start up

Quadruple Bottom Line

Quadruple Bottom Line

In my previous blog, I talked about PeN being a GoodBusiness and an Impact Investment, in terms of which category of company we belong.
Apart from the positive social and environmental impact we bring, we are unique in a way that we can be considered as one of the few companies that can generate a Quadruple Bottom Line. This means that our bottom line or profit or impact can be measured in 4 different distinct ways, let me enumerate them here:
1. Measurable social impact
2. Excellent future financial returns
3. Quantifiable environmental sustainability impact
4. Recognisable contribution to parent/portfolio companies

Measurable Social Impact

I outline this on my previous blog essentially:
– Making communication and information available even to those who are not connected to the internet:  Communication and Information powers progress both as an individual and as a society in general.
– Leveraging your social currency: We put a real-world money value to your social currency and actually award that to you in something you can use to shop.
– Enabling the micro-sharing economy: This allows you, as a social media user, to benefit from the gains of companies who are out to make profit out of your usage. Also, you can share just about anything in PeN, including your internet connectivity.
– Personal and real emergencies: We assist you during your times of need, without any cost to you. We are always there.
– Health and safety: We notify you when you are going to an area where there are disease outbreaks. We also help out identify sources and movement of this outbreaks.

Excellent Future Financial Returns

As a company, we still need to ensure that we make profit. We do this in various ways, from 1) advertising like Facebook and Google to 2)In-app purchases, when you buy anything in PeN inside the app 3)mCommerce, although we provide online stores for free, we charge a very small amount for successful transactions 4)Peer to Peer transactions, soon you will be able to transact with another PeN user. You will be able to send them gifts or surprises, or exchanging just about anything with monetary value.  We will only charge a very small amount for qualified transactions. We are in the volumes business, so very small profits in a lot of transactions can still lead to a big profit at the end of the day.

Quantifiable Environment Sustainability Impact

In summer of 2017, we launched PeN’s tree planting initiative where we plant 1 tree for every 10 users. So far, we have planted around 25,000 trees and growing. We aim to be able to plant around 100 million trees by 2021 in various countries. This is achievable with your help by using PeN and spreading the word, making the PeN Pal community larger each day. Our tree planting initiative started in the Philippines in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and we aim to expand the project in various countries in the next 3 years.

Recognisable Contribution to Parent/Portfolio Companies

PeN in its nature, is a social network where users interact with each other.  Although it combines the power of messaging, voice, social, health, safety, commerce and micro-sharing in a single application that works even when there is no internet connection.
Since we are on-boarding the new wave of users, this will benefit portfolio companies immediately where they can ride the wave go our growth. Additionally, we provide various APIs so other companies can connect to our community, much like the way Facebook connects others to their network.  With PeN, connecting users even when there is no internet connection is paving the way to on-board the next billion users. Couple that with micro-sharing that leverages users’ social currency and turn it into a real-world monetary value will change the face of social media as we know it today.
Being one of the few companies with a Quadruple Bottom Line, the question is what does it take for PeN to become a unicorn?
Posted by Ian Vernon in Blog, What's New?
The Joys of a Start-up

The Joys of a Start-up

Considering that PeN is a very young start-up, the app itself was made publicly available a year ago and today have more than a million happy users.

At PeN we believe on making our PeN Pals happy and will continuously surprise our PeN Pals every week from unexpected rewards to valuable redemption possibilities to our own social good initiatives.

While we focus in delighting our PeN Pals there is, of course, a lot of work in the background. We invite you to join us in our journey by using PeN and becoming one of our active PeN Pals. We will also share our journey with you with a weekly update on our views, perspective and exciting things happening inside PeN, including the challenging ones. Each week one of us in PeN will share their stories and experiences, its voluntary of course and it will be a surprise until you read the posts.

Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge of every start-up is to grow as fast as possible at the lowest possible cost. Growth is all about users, new users and more importantly active users. Investment covers cost. The investment that comes into PeN is what pays for our operations, for providing free services and more importantly for delighting our PeN Pals.

We are not yet on that stage where big tech companies are like Facebook or Amazon are, but we are following that path with your support, PeN Pals. The biggest difference we have from  Facebook and Amazon is that we believe in the sharing economy, we share the benefits to each of you our PeN Pals.  We have introduced redeemable PeNNeY rewards and provided various ways to mine PeNNeY rewards.

Our efforts last week was focused on the new way of earning and mining PeNNeY including liking post from your friends and those you follow to getting likes on your post. This is by far the fastest way to earn and mine PeNNeY, once you have a lot of friends and followers then likes will come.

Like they say build it and they will come.

I, myself being the CEO of the company, spend countless hours in ensuring everything goes smoothly from raising finance to operations and all the way to ensuring that our products and services are the ones desired by you, our PeN Pals.

Sometimes I look back how I got here after several of my start-ups were acquired by publicly listed companies and from my humble beginnings growing up in the rural areas in the Philippines. Growing up in the Philippines I have first-hand experiences in third world economies, the challenges of daily life and the unforeseen future.

In PeN, it’s my mission to ensure that in everything we do, we always stick to our core values of delighting our users and making this world a bit better place for everyone.

Posted by Ian Vernon in Blog


During the last days of my involvement with Dingli (a publicly listed company in China) that acquired my previous company in Sweden, I spent days and sleepless nights contemplating on what I want to do next. Prior to that, I invested in a small start-up that is creating an instant messaging solution.

On those unholy hours of deep soul searching, I came to the thoughts of who in the world can possibly influence my thoughts. Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama, Bill Gates and Richard Branson look like the heroes of my imaginations with the common aspiration of making this world a better place. The question I asked myself is, How can I make this world a better place in my own little ways? I then contemplated in what I am good at and how can that make a difference to the bigger world.

The Idea of PeN


The idea of PeN as a super app or app for everything is not new. I actually pitch idea during the acquisition of my previous company way back in 2011, however at that time they are not interested to go to consumer market… that of course, until I found out Tencent launched WeChat a few months later. So the idea of creating a responsible, secure and transparent super app persisted.

Where WeChat is failing is where PeN will succeed, the market outside China. The question I had to answer is what will PeN be all about? Are we going to revolutionize that simple pen and make it into an app for everything, like you do in the old days use a pen communicate, to draw, to sign checks and more – The same simple pen which in high school, I played with instead of listening to my class lessons.

In the succeeding weeks, I took the instant messaging solution in Sweden and molded it to our vision of connecting the world. Our mission is to connect everyone in the four corners of the world, online and offline – taking from our expertise in mobile technology and background in telecoms.

Connecting the world means we bring easy access communications, information, social media, emergency,  health services, shopping and location-based services including the underserved and often ignored population of this world. In doing so we want to improve lives in every little way we can, and leave a lasting legacy in this world. PeN will be free and accessible to all. Going on this journey, Elena Pechko and Charisma Quebral, Abbey Alidoosti shared that vision and later Dr. Jerry Genuino joined to make this vision our mission.

Our success depends on our users, and we will give back what they deserve

Early on we have realized that the success of PeN is dependent on our users, and in that way, we would always give back to our users any benefits we reap in PeN. This is carried over to the services we provide, free services on what typically costs money. From PSTN phone calls to SMS to Emergency and Health Services. We made PeN publicly available in July 2016, a lot of our first PeN Pals have joined us in this journey until today and looking forward to that journey into the future.

We have a digital currency called PeNNeY, of which the original aim is to create a digital currency that our users can use to transact in PeN including paying for services and products. PeNNeY will be free to our users and they will be able to earn PeNNeY from their usage of PeN. In this way, we share the benefits we reap from our users’ continuous use of the app.

As we continued to grow 2 venture capitals in Sweden, ALMI and Spintop joined our journey. A year on our journey continues and have exceeded 1 million users and the time has come to further accelerate our growth and hence started looking for additional venture partners to join our journey and share our vision of making this world a bit better place. As part of this journey, we are improving the way we give back to our users, to you our PeN Pals by introducing a way for you to exchange the PeNNeY rewards you earned to real-world monetary values. You will be able to use your PeNNeY rewards to purchase digital products or physical products in PEN and gift certificates with our partners. We also are introducing an influencer program for those of our PeN Pals with a lot of followers and fans.

To our current PeN Pals I encourage you to continue using the app and maximise the benefits of more usage.  To you that will soon become our PeN Pals I welcome you to experience the benefits of PeN and join us in our journey to connect the world and make this world a bit better place for everyone.

Posted by Ian Vernon in Blog, PeN Rewards, What's New?