Mineski Founder and CEO Ronald Robins on Pivoting From an Internet Cafe to a Global Esports Company

From a gaming team in college to a well-loved internet and gaming cafe, Mineski has constantly evolved to match the ever-changing trends of technology.

When people think of Mineski, the first thing that comes to mind is the 24-hour internet cafe chain from 2008, which had 140 branches all across the country. An after-school destination for millennial students, it was the go-to shop for schoolwork, gaming, and surfing the net—back when WiFi access was still an obscure concept and esports was still an underdeveloped industry.

Not many people know, however, that Mineski's roots span deep. In 2004, it first started out as a college Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) team—founded by friends who loved gaming and wanted to turn their passion into a career. The year 2008 saw the rise of the internet cafe chain, while 2011 was the revival of the team's gaming career with opportunities to compete abroad, and 2018 was when the team won its first major tournament.

At the helm of all this is Founder and CEO Ronald Robins. A gamer and entrepreneur by heart, he turned his passion into a business that has allowed him and his team to dominate the esports, gaming, and tech industries in the region. This is why–despite the many pivots that matched the advancement of technology over time–Mineski has evolved and transformed into an organization with over 200 employees and offices across Southeast Asia.

While the well-loved internet cafe Mineski Infinity is no more, its ethos of gaming still remains. In this exclusive interview with The Business Manual, Robins shares Mineski's story of constant change and growth and reveals how a keen eye for opportunities has helped him keep afloat all this time.

Addressing Prevalent Pain Points

Before Mineski became one of the leading esports companies in the Philippines today, it first started out as a gaming team, while Robins was still a student at De La Salle University. "Mineski actually started as a DOTA team," Robins begins. "I was a player myself in 2004. We eventually grew the team into becoming the Philippine team. We have competed in the World Cyber Games overseas several times and represented the Philippines as the official DOTA team representative."