A Filipino Entrepreneur and engineer working in the high-tech industry. He was born in a small barrio of Malabbac in the town of Iguig, Cagayan, Philippines. A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron, Chips and Technologies, and S3 Graphics.
Banatao developed the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster. This invention has allowed computer users to use graphics for commands and not the usual typed commands in older computers. It has allowed data processing to be a little faster using very little space (small chips instead of large boards).
After college, he turned down a lot of job offers including an offer from Meralco after knowing the starting salary; He later pursued and applied in Philippine Airlines as a trainee pilot. However, he was pirated by Boeing and worked as design engineer for the company’s new commercial airliner and cargo transport aircraft, Boeing 747, in the United States. With the opportunity of staying in the United States, he then took his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Stanford University and finished in 1972 in order to enhance his craft.
After finishing his master’s degree, Banatao worked with different technology companies such as the National Semiconductor, Intersil, and Commodore International where he designed the first single chip, 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator. In 1981, he discovered and invented the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver chip while working in SEEQ Technology. He was also credited for the first system logic chip set for IBM’s PC-XT and the PC-AT; the local bus concept and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers.
In 1984, Banatao and his business partner Francis Siu, founded a high-technology company, Mostron, starting with a capital of half a million US dollars. Mostron was launched as a manufacturer of motherboards. They also have hired Ron Yara of Intel as the companies executive. After he developed a five-chip set, he co-founded Chips and Technologies in 1985. The company developed system logic chip set for IBM’s PC-XT and the PC-AT. In just for 4 months after the company was selling chip sets, the company earned a $12 million profit. In 22 months, the company went into public. In 1989, Banatao launched his third start-up company, S3 Graphics, with Yara in Santa Clara, California. S3 focused on enhancing the graphic capabilities in personal computers by using a graphic accelerator chip. The key to this was, Banatao’s invention of a local bus. The company had an initial public offering of $30 million. In 1996, the company became the leader of the graphic-chips market, beating a strong competitor, Cirrus Logic, Inc.. In the same year, Chips & Technologies was sold to Intel for about $300 million. In 2000, he decided to start-up his own venture capital firm named Tallwood Venture Capitalwith a capital of US$300 million, all of which came from his own pocket. In 2010, Banatao became Ikanos Communications’ CEO after Michael Gulett resigned as the company’s CEO and President.
Banatao and his family has been into civic works. In the Philippines, Banatao through his Dado Banatao Educational Foundation, awards every year five educational scholarships to intelligent Filipino students who have bright futures in the field of engineering and technology. Also, with Philippine Development Foundation which he chairs, are giving brilliant young Filipino minds to school, towards maximixing their potentials for the future of the Philippines. Banatao also through his Banatao Filipino American Fund assists Northern California high school students of Filipino heritage who are pursuing a college education in engineering. He also built a computer center at his grade school in his childhood town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley, making it the only public school with the most modern computer network in the Philippines.