What valuable lesson Brian Poe Llamanzares learned from grandpa FPJ
“FPJ wasn’t just a filmmaker. He was also an entrepreneur,” said Brian Poe Llamanzares, grandson of the late National Artist for Film Fernando Poe Jr. Brian says he got his business savviness from him.
Brian is one of the six judges in the ninth season of “The Final Pitch,” a business reality TV show that airs on CNN Philippines.
“I was actually with Star Magic (the talent management arm of ABS-CBN) for a year, but that didn’t work out for me. I’m very excited to be back onscreen and be a part of this,” said Brian, who recently participated in a virtual media conference to promote the program. “I think the one thing that people forget is that when indie film companies weren’t that popular yet, FPJ Productions was producing and marketing its own films and, thus, has one of the largest film libraries in Asia, with over 200-plus films. So the entrepreneurial bug had to be there somewhere in the family,” said Brian, who’s the son of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
FPJ, who also ran for president in the 2004 elections but lost, passed away in 2004. Brian added that while he was still too young to receive business advice from his grandfather back then, “he encouraged me to save my Christmas money. He told me to set that aside and I did. Until now, it’s still in my savings account.”
Brian continued: “Do I have mentors? My mom and dad weren’t necessarily entrepreneurs. The last real entrepreneur we had in the family was my grandfather, so I didn’t really have any mentors in business. I just learned through trial and error, through building companies and failing and starting again.”
He is president of Pantheon Holdings, which is made up of young business investors with a diverse portfolio in retail, service, media and the digital industry.
“So what I have is really just years of experience in trying to make it in the startup community. Life is my mentor; the cruel business environment that we have is my mentor,” he stressed.
Brian recently published a book titled “A Sustainable Future,” tackling sustainability issues and disaster resilience. He is also an advocate for volunteerism through FPJ Panday Bayanihan and continues to invest in advocacies such as mental health and education through his more recent partnerships with Mind You Mental Health Systems Inc., a tech company that provides mental health-care solutions for businesses, and Windows of Opportunity (WOOP), a scholarship-matching platform for financially challenged students.
Joining Brian in the panel of investor judges are Rico Bautista, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Etiqa Life and General Assurance Philippines Inc.; Henry Aguda, president and CEO of UnionDigital Bank and member convenor of GoDigital Pilipinas; Robert Scott, vice president for hotel operations of Okada Manila; Ilan Fluss, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines; and Laure Beaufils, British Ambassador to the Philippines.
Helping young entrepreneurs
“This is something I’ve been looking forward to,” said Brian. “Pantheon Holdings is made up of several startup companies that I have either built with friends or invested in over the years. We finally reached the point where we feel comfortable in saying that we have helped develop and market several small companies and grow them into what they are today. We’re excited to be on this show and hopefully help other young entrepreneurs get their footing in the industry and scale.”
“The Final Pitch” is a reality TV show where viewers see the coming together of the best and brightest startup entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders searching to back and support their enterprises.
Program creator and host John Aguilar explained that the latest season is the “Open Edition,” because it gives a chance to entrepreneurs of different sizes and industries to participate in the fundraising, mentoring and market reach that “The Final Pitch” has been able to provide for the entrepreneurs on the show. “This is a way for us to democratize access to everything that [the] show stands for, to go beyond tech startups, which have traditionally been the majority,” said Aguilar.
“The Final Pitch” is produced by Streetpark Productions Inc.