14: David Ongchoco | CEO of YouthHack

Johnathan Gryzbowski

April 4, 2016

Originally from the Philippines, David Ongchoco grew up loving basketball. He dedicated a large part of his life to basketball, but that was all until he tore his ACL. During his time on the disabled list, David had a ton of free time. No more 4-7 practice times, games, or mindless events that David previously had to go to for his favorite sport. Being that he had a ton of time on his hands, David needed a way to fill up his schedule. And so, David started writing.

It didn’t take long for the then 17 year old to start a blog. During his free time, David started writing about his new adventures and experiences from his travels. David joined the debate team, and  even started a business. During his time writing, David saw a ton of challenges in Manilla’s education and startup scene. David had the distance pleasure in hearing Salman Khan, the creator of the Khan Academy. During Salman’s speech, he discussed that we need to use technology to solve the world’s problems. And so, YouthHack was created.

During the summer of David’s freshman year at Penn, David went back home to the Philippines to create a two day hackathon, in which later turned into an entire startup weekend. Given his culture and upbringing, the startup scene wasn’t strong in Manilla. During his first YouthHack, David didn’t have a real idea of what he was doing. He had a lot of self doubt and almost didn’t go through the first ever YouthHack, but ended up still pursuing the idea because there was this itch that he just had to do it. After his time in Manilla and the success of YouthHack, David saw a rapid increase and dedication to the startup in his home country.

You can learn a lot from this young man. David’s lessons are scattered consistently throughout this episode. Be sure to listen to how David got into entrepreneurship. It’s a great listen.


Reach Out To Mentors and Take Advantage of Opportunities

David was a senior in high school and just wanted to play basketball! He wasn’t involved or even cared about the tech scene, nor did he care about startups. After finding a love for writing, he used his story to get in front of some of the biggest and best entrepreneurs in the world! From David’s experiences, he now has a column for Huffington Post and also Forbes Magazine.

Don’t Be Afraid To Try

“Some of the hardest things to do is getting over the initial part of your business, you’re struggling and you don’t know what you’re doing. So, just do it!” Says David Ongchoco