Xurpas chair steps down to lead blockchain unit

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

Xurpas, Inc. Chair Nico Jose S. Nolledo

XURPAS INC. Chairman Nico Jose S. Nolledo will be stepping down as the technology firm’s chief executive officer (CEO) to lead one of the company’s subsidiaries that will focus on blockchain projects.

The listed firm said in a statement Tuesday that Mr. Nolledo will be focusing on developing Xurpas’ wholly-owned unit, ODX Pte. Ltd., which has already taken in several bigwigs in the technology, telecommunications, and crypto industries as investors.

ODX, which stands for Open Data Exchange, aims to employ blockchain technology to provide free Internet access to mobile consumer in emerging markets through sponsored data packages. The Xurpas unit incorporated in Singapore is currently planning to raise $100 million from the sale of utility tokens.

“ODX is a massive long-term opportunity for us, and the commitment to the project shown by the partners who have already signed on, is very strong validation of this… We need all hands on deck to fully realize our plans, and this is why I need to dedicate 100% of my time to ODX,” Mr. Nolledo said in a statement.

Xurpas noted that ODX’s supporters include Bitcoin Foundation Chairman Brock Pierce, Bharti Airtel International former Chairman Christian De Faria, Akamai co-founder Randy Kaplan, and other industry players such as Pantera Capital, DNA, Wavemaker Genesis, Right Click Capital, and Strong Ventures.

“We believe that the blockchain is a revolutionary technology, with far reaching benefits to companies, governments and end-consumers alike, and ODX will be a prime example of this,” Mr. Nolledo said.

Aside from ODX, the company is also planning to launch other blockchain projects that will complement its existing businesses such as Alto, which connects games to the blockchain; Xonio, a program that offers financial inclusion solutions for digital goods in emerging markets; and AllCare, an HR benefits platform that allows freelancers to avail of insurance, health, and other benefits.

Former Xurpas President and Chief Operating Officer Raymond Gerard S. Racaza will now take over as CEO, while Mr. Nolledo will remain as company chairman.

Xurpas swung to a net loss of P77.93 million in the first three months of 2018, versus a profit of P103.24 million in the same period a year ago. This came amid a 56% drop in revenues to P327.03 million during the period.

The company attributed the weaker performance to challenger market conditions in the mobile consumer segment, including new policies on Value-Added Services from one of its telco partners, leading to a slower performance.

Weakness in the 2017 performance of its advertising business, Art of Click (AOC), also spilled over to this quarter. Xurpas said it has already implemented measures to improve AOC’s client mix, but this has yet to be felt in the January to March period.

Shares in Xurpas ended flat at P3.15 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday.





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