Dado Banatao Success Story

I was reading GoNegosyo and I read about the life story of Dado Banatao. He was considered as the Filipino version of Bill Gates since both came up from a technical background, introduced technologies that transformed the computer industry, and built large successful companies from the ground up.

I was really amazed on how far Dado already went in pursuing his dreams especially knowing his roots. And as such, he was the featured story for today in the rags to riches entrepreneur section of this blog. I hope you would find another inspiring success story.

Dado Banatao was born on May 23, 1946 to a rice farmer and housekeeper where he grew up in a little barrio named Malabhac in the farming town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley Province. When he was a kid, Banatao used to walk barefoot to school along the dirt roads. He then went to Ateneo de Tuguegarao and at 15 pursued college education at Mapua Institute of Technology where he graduated cum laude with an Electrical Engineering degree.

Dado was then offered a job after graduation at Meralco but then he turned down the offer after knowing the starting salary. He instead applied as a pilot trainee at Philippine Airlines, which paid much more. Little did he know that a turning point of his career will come when Boeing pirated him as a design engineer and brought him to US.He then enjoyed engineering and later on pursued further studies taking a Masters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, which he completed in 1972 to be trained properly on his craft.

After graduating with his Masters degree, Dado then worked at some of the leading-edge technology companies that include National Semiconductor, Intersil, and Commodore International where he designed the first single chip, 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator. In 1981, while he was working at Seeq Technology, the inventor of Ethernet approached the company to look for a more efficient way of linking computers. Banatao was then assigned with the task that led him to his breakthrough discovery of by putting the Ethernet controller on a single chip instead of big boards. That was then the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver chip.

With that breakthrough discovery, Dado then decided to start his company and be his own boss. With US$500,000 seed capital that came mostly from friends, he put up Mostron i 1985 to develop chip sets. As a start up company, he had to be cost efficient and resourceful. He then used equipment from another company that wasn’t used on weekends to debug chips. Later his hard work and dedication paid off when his company developed the first system logic chip set for the PC-XT and PC-AT, which lowered the cost of building the personal computer and made it much more powerful.

About the same time, Dado started his second company named Chips and Technologies (C&T), which created enhanced graphics adapter chip sets. With its success, sales during the first quarter amounted to US$12 million. In less than a year, the company went public by listing its shares in the stock market and the market’s response was remarkable. It was one of the fastest Initial Public Offering (IPO) listings in the history of US stock market. In 1996, multinational semiconductor giant Intel bought C&T making Banatao richer by US$430 million.

But even before this huge success, Banatao had already reached millions when he started his third company named S3. It was a company that pioneered the local bus concept for the PC in 1989 and introduced the first Windows accelerator chip in 1990. Way back in 1993, S3 was then considered as the third most profitable technology company in the world when it went public having an IPO worth of US$30 million.

Dado Banatao is now a multimillionaire investor. He invested in a lot of networking companies that were eventually sold before he joined the venture capital firm Mayfield Fund in 1998. After two years, the company offered him to promote to a general partner but Dado refused it and instead decided to start his own venture capital firm named Tallwood Venture Capital with a capital of US$300 million, all of which came from his own pocket. He then believed that independence is more important than security.

Today Dado Banatao manages several businesses. His Cielo Communications is developing the vertical cavity surface emitting laser or Versel, which speeds the transmission of data along optical lines. His SIRF Technology is designing a chip for a global positioning system which utilizes satellites to locate objects. His Marvell Technology had a highly successful public offering with the stock price soaring more than 300% during its first day of trading. He has proven to be a master investor and venture capitalist. He invests, oversees, and sells several companies that include Cyras Systems acquired by Ciena; Newport Communications acquired by Broadcom; Acclaim Communications acquired by Level One; Stream Machines acquired by Cirrus Logic; Marvell Technology Group and New Moo software.

He has more than three homes in the US, including resort properties in Lake Tahoe and Sonoma San Francisco. From his childhood roots of walking barefoot, he now drives his high-performance luxury cars and he flies his own fast jets. Yet despite these blessings, Dado Banatao still contributes to the society and to the country. His Banatao Filipino American Fund assists Northern California high school students of Filipino heritage in pursuing a college education in engineering. Aside from this, he also went back to his childhood town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley where he built a computer center at his grade school making it the only public school with the most modern computer network.

Truly Dado Banatao has come along way being a veteran entrepreneur and venture capitalist of Silicon Valley. May his successful life story continue to inspire us to pursue our dreams, ambitions and aspirations despite adversities in life. Keep the fire burning. As this blog says, Dream… Believe… Act… Achieve.

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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

53 responses on “Dado Banatao Success Story

  1. lahat naman ng yumaman ay talagang pinaghirapan din nila! siguro may iba na pinanganak na mayaman pero paghihirapan pa rin nila para ma-maintain yun!

    nicely shared!

    • I know for a fact that you’re not just hoping but actually WORKING towards it, right Elmot? Mukhang hindi ka na yata palabisita sa PMT ah, anong pinagkakaabalahan mo lately?

  2. I am very inspired with what I ‘ve read. Please continue to inspire every filipinos around the world. Also do you have a link to Mr. Dado’s engineering fund.



    • You can apply for ERDT scholarships (which come from DOST) at your respective engineering department if you study or wish to take a Master’s or PhD at UPD, UPLB, DLSU, ADMU, San Carlos, MSU-I, CLSU, or MIT.

  3. Dado lived with his aunt in Roxas Dist., QC. I don’t know him very well because he was much older than me but he and my oldest brother went to MIT. Though my brother was also a major brain, he was uninspired and not ambitious and hardworking. He did not make much of his life and died at age 61 as an alcoholic. Dado chose the hard path, but it was the right path. And now, he is reaping his successes and helping a lot of people. Congratulations, Dado! You make us proud! and btw, kapatid ako ni Eli.

  4. I am very proud of Dado..His achivement is really very inspiring…This man is very humble and helps lots of people especially in Cagayan… I met him in Spain in 2007 and i was so surprise that being a millioniare he was really down to earth… I know him because his aunt where he lived before is also my aunt..And our aunt still lives in Roxas district QC at the age of 99 yrs old.

  5. Hi Tyrone,

    Very well, nakilala ko lang sya through this blog at being a fan of rags to riches, nakakainspire sya at nakakachallenge. I love tech stuff and how it changes the world so it’s a great post indeed. Continue posting ng mga ganitong stories kasi you never know kung ilang tao maiinspire mo. People don’t easily get successful through reading success stories like this but they sure help increase the drive to succeed.

  6. He’s a computer guru as they call him sometimes, i came to know bout this man few years back. he has a brother with top position in our company. Few people have knowledge who they are bacause they are down to earth. I’ve always been a fan of him for his achievements and boldness in all his undertakings, it’s like A knight’s Tale story. William’s father said: A Man Can Change His Star If He Wants To. So Dream… Believe…Hardwork, walk close to God.

  7. Engr. Diosdado Banatao

    Dear Sir,

    It is an honor to be able to present to you this unique invitation to become part of Tagum Doctors Hospital, Inc. The area of healthcare in third world countries like ours has always been behind in terms of investments. Tagum Doctors Hospital is an exciting prospect for your business interests and philanthropic goals as it provides you with the opportunity to earnestly contribute to the well-being of the people of Mindanao specifically Davao Region, especially the people of the Municipality of Maco, Mabini, Pantukan, Mawab, Kapalong, whole Davao Del Norte and Compostela Valley Province who do not have access to quality healthcare.

    Tagum Doctors Hospital has been in existence for 19 years. It is under the care of Mr. Lemuel Podador for twelve years as its majority stockholder. The Hospital has a 168 bed capacity. This year, construction is ongoing for a fourth floor which will add an additional of 23 private rooms. In this part of the Davao Region, Tagum Doctors Hospital is known for its quality healthcare as manifest by its “The touch of healing” principle.

    The Management has emphasized that its employees imbibe the hospital’s core values. This means that we have always put the care of our patients as utmost priority. We have implemented various mechanisms and policy pronouncements in order to achieve targets in key results areas.

    In short, Tagum Doctors Hospital provides you the added edge in terms of how you will be able to do something great for your fellow Filipinos in this part of Mindanao. It is not unknown to many that our country has found it difficult to achieve its Millennium Development Goals targets. Healthcare is vital to the achievement of human development and the enhancement of human lives. Thus, if you will become part of this institution, you will be in a position to scale new heights in helping a real way many Filipinos.

    Our business proposal is anchored on selling the majority shares of stocks of Mr. Lemuel Podador to you. You can be the new majority owner if you purchase 2,201 of the existing 4,400 shares. At 35,000 per share, the amount of your investment will be 77,035,000 pesos. If you so desire, you can arrange that the Hospital be transformed into a Foundation. This will provide you some headway in making Tagum Doctors Hospital a vehicle for your philanthropic goals.

    As an institution, the Hospital boasts of competent and experienced doctors who have dedicated themselves to the care of our patients. Tagum City and the neighboring Municipalities and Provinces are growing in terms of population and with it, the requisite improvement in healthcare services. We have always emphasized on the philosophy of “excellent service” as we consider our patients our number one priority. The Management of the Hospital has been steadfast in making sure that we are up to date in terms of equipment and procedures.

    There are challenges that lie ahead and we believe that you can be our best partner in order to boldly face the future. It is hoped that this business proposition merits your time and consideration.

    Very truly yours,

    Raymond Molina Taopa

  8. Heard about Dado from a friend, Googled his name and am very impressed and happy with his success and then desire to give back and pay it forward. A person that I could encourage my children to look to as a role model.

  9. Hi Mang Dadoy,

    We really proud of you for your success & contibution to IT technology. Your hardwork, patience & humility serves as our inspiration to pursue our dreams!


  10. hi po….pinapasearch k ni jhun s akin kc bestfriend dw kayo noon s cagayan at nandito sya ngaun s saudi….+966508991179 ito po ang contact number nya….marami pong salamat……

  11. I have known this man through our Iguig Parish Priest. I was then the youth coordinator of our parish. Msgr. Bassig told us the story of this man. As an Iguigeno, I am indeed proud and very much inspired. As a teacher in an engineering school here in Manila, I always share his story to my students especially when I am discussing “Personality Development”. Our school is now known in the engineering field and mind you, we produced topnotchers. One of the topnotchers that our school produced is again a Cagayano because his father is from Enrile Cagayan, also an Ytawes. I pray that Mr. Banatao will be able to read this so he will also visit and share some tips on how to become successful to our students and be of help to the would-be engineers. There are so many students who are really poor but deserving here. Even if I do not know Mr. Banatao personally, I admire him so much because I came from a very poor family too in Iguig. The computer center that he donated at his grade school was indeed true. I used to pass by that school. It’s beside their house in Malabbac. Kudos Mr. Banatao! You’re truly an inspiration not only to the people of Iguig but to all filipinos out there.

  12. I truly inspired Mr. Banatao journey. what a sussesful man who lived in American dream… for some how someday i hope he will get a read this message of mind, currently I am employed this Startup company Zytek Corporation you can visit our website so you can see what we can offer. as a start up company we need some big help out there to get more customers, we have 50% of pinoy workers to this company and the economy right now is not really doing good so everybody has a little concern maybe we will lose our jobs if we can not find a good customers, and too many competition out there. so please if everybody know anybody who can give us a lead to a potential customers please do not hesitate to send me email…….

  13. Engr. Dado Banatao’s story is very inspiring…I pasted a quote from him on my computer…”I found myself wanting to do more.” Proud to be Filipino…..

  14. He was the inspirational speaker back in 1992 during our graduation ceremony at Mapua. Very inspiring proud to say he’s my kababayan

  15. I was sitting at the central park in New York the other day. I’m part of the team from the Philippines that is on a ten-day conference here on Civic Education together with seven other countries. I met this guy, a Filipino, (forgot his name) who is based in New York, doing some realty jobs. I sort of shared to him our advocacy on how important it is to engage students in civics and that the project’s funding ends this year. As I shared to him our sustainability efforts to keep the project going with the funding behind it, he mentioned DADO BANATAO, who, according to him generously supports projects and programs that have something to do with education and the youth.

    I wonder how I may have access to Mr. Banatao’s foundations for possible grant requests.

    As we wait for our flight now back to the Philippines, I remember him and read his inspiring success story, and decided to take my chances, for my students and for our advocacy.

    Thank you!

  16. Hi! I’m Katrina Manalang, a researcher from Rated K of ABS CBN. I have read the rags to riches story of Dado Banatao written by Tyrone Solee. Can we have his contact number? We are interested with his story. Maybe we can feature his life story in Rated K of ABS CBN hosted by Ms. Korina Sanchez-Roxas. Thanks. Here’s my mobile no. 09053782169 and e-mail address [email protected]. Thanks

  17. Hi Mr. Banatao…I watched your interview from the Bottom Line and I was so amazed of the simplicity of your personality. And that lead me to searched your name in the internet and my questions to my self been answered. How lucky are those working on your company. I wish my daughter(still in high school) will meet you and be inspired with your accomplishment

  18. good day, mr. banatao! i truly admired & happy for your success in your life in the real sense of the word.

    more than these, i most admired your humility, grateful of your roots & beginnings & share your blessings to everyone esp the filipinos in need!

    i am sure the life you lived is a great inspiration to us filipinos to emulate & you ar a living example of what our lord want all of us his creature to be

    god bless you more & your family & bless you with good health

    lyn r. reambillo


  20. i am surprised that sir dado is also an iguigueño like me. He is from malabbac and i am fom sta. barbara. congratulations sir for your great great success. You truly inspired the whole filipino people. I hope you continue helping the province of cagayan and i am looking forward that in the near future you will put up big investment at the cagayan economic zone authority at sta. ana , cagayan. god bless sir and more power.

  21. Engr.Dado Banatao….a very inspiring story and I truly admired you for your success and contribution to IT technology,your patience,hardwork and humility…and you are an inspiration to all ! DREAM…BELIEVE…ACT…ACHIEVE !
    We all dream but only some wake up & work hard …we always dream our dream big & do everything we possibly can to make our dream come true! Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm !….YOU ARE A MAN OF ACTION….A MAN ABOUT WORLD….& A MAN OF THE WORLD !

  22. Very inspiring story of Engr. Dado Banatao, napanood ko sya sa TV5 kagabi on journo of Luchi Cruz-Valdez, kaya niresearch ko sya sa google. Good job Sir dado! Thanks po sa contributor. Proud to be a Cagayano…..

  23. Mr. Dado Banatao is a gifted person. His life story is one that inspires all that reads his wonderful success story. Kudos sa iyo kababayan. Am from Baggao Cagayan and am really proud of you. Hope to meet you one of this days. Godbless!

  24. Congratulations Sir Dado Banatao..youre such a great and successful person…Im also an Ilocanofrom Ilocos Norte and my husband is from Cagayan Valley..Youre such an Inspiration sa mga Kabataan ngayon…Im proud to be Pinoy….My son is an Engineering Student ,taking up Electronics Communication and Engineering… Hope he’ll follow your footstep..I mean Kahit konti….naks..



    [email protected]
    global taguig city

  26. What an interesting true to life story it is truly a culture of a Filipino but there are more people who are trying to search their opportunities either here or abroad and the lessons we gathered thru them will always play a big part for everyone of us who wants to fulfill our respective dreams…God Bless Us All…

  27. Very Inspiring Life Story especially we belong to the same electrical engineering profession. As senior life member of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines (IIEE), am wondering if Mr.Dado Banatao has already been conferred a recognition from our Institute. If not, I guess it is about time he is granted one. Not that he needs it badly but because his achievements both as a person and as a professional are worth emulating and one that is highly inspiring to our younger generations. God bless and more power to you sir!!

  28. You are such a great person. I cant believe that a human persona exists under your capability. The very best thing that happened in your family is the fact that you share your knowledge and extend it to the world.I hope someday I could be like you and see you because your niece Rheah is my patient and friend. GOD WILL ALWAYS BLESS YOU for being a great human kind foe every Filipino.

  29. 10 years from now,the philippines is the richest and very develop Country in the world. kung nabago nya ang sistema ng sociedad humna sa buong mundo sa pamamagitan ng kanyang dakilang karunungan sa teknolhiya na ibinigay ng poong maykapal, and how much more the tiny Island philippines na Hindi nya kayang baguhin ang sistemang bulok noong mga nakalipas na mag panahon?

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