Philip Adrian "Chino" Atilano

BS Electronics and Computer Engineering 2010

 

Philip Adrian “Chino” Atilano is the founder and CEO of TimeFree Innovations, Inc., a software company he established three years after graduating from ADZU with a BS Electronics and Computer Engineering degree.

TimeFree is an awardee of the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program Innovation & Excellence Award and winner of the 1st IdeaSpace Startup Competition, an investee company of IdeaSpace Philippines (the accelerator arm of the MVP Group of Companies). The company has market presence in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. The company is currently expanding to other markets across multiple verticals.

 


Please describe your work.

I'm currently responsible for the overall business activities of the company. This includes corporate strategy planning and implementation, sales and marketing, and management of the end-to-end product development. I currently have overlapping responsibilities due to our lack of human resources so I primarily focus on sales, and developing and implementing key corporate strategies but I also take a more hands-on technical approach in product development.

 

Can you tell me more about the company, TimeFree?

TimeFree is a virtual queuing solutions company that enables users to remotely get a queue e-ticket using their smartphone and sends alerts regarding their position in the queue. Customers no longer need to physically wait in line. The company aims to help businesses and establishments improve their customer experience and increase customer engagements through its portfolio of virtual queuing software.

 

Are you at liberty to name (some) of your clients?

I can name some of them. They are Smart and PLDT. For our other clients, we can't name them yet due to a non disclosure agreement.

 

Those are big clients. Are they using your technology now?

Yes they are. We're currently working on a new deal with them as we try to sell them our current flagship product, the TimeFree QMobile.

 

What is QMobile?

QMobile is a virtual queuing aggregator mobile app that lets users get a queue ticket in different establishments using their smartphone. Customers no longer have to go to the establishment they want to queue in just to get a ticket and physically wait in line. The app also lets users monitor the queue flow in real time, giving them a preview of the number of customers ahead of them in line. The app offers mobility, convenience, and efficiency in customer queuing.

 

Where do you see your company five years from now?

We're currently aggressive in our sales and marketing activities so we expect the next 3-5 years as our high growth years. We want to grow the business in the next 3-5 years, which will hopefully set the stage to do a regional Series A round to further support our expansion plans.

 

Ten years from now?

Hopefully 10 years down the road, there will be an opportunity to be acquired or to go public.

 

How would you differentiate your company from others in more or less the same category?

Our competitors offer legacy queuing solutions. These are the traditional way of queuing for customers, either they are given numbered cards or they get a queue ticket from a ticket generator. Both of these restrict the customers' freedom to do other things while they wait for their turn. Our virtual queuing software allows customers to truly be more productive. For example, a customer using the QMobile no longer has to go first to the establishment, get a queue ticket, and then wait for his turn. He can get an e-ticket using his smartphone wherever he is. He only needs to go to the establishment if it's almost his turn. We call it proactive waiting rather than reactive waiting.

Another difference is that our competitors offer queuing solutions that are not scalable while ours is very easy to scale and customize. No need for technical know how about programming. The user can make system configuration changes in a few clicks.

 

Scalable meaning...

Scalable meaning it is easy to implement and make system configuration changes in our software compared to our competitors. For example, if a business has 100 branches and they choose to go with our competitors, then they need to go to each branch, set up the queuing software, and if there are system configuration changes they want to make, they need to get our competitors to tweak the software and this takes some time as they have to change the source code for the queuing software. In our case, we can easily implement our queuing software in these 100 branches without having to physically go to each branch. This saves a lot of time and effort. And system configuration changes can be done with just a few clicks, there's no complicated programming involved.

Scalability is a very big concern for a startup to address especially if it envisions itself to grow big and capture markets beyond the Philippines.

 

Can you tell me about who you were as an ADZU student?

I belong to the ECE Class of 2010. Through the five years I spent in ADZU, I was one of those students who did not really excel in academics. I failed a subject in my junior year because I spent most of my time playing computer games. It wasn't until my last year in college that I began to take my studies seriously.

 

How did that transition happen?

I think it has a lot to do with my mentality. As someone who came from a remote island in Tawi-Tawi, I kind of accepted that I was way behind my peers, as far as academics were concerned. I put a limit on myself. And I was content with being just able to get by in my subjects, even if it meant just getting a low passing mark. I did not really push myself to reach my full potential. After graduation, I had a change of mindset. I told myself that grades don't matter in the real world. It's how you adapt to the unending stream of challenges that will make you successful. And from then on, I looked at challenges as opportunities for me to improve as a professional and as a person.

 

From that kind of student to this kind of technopreneur?

I made it a point to remind myself that from now on, the only thing that can stop me from reaching my full potential is myself.

 

Current ADZU college students will probably be reading this interview. What would you like to tell them?

Make the most out of your time in college.  Don't put a limitation to what you can become. You can be who you want to be if you believe in yourself. You must believe in what you are capable of, even if others will say otherwise.

 

Is your ADZU education relevant to what you are doing/trying to do now? How?

My current role in the company is different from my previous job. My ADZU education was relevant when I was a fiber optics engineer, but now I handle mainly the sales and marketing side of the business. There is some relevance though as my ADZU education has helped me learn how well to work in a group, similar to what we used to do when we did our thesis and other projects.

 

What is your advice to students who want to take the same path you did?

Failure is not fatal so don't be afraid to fail. You are still young. You have so much ahead of you. Don't get pulled down by negativity around you. Live life as you are supposed to live it, by taking on challenges, making mistakes, learning from your mistakes, and making progress as you go. Believe in yourself. At the end of the day, you are the only one who can determine what you'll become. Your actions will define you. Remember that there is no progress without action. So take the plunge.

 

 

ADZU 15 Questions is a Q & A series with ADZU alumni. As you can already guess, alumni will be asked 15 questions about their present lives as well as their lives during their time as an ADZU student.

 

This interview was conducted by ADZU communications officer Yen Blanco-Delgado via Facebook chat on February 20, 2015.

 

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