to develop a good eye for a story,” he said.
After college, John immediately got into media work. He wrote for various publications and magazines before delving into the television industry. While he considers his time working for a network to be fun, he found that some of his ideas were shut down for being too out-of-the-box.
John shared that there were a number of times wherein he would suggest concepts or ideas for shows or segments that seemed ahead of its time. Their network would turn down his idea only for him to find it on a rival network’s show a few months later being successfully picked up by the public. “This was when I had a breakthrough. I thought to myself, ‘If I can’t have my voice heard in a big company, I’d put up my own,’” John said.
Building a company and building homes
In 2003, John founded StreetPark Productions Inc., an independent television production company that produces content for both local and international broadcasts. After taking on a few small projects by producing content for other networks, they eventually started producing their own shows. John told us, “Like any other startup, we had a very difficult start. But things got easier when we found our niche.”
And that niche was real estate. John shared, “At the time there was no other TV show that explored real estate. I thought it was an interesting concept with a large untapped market that we could get into.” Their production company thus came up with the Philippines’ first real estate and construction TV show called Philippine Realty TV (PRTV). Today, PRTV is on its 16th season and is one of their longest running shows.
Back then, PRTV only featured projects of developers. But John realized that they can take their show much further, “Our original business model was that we would feature projects of real estate developers for a fee. But since we were also getting paid in kind with building materials, I had a eureka moment. I thought maybe I could use those materials and start building houses on the show.”
And so he did. John created a reality TV series called “Project: First Home” where he built his first house in real time. Never been done before on Philippine television, the show became a hit and has since featured the construction of many other concept homes from scratch.
The Final Pitch
While they rode the wave of real estate quite well and received a lot of great feedback from their viewers, they soon found another idea worth exploring.
A few years ago, the local startup scene was only beginning to pick up steam. John started to notice the growing support and interest of the public towards the startup community, and as an entrepreneur himself, he also knew how interesting the entrepreneurial life can be.
Taking some added inspiration from the shows Shark Tank and The Apprentice, John decided to create The Final Pitch. His vision for the reality TV show was to showcase the journey of promising startup entrepreneurs as they are given support and mentorship by a team of seasoned experts in the industry, as well as an opportunity to introduce their startups to multi-millionaire and billionaire investors.
“We figured this would be the perfect time to work on a TV show that would tackle the life of a startup entrepreneur as well as give support the startup community here in the Philippines,” John said.
Putting the “real” back in reality
As ironic as it sounds, reality TV shows have become notorious for being fake and scripted. Some shows often play up the drama in every episode, rarely displaying actual reality in order to milk its entertainment value. The Final Pitch, however, wants to put the “real” back in reality.
John tells us that the show was made to attract people who would watch for the right reasons. “We call it edu-tainment or educational entertainment. We want our audience to be able to watch the show and walk away learning something new,” he explained.
In the show, viewers can watch exactly how the founders take their startups from a developing idea to a pitch-ready business. More than anything, the series aims to give the audience a chance to really get to know who the entrepreneurs are.
“If you really want to learn about the character of an entrepreneur, The Final Pitch would be perfect for you. In the series, we show how our startup founders tackle challenges and make tough decisions. We do this to give our viewers valuable and usable insight because at the end of the day, investors look beyond just the pitch -- they look at the quality of the entrepreneur,” John explained.
Supporting Philippine entrepreneurship
Looking at the bigger picture, John and the team would ultimately like to make an impact in nation-building. He said, “In the end, it’s all about helping create an avenue for more Filipinos to succeed. Eventually, we hope to see the Philippine economy rise and flourish. The Final Pitch wants to participate in getting the Philippines there.”
The show is coming back with its third season this 2019 on CNN Philippines. “Expect that it’s going to be bigger than ever,” John shared. “We got investors and mentors from numerous fields to cater to more startups from different industries. It’s bound to be an interesting season.”
By tuning into The Final Pitch, any entrepreneur can definitely learn more about what it takes to run a successful business. And much like how John encourages entrepreneurs on their show to take chances, he also advises budding founders to take a leap. “Do it as soon as you can and don’t be afraid to fail. Every mistake is a chance to improve, so it’s important to learn as you go.”
To catch up on the previous seasons of The Final Pitch, visit their website here.