The Final Pitch Returns With an 'Open Edition' for Season 9

The new season’s theme will be “Open Edition” as the show seeks tech and non-tech startups from every industry.

The Final Pitch, the Philippines’ leading business reality show, returns for its ninth season on CNN Philippines. The new season’s theme will be “Open Edition” as the show seeks tech and non-tech startups from every industry.

“This is a way for us to democratize access to everything that show stands for, to go beyond tech startups, which have traditionally been the majority," said the show's creator and host, John Aguilar. "We are excited to offer opportunities to a varied range of entrepreneurs and startups to take advantage of the fundraising, mentoring, and market reach that The Final Pitch Open Edition can provide.”

Carrying out the show's focus on diversity and inclusivity, this season’s roster of judges hail from various industries. Season 9’s judges are Rico Bautista, President and CEO of Etiqa Life & General Assurance Philippines; Brian Poe-Llamanzares, President of Pantheon Holdings; Henry Aguda, President and CEO of UnionDigital Bank and Member-convenor of GoDigital Pilipinas; and Robert Scott, Vice President-Hotel Operations of Okada Manila.

Also read: John Aguilar's 'The Art and Science of the Pitch' Is the Crash Course Every Startup Founder Needs

The Final Pitch will also involve judges from the diplomatic corps for the first time, namely the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Ilan Fluss, and the British Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Laure Beaufils. The ambassadors will serve as potential strategic partners for contestants, not potential investors.

Each judge will have his or her own criteria to determine which startups are worth investment. For Bautista, he’ll be eyeing startups “who can help expand our business in Etiqa, especially when it relates to insurance, customer service, and distribution.”


Meanwhile, Poe-Llamanzares seeks problem-solvers: "As an investor and entrepreneur, I am always on the lookout for innovative solutions that address real problems and benefit the general public.” The Pantheon president will also be on the lookout for opportunities that align with the family business.

As for Aguda, “We have an open mind coming into this show to find the ‘diamond in the rough,’ an SME that will become a unicorn one of these days.” The UnionDigital boss will keep an eye out for startups that could transform the industry and provide solutions to the government's problems.

In line with the season’s “Open Edition” theme, the show will open its mentoring sessions to participants outside The Final Pitch program for the first time. Aside from the contestants, students, startups, and other organizations will participate in Season 9’s Open House Mentoring Day on May 23 at Thames International School.

The mentors this season include Dean Bernales, Founder & CEO of Uniquecorn Strategies; Chris Peralta, Founder of Silicon Valley HQ; Vince Golangco, CEO & Founder of When in Manila; Atty. Marlon Valderama, founder and CEO of LexMeet; Joel Santos, President of Thames International Business School; and Paolo Rentero, Co-Founder of TechShake.

Participants who wish to join the May 23 Open House Mentoring Day can register here or visit The Final Pitch Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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Anri Ichimura
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