Tell us about yourself!
My name is Sergius Santos and I am from the Philippines. I am an alum of the Design Thinking for Social Innovation (DSI) 2018 Silicon Valley Program.
Where are you living now?
I am living in Japan doing my master’s degree.
What are you studying for you master’s degree?
Currently, I am pursuing a master’s in Biomedical Engineering.
Are you currently working as well?
I work for a startup called Exora Technologies Inc. It is an energy solutions platform that facilitates competitive bidding to get the lowest price of electricity. In the Philippines, energy started to be deregulated which means you can buy your own electricity directly from the supplier. We created an online platform for both the businesses and the supplier. The supplier can bid electricity to the business. In this way, we create a more enhanced competitive process. We can also do aggregation from customer A to customer B so that they can have a cheaper contract. We started the company last year with just 3 people and now we have grown to 20.
What is your role with Exora?
I am the Chief Operations Officer. My plan is to finish my master’s and go back to the Philippines to continue my work for the company. We plan to expand to other Asian countries, in particular developing countries. Furthermore, I also want to explore working in content media, innovation and the education sector.
In what ways has your VIA experience impacted your career and who you are today?
I have found so much inspiration from all the people I met through VIA. It opened my eyes to a wider perspective. VIA taught me how to see the world differently and to understand how I can contribute to it. There is a lot of opportunity out there, you just have to be persistent and committed to making a difference.
What is the most important thing you learned during your VIA program?
To know what you want, and to be passionate about what you really want. You might not necessarily understand how big you can be and the impact you can make on people’s lives. The social ladder is not the only thing that predicts how big of an impact you can make; it is more about a discernment process on what you are passionate about and then committing yourself to do your best in that area – believing that social change comes from little things.
What was your favorite moment from your VIA experience?
I remember when I had to cook for my friends in Stanford. That was my first time cooking for a lot of people, and it turned out pretty good. I think they liked it (laughs).
Are you still in contact with anyone you met at VIA?
Yes, with some friends in Japan. We talk casually and arrange some gatherings with other Design Thinking alumni.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Maybe still working with Exora or doing volunteer work. I also want to start pursuing my goal in content media.
What advice do you have for future VIA participants?
To be openminded in terms of perspective, and to be flexible to other people.
How would you describe VIA in 3 words?
Emotion, Perspective, and Happiness.