John Andrew Gangat has always been a rebel all his life. When he was a young boy, Jaggy, as he is called by relatives and friends, had a difficult time fitting in. He would find himself in trouble for bending the rules. He believed that there’s always a better way to do things for him to reach his goals. He didn’t know what he wanted at the time, but he always had a vision.
“I was always the ‘guy at the back of the room’, minding my own business and not caring about anything else”, recalls Jaggy. “My head was playing scenarios of robots, zombies, space exploration, future technologies, being a superhero, and other fantasies.” As a student, he became good at football, basketball, playing lead guitarist in school bands, drawing, and sketching. Because he loves to read books, he also wrote novels. “I was good at a lot of things except for fitting in”, he quips.
Learning Business at an Early Age
While in high school, Jaggy engaged in some side businesses and did some gigs to earn some cash because he wanted to be independent. While taking up architecture in college, he got into photography and became a freelance photographer. He added filmmaking and cinematography to his skillset and won several awards in filmmaking contests on his first try. Confident with his multimedia skills, he started a small media production company, Avanguard Creatives, in 2015 with a capital of only PhP10,000 and a workforce of 4 full-time employees and 6 freelancers.
In 2016, Jaggy dropped out of college to focus on Avanguard Creatives, which bagged several media projects from clients like Toyota Pasig, Toyota Shaw, Light Rail Transit, and Preview Magazine. In less than three years, Avanguard Creatives made a PhP3.1 Million return on his ten-thousand-peso investment. “Despite the success, I felt that it still didn’t fit my desires to create a larger impact on myself, on society, and in the industry”, says Jaggy. “I always felt that there was a gap in the market that I need to fill.”
Learning from Experience
With his passion for multimedia and the creative arts burning with his desire to develop and innovate, Jaggy started ALI Creative Learning in 2018, with the goal of transitioning traditional education to online learning. “I saw a gap in the education system and attempted to challenge the traditional teaching methods”, Jaggy muses. To generate more funds, he pitched the idea to investors in a local reality TV show called The Final Pitch in 2019 but was turned down. “I eventually stopped ALI Creative Learning because of increasing operation costs”, reasons Jaggy. “Then in 2020, everyone was doing online classes. Talk about wrong timing!”
After he closed his two businesses due to dwindling funds, he worked as a Grab driver for a few months and found another gap that he felt needed to be filled. Together with his fiancée April Grace Alcantara, Jaggy scrounged up PhP25,000 to establish Talent Avenue PH-Fairview in a franchise/partnership with Talent Avenue PH in Ortigas to train aspiring call center agents. In less than three months, their training center earned around PhP200,000 in referral fees from the BPO clients. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the enterprising couple to close shop at the end of March 2020.
Lessons from the Pandemic
During the pandemic, Jaggy tried his hand at working for a foreign company but quickly realized that employment wasn’t really for him. He ventured into e-commerce, opened up Toys & Pleasure with a capital of only PhP4,000, and utilized his multimedia expertise to his advantage. In less than seven months, his new venture earned him more than PhP900,000. He also noticed that motorcycles dominated the streets during the pandemic and that motorcycle repair shops were open despite government restrictions because these were considered as “essential” businesses.
Jaggy realized that there are currently no Filipino-made motorcycle brands, which rekindled his interest in two wheels. “I daydreamed of the Batpod motorcycle in the film ‘The Dark Knight’ when I was younger”, he reminisces. With his knack for filling in gaps, he began to work on an extraordinary motorcycle design for the Philippines. “We Filipinos are mostly consumers rather than producers of world-class products. I know that producing a new motorcycle can be complex and difficult. It might even be unappealing to riders who are used to established brands. But I’ve been a rebel all my life, so why not?”
From Greasy Gents Garage to Lycan Motorcycles
To get his feet wet in the motorcycle business, Jaggy took all his earning from Toys & Pleasure and invested it into a custom motorbike shop that he called Greasy Gents Garage, which opened in November 2020. They delivered their first fully-customized bike in December and outsourced all the customization work until March of 2021 when he opened the Lycan Corporation. With the economy recovering from the pandemic and the steady growth of his business, Jaggy displayed his custom bikes at SM Novaliches while his initial investment in Greasy Gents Garage of PhP40,000 grew to PhP3 Million in just 8 months.
When his team expanded from three to seven associates, Jaggy decided that it was time to focus on Lycan and set aside PhP180,000 to capitalize his new motorcycle company. “Aside from the income that we generated from Greasy Gents Garage, what I value the most was the learning and research I got from working directly with our clients”, Jaggy confides. “With a better understanding of the design and engineering of motorcycles combined with existing and upcoming modern technology, I came up with a plan that can differentiate Lycan motorcycles from other brands and make it unique in the market.”
Transpire and Transcend
In August 2021, Jaggy brought in the first co-founders for Lycan, with specific roles to help him turn his vision into reality. “At first, people were skeptic about the ideas and plans I had”, he says openly. “But I pushed on and kept challenging myself and the norm”. Support from April and generous investors prompted Jaggy to build the business and hire more people to develop their concept bikes and early-stage prototypes.
On December 11, 2021, they launched Transpire 2021, a virtual event where they showcased their concepts, ideas, and visions. Fresh investments from angel investors allowed Jaggy and his team to work on Mark 2 prototypes and technologies. On March 26, 2022, they launched Transcend 2022, a series of launches and events to showcase their mid-stage prototypes for the Lycan Challenger 1 and G6 motorcycle models, along with the technologies they developed, such as the Builder X platform, LUNA Artificial Intelligence, and the eventual Lycan Smart Helmet.
Inspired by Elon Musk, Jaggy has moved Lycan to attain a market capital valuation that most local start-up companies can only dream of. With Lycan, he hopes to create a world that he once daydreamed about and turn it into a reality. “My vision is to create technologies that provide better benefits, improve safety, and open new opportunities for Filipinos”, he professes. “My mission is to show the world that we Filipinos can produce world-class products and technologies, and take our place as a global challenger and competitor. My ultimate goal is for Lycan to make the lives of people better and more convenient – even beyond motorcycles.”