The year 2019 saw the Innovative Startup Act passed into law after years of consultation from government leaders, industry experts and local businesses. With a vibrant ecosystem filled with budding companies and record-breaking fundraising rounds, the country is just about ripe for a breath of fresh air in terms of practices, businesses and flexibility. The number of startups from a mere 500 in 2017 has soared to more than double that amount after government initiatives such as Technology Business Incubators (TBI’s), startup programs, grants and funding opportunities pouring in from both the public and private sectors alike.
However, the fact remains that many sectors are still lagging behind in the Philippines. Business registration remains a cumbersome, time-consuming process, many owners do not know which permit/s they must obtain, and even the smallest things like facilitating payments becomes a burden for the average Filipino entrepreneur. Luckily, in a heavily service-reliant country like the Philippines, there are solutions available that are able to bridge these gaps for very little cost. For 2020, here are some of the Launchgarage staff’s picks for companies enabling businesses.
Digital payments have always been an issue in the Philippines because of the sheer number of unbanked and underserved individuals, even in Metro Manila. This has hampered businesses for the longest time from realizing their full potential as their consumers transacted on a cash-basis mostly. The past few years created a different narrative, with platforms like PayMaya and GCash as well as digital banking services like ING and CIMB on the rise. Magpie is a well-refined payment solutions service that allows merchants to interface with their clients with less hassle.
Founded by industry veteran Dominick Danao (who was also responsible for the creation of PinoyMail which was widely popular in the early 00's), now in its scaling stages as a full-scale enterprise company, Magpie.im still remains firmly on our list of powerhouse companies. Regarded as the swiss army knife of payments, their product offerings range from website pay buttons for easier checkouts and faster transaction turnover, a PayTerminal (App Store, Google Play) which allows you to charge or invoice your clients without ever having to come into physical contact with their cards, and Billy, an invoice management suite to facilitate payments on just about any device.
E-Commerce has seen strides in the Philippines as of late, which also indirectly increased the demand for a lot of logistics companies. From larger platforms like Shopee, Lazada and Zalora to individually owned online stores (single product and catalog-style) and powerful analytics tools provided by both Google Adsense and the Facebook Ads Manager, doing business online has never been easier. In fact, now more than ever, the problems that most e-commerce store owners face is more on the side of how they’ll manage their inventories and coordinate with their logistics partners to be able to scale up and serve more consumers.
Qarabao is a product suite that allows you to organize your products by sorting them into categories and variants, monitor the number of products you have left in real time, be notified whenever it’s time to restock, and identify your top-sellers. Through their robust order management platform, you are able to create and send order links to your customers, view new and pending orders in one glance and know which of your orders have already been paid or delivered. Their shipping management feature can automatically book orders, customize shipping fees and set default locations for your products to be picked up. Most importantly, their consumer analytics gives store owners insight on how they can improve their business, keep track of their revenues and optimize peak performance.
Speaking of e-commerce and the rise of demand for logistics services, Airship is a company that takes it up a notch. In an age where having data means everything in terms of having an edge against similar competitors in a fast-growing (and sometimes saturated) market, this company fits that bill to a tee.
Courier companies are a dime a dozen these days, but to scale it up, management platforms are almost always a necessity. Track your packages, bookings, riders, users, and clients. Airship takes your business to the next level. This CRM allows you to track packages, manage your riders and monitor cash flow and keep tabs on client remittances. On top of this, their API enables the creation of packages and pick up requests with your client’s e-commerce sites and platforms. Their services include creating a customized website with analytics, a client dashboard and a personalized mobile app to increase customer retention.
PayMongo is a proudly Filipino company that was able to raise a $2.7 million investment from the likes of Stripe, the Peter Thiel Fund and Y-Combinator (no small feat.) Their goal is to effectively become the largest payment service provider in the Philippines before they begin their conquest in other parts of SEA.
As detailed in other articles featuring this emerging juggernaut, PayMongo seeks to aid the central bank’s demand to raise the rate of cashless payments to 20%. The internet economy is everything but monetary to the Filipino population, and with the rise of a platform like theirs with more than reasonable rates, it might just be the answer that local merchants have been looking for as it has been very difficult to setup international payments due to gray area barriers and bureaucratic processes set by larger companies like PayPal and Stripe. The PayMongo model allows for you to have global reach, efficient payouts and a highly secured platform to manage your finances.