P.O. Box 1581
By Jesse C. Babauta
Kottura Innovations is a creative design firm that specializes in new media services with a focus on increasing cultural awareness through digital and social tools. It is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Kenneth and Angela Paulino. Looking to turn their passion into a profitable profession, the Paulino’s founded Kottura Innovations in 2013 with funding from local grants combined with their own savings. Five-years later, the company stands on its own, with revenue earned from projects and the sale of products being reinvested back into the business.
What’s the inspiration behind the business name?
Kenneth: Kottura is Chamorro for culture and part of what we do is take local legends and stories and make them part of the digital world. We have three sons and we see the way they interact with technology … we took notice of that. Whether it’s augmented reality or digital storytelling, we utilize these different platforms to preserve our culture.
What are the different services your company provides?
Angela: Consulting, creating both traditional and digital marketing strategies, digital publishing and the development of cultural projects through augmented reality, audio production, multimedia production and interactive art. We also work with local non-profits to help turn their research into e-books. We recently collaborated with the Ayuda Foundation on an e-book that’s available for free on kindle and ibook called “22 Historical Facts About the Ancient Chamorro Village of Likteyan.”
How many employees do you currently have?
Angela: Kottura Innovations is just Kenneth and I, but the number of people working with us changes based on the project. We do a lot of things in house but if there’s a need for graphic design or a service we don’t provide then we outsource that.”
Kenneth: We find local artists by looking at their work online. It helps streamline the process as there are a lot of elements that go into a project and we like to have creative input from both parties so doing that allows us to find the perfect fit.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced since you started your business?
Angela: Probably the biggest challenge is that Guam has been slow to adapt to some of the things we do, like augmented reality. The user experience is something we’re big on, so we’ve produced several 15 to 30 seconds videos that we present at our trade shows that have been a big help. We’ve also started to print instructions on the back of physical products.
What’s the best part about being in this type of business?
Angela: I think the best part about being in this business is the fact that there are no boundaries visually. Originally, we were going to name the business Kottura Mobile, but in using “Innovation” the world is ours. It’s a great way to look at the bigger picture and I’m glad we stayed true because the digital world is constantly changing. Our products aren’t just for kids, everyone learns differently, so we hope that our products help bridge learning abilities with creative styles.
What goals do you have for the company?
Kenneth: We have three main goals for the company — a one-year goal, a two-year goal and a five-year goal. By the end of the year our goal is to finish some of the internal projects we have, like Duendes friends. Our two-year goal is to be visual art delegates for Guam at FestPac 2020 in Hawaii. And in five years, we hope to branch out and expand throughout the region and work with people in the CNMI and other islands like Palau.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a business in this industry?
Kenneth: Start small, experiment often and network as much as possible.
Angela: Yes, networking is key. We didn’t know how far this would go … you are your biggest critic, but no matter what the idea is, someone out there will love it. Always keep an open mind.