Jodie Zeng, Minic Li, and Jiao Wen

Born and raised in Sichuan China, Jodie, Minic, and Jiao— ecora’s co-founders, are a formidable force bringing their experience, exposure, and learnings from working in the trenches at some of China’s leading technology companies to the Philippines.

Origin Stories

Jodie was born in a small city in Sichuan before obtaining her undergraduate degree from Xiamen University. After a few years of work, she moved to the United States and earned her MBA degree from the University of California, San Diego. Before jumping into the world of startups, she spent 10 years in China working at large companies— KPMG as an auditor for 4 years, Uber, Didi, and Ofo in General Manager and Operation Head roles for 4 years, and Alipay for 2 years. 

Born in Taiyuan, Shanxi and raised in Chengdu, Sichuan, Minic studied Polymer Materials and Engineering at Sichuan University before cutting her teeth in China’s then budding tech scene at Uber, focusing on operations and logistics. She subsequently supported product operations and international expansion at Ofo, became a Senior Product Manager at VIPKid overseeing their global markets, and eventually served as Product and Operations Director at Segway Ninebot.

Flanking the ecora leadership is Jiao, a Chengdu Native and Sichuan University Information System and Information Management graduate. Jiao joined the Alibaba Group in their head office in Hangzhou after graduation and served for 12 years, working her way up from various operations roles in their B2B business unit before transferring to the Insurance Business Unit as an Operations Manager. Her final two years at Alibaba were as a Mid-Platform Manager at Alipay. 

Their shared professional roots at tech giants Ofo, Uber, and Alibaba laid the groundwork for their dynamic partnership. The co-founders’ paths first crossed at Uber in 2015 (Jodie and Minic) and later at Alipay (Jodie and Jiao). They fostered a deep friendship and respect for each other’s work ethic and values. United by a desire to make a difference, they set out to build a social e-commerce tool in the Philippines. While the initial concept didn’t take off, it led them to a crucial discovery: “everything here in the Philippines is really expensive and the product quality isn't worth the price,” explained Jodie. In particular, they were alarmed by the quality of women’s underwear. Minic remarked that “women’s underwear in the Philippines is expensive and not comfortable. They are still wired and being made out of cotton. We wanted to change that situation here.”

Getting to Work

Ecora’s founders saw huge potential to revolutionize the undergarment industry by transforming the traditional retail experience into an interactive and inclusive space by embracing a video-first TikTok livestream marketing strategy.  They found that they could leverage Tiktok’s platform to increase reach and visibility while engaging with their audience on a more personal level through instant feedback, building a sense of community and loyalty among their followers.

Building with Kaya

A partnership with Kaya Founders in 2023 proved to be game-changing for ecora. At the time, ecora’s search for a General Manager proved elusive, as they sought someone who was operationally savvy but also possessed an entrepreneurial mindset. Kaya’s extensive network helped the team identify the perfect candidate who embodied both qualities the founders were looking for. Kaya’s expertise extended beyond recruitment; they also facilitated invaluable introductions to local entrepreneurs and customers, providing them with deeper insights into Filipino consumer culture and burgeoning business prospects.

With Kaya’s support, the founders have set ambitious goals for ecora. They aim to be the leading women’s underwear brand in the Philippines within the next 1-3 years and within 5 years, they aspire to be one of the largest women’s underwear/fashion brands internationally, cultivating a vibrant global community for women that celebrates self-expression and body positivity.