How to Be a Successful Pinoy Start-up

You don’t have to be an employee forever. Start with an innovative idea and then build from there. These five start-up companies prove that you can start small and make it big. Their secrets to success? Click to find out.

by Redi Mendoza, 21 June 2017

Do you want to be your own boss but don’t have the capital to start? Do you have a big idea but don’t know how to sell it? These five innovative Filipino startups are bound to inspire you. Read on to find out how they made a mark in this very competitive environment, so that one day, you can, too.


Lesson No. 1: Think Global

Even if there are many hurdles in the local e-commerce industry, like low credit card adoption among Filipinos, Galleon (www.galleon.ph) has managed to position itself as an online shopping destination. It distinguished itself by offering products that are not available in the local market. By getting products from suppliers from different parts of the globe, they were able to cater to the changing tastes of the Filipino consumer. Bottom line: If you find a need in the local market, don’t be limited by local suppliers to fulfill that need.


Lesson No. 2: Look to Consumers to Fund Good Ideas

There’s no need to chase business moguls to get the funding you need. If you have an excellent idea, you can sell it directly to your future customers to make that business idea a reality. These days, crowdfunding is the way to go. Tactile (www.tactile.io) is the first Filipino company to get successfully funded in the popular crowdfunding site, Indiegogo. They were able to raise 109 percent of their target funding for their project, IQube. IQube is an electronic learning toy where you combine cubes with different functions to learn the basics of electronics. Tactile created a campaign around this product that targeted global consumers instead of just engaging potential investors in the Philippines.


Lesson No. 3: Do It Like a Rockstar

ORitmo Learning Lab (www.joomajam.com) is a technology startup focused on early child development. They published the Joomajam sing-along mobile app where children can learn about colors, reading, and numbers by singing along to kid-friendly music videos. What sets Joomajam apart from other educational applications is that the songs they produced were performed by popular OPM artists like The Dawn, Barbie Almalbis, and Jolina Magdangal. They were able to get users to download their application by using familiar personalities who are admired by the parents, who in turn, wanted to share their love of music with their kids. Like Ritmo, you, too, could find the unique feature of your product that would become its edge over other similar offerings in the market.


Lesson No. 4: Follow the Crowd

The Philippines has one of the highest usage of social media in terms of time spent per day. Rappler (www.rappler.com) was able to build their brand by delivering news that appealed to those on social media. By providing shareable content that is relevant to netizens, Rappler now has 3.3 million followers and has expanded its reach to Indonesia. They have also incorporated some features like the mood meter where readers can provide their reactions to the story they just read. This means of getting user feedback helps Rappler improve their editorial content.


Lesson No. 5: Don’t Be Scared to Start from Zero

Internet start-up Xurpas (www.xurpasgroup.com) was able to raise six billion pesos when they went public in 2014. The three founders of the technology solutions company became billionaires overnight. But Xurpas wasn’t built by business veterans. They were created by the trio when they were still in their 20s. They started operations in a garage with just PhP62,500 as starting capital. After the IPO, the group focused on expanding the business. So far, they’ve bought out other companies worth hundreds of millions of pesos in order to support their expansion plans.