Success in the Digital World is for Every Juan
Published November 10, 2017 by Rush Hour
When people talk about success stories of digital companies, people generally speak about companies from the United States. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, among others, have utilized technology to grow at a swift pace. Google is now a verb, Google is not merely a search engine, it has become search. Facebook already has a movie about its inception. Uber is not even 10 years old. It was founded in March 2009, but has quickly transformed transportation across the globe.
The mentioned companies have already made a huge mark in the Philippines. Other multinational tech companies such as Lazada, Zalora, and Grab have also enjoyed success in the country. Nonetheless, local companies have also been able to utilize technology to achieve massive growth in a short amount of time.
Here are four examples:
Sulit.com.ph, now OLX Philippines
Sulit.com.ph was an extremely popular website in it’s heyday. The company was started with only P2,400 in capital by husband and wife RJ and Arianne David in 2006. What started as a project out of their passion for programming and web development has turned into one of the biggest tech companies in the Philippines.
In 2014, OLX, an international marketplace or online exchange owned by South Africa internet and media group Naspers, merged with Sulit.com.ph to become OLX.ph. From a team of two in 2006, which quickly grew to five, the team has grown to 120 individuals in Manila and Cebu offices.
Now OLX.ph, gets around 20 million visitors per month, facilities thousands of exchanges, and is home to nearly 500,000 product listings.
In 2007, Tomohisa Kato went to the Philippines and saw great potential in Filipinos to teach English. He noticed that not only were Filipinos proficient in English, but he found that they were also very hospitable. These two factors led him to found RareJob, an online English school based in Japan and the Philippines, in 2007.
Fueled by word-of-mouth and a robust digital presence. By 2009, RareJob had reached 1,000 active tutors. By 2011, the figure had reached 2,000, and by 2014, the figure had reached 3,000. Not only that, it’s Japanese counterpart was also listed in the Mothers Tokyo Stock Exchange in the same year, thanks in large part to the efforts from the Philippine side.
Now RareJob PH is still continuously growing, getting around 500 thousand visitors per month. RareJob has conducted more than 15 million lessons and has had over 15,000 tutors.
The general public may not know about Xurpas, as it is primarily a B2B (Business-to-Business) company. But it has become one of the largest tech companies, not only in the Philippines but in South East Asia. The founder of Xurpas, Nix Nolledo, began his foray into tech by establishing Pinoyexchange.com. Eventually, Pinoyexchange was integrated into the Ayala group’s tech arm, i-Ayala.
Seeing the rise of mobile, Nolledo left i-Ayala to establish Xurpas in 2001 with an initial investment of only P62500. Xurpas has succeeded as a creator of mobile consumer content and services. In 2014, the company was listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Xurpas was listed fifth in Forbes list of the Philippines’ leading startups in 2016 with a gross revenue of P331.8 million in 2014.
Rappler came to fruition when two friends having drinks, asked: “how will journalism change?”. All it took was that spark to launch what is now, the 11th most visited website in the Philippines. Once the ball got rolling, a team of powerhouse journalists set out to create the change they wanted to see in journalism. They had built a platform that, not only shared news, but let citizens participate.
Since its launch in 2011, it only took Rappler less than six years to become one of the most visited sites in the Philippines and to establish itself as a major news source in the country. Rappler now gets more than 10 million visitors per month. One of the factors that has led to its growth is their strong social media efforts which tie in to their goal of citizen participation.
Business growth in the digital world can be achieved by Filipinos. It is not only for foreign or large companies, as these cases show. Companies of two have grown to hundreds of people. Initial investments of thousands of pesos to hundreds of millions in annual revenue. Small, simple ideas have turned into institutions.
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