Chief Executive Officer
Hi, I’m Mike! I am data-driven, Lean principles-guided digital marketing and business intelligence executive with extensive “big company” experience. Before co-founding and taking the lead at Growth Rocket, I was building and growing enterprise-level ecommerce brands and digital marketplaces. I’ve built and managed teams that range in size, from startups to NASDAQ-listed internet retailers with multi-million dollar budgets. After an eight-year run as Marketing Director at US Auto Parts, I got pulled in by the siren call of startups. I ended up working on three venture-backed startups as Chief Marketing Officer. Houman and I set up Growth Rocket in 2015, and I started working on the company exclusively in 2017. On May 2019, I was selected as a Growth Mentor at 500 Startups, the world’s most active early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator.
I (and Growth Rocket as an extension) treat marketing as a science. Our approach involves a lot of controlled experimentation, which is the reason we drive results for our clients. When I have time to spare, I read graphic novels and comic books.
Mike is a Growth Mentor at 500 Startups Vietnam's Saola Accelerator. 500 Startups’ flagship accelerator has been named a Top 3 accelerator in the U.S. by notable publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. 500 Startups has also been running growth programs in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The Saola Accelerator is 500’s latest step in its mission to back talented entrepreneurs all over the world, help them build companies at scale, and develop thriving ecosystems around the world.
Mike is a speaker at Digitize the Philippines 2020. Digitize the Philippines is a digital conference launched by Axadra Ventures to address the growing need for digitization in the country. It aims to address, educate, and implement digital solutions for Filipino businesses to help them be competitive in the global market.
A battle-hardened marketing veteran, Villar wants you to practice constraint.
“Relationships escalate one step at a time. Selling without a story is like asking someone to marry you on a first date,” he told the dozen startup employees at Saola, an accelerator program run by 500 Startups.
The entrepreneurs come from a handful of early-stage companies; their biographies are combinations of data scientist, Silicon Valley veteran, Ivy League graduate, programmer, competitive gamer, mathematical physicist, computational biologist, 3x founder, and defecting corporate lifer. To some of them, ‘sales’ is a dirty word, an oil slick contaminating the purity of science.
That’s why 500 summoned Villar: a storyteller who’s obsessed with “putting narrative to data.” Villar said f– you to sales (as we know it) a long time ago. He levitates above the content scrap yard. He’s seen the matrix of advertising and he doesn’t want you to flush that precious venture capital down the toilet by buying tone-deaf Facebook ads.
Actionable digital marketing tips and insights delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now.