Roland Ros starts online platform for Gen Z and millennial Filipinos

When a trip to the Philippines imbued Roland Ros with a sense of urgency to connect with other Filipinos, a livestreaming app built for Gen Z and millennial Filipinos was born.

Ros founded Kumu with three other Filipino tech entrepreneurs based in the United States. Kumu’s online platform, including social TV, virtual gifts and live commerce, has registered over 6 million users since launching in 2018.

As an Asian American studies major at UC Santa Barbara, Ros was a member of Kapatirang Pilipino, a Filipinx-interest organization promoting academic excellence and cultural awareness.    

While studying abroad in the Philippines, he met his mentor, the late freedom fighter Susan Quimpo. Quimpo taught Ros about the psychological toll of martial law and how families had been exposed to toxic waste from the Clark Air Force Base.

“This experience forced me to confront the hyphen that defined what it meant to be both Filipino and American,” Ros says, noting Quimbo is the “spiritual mother of Kumu,” for her recognition of Ros’s desire to explore his connection to the Filipino community.

Ros’s company helps Filipinos to connect, whether they are living in the Philippines or in the global diaspora. The impact has been notable. Last year, Ros and his Kumu co-founder Rexy Dorado were named Esquire’s creators of the year for their Filipino-made live streaming platform.

Roland Ros '04 / Courtesy photo

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