Filipino – Founded Startups: Denarii Cash, Acudeen and Beamandgo
Established Since: 2017
Founder: Jon Edward Santillan
A money transfer application based in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Denarii Cash enables overseas workers to send money home with absolutely zero fees, and the best exchange rates. Starting with the OFW community in the Gulf, Denarii will soon be providing their services to Indians, Pakistanis, and other nationalities. As an overseas worker, you can download the app and buy credits through ATMs, vouchers, or kiosks. Once the credits are in your account, one can select where to send it to from Denarii’s 10,000 cashpoint partners and major banks in the Philippines and other countries. Upon transfer, both the sender and receiver will receive an SMS once the money is ready for collection.
As a migrant worker, Jon recognizes the importance of every cent that one earns – and it was from this reality that Denarii was born: “The money we earn is the money that eventually ends up sustaining our relatives back home. Since there are limited remittance options for migrant workers, I felt there was a strong need to help overseas workers send their hard-earned money home with zero fees. Given my expertise in the tech and FinTech industry, I think my ultimate aspiration for founding Denarii Cash is to help them do just that.”
Since completing the MISK 500 program in Riyadh (a startup accelerator), in 2018, Denarii Cash remitted over 500K USD, and the company is growing by 400% on a month over month basis. Besides also being backed by prominent FinTech investors from the US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, Denarii has gained even more distinction after taking home first place at the 4th Dubai Smartpreneur Competition (organized by the Dubai Chamber where more than 1000+ applications were screened). The startup was also accepted at the Muhammad Bin Rashid Initiative Fund in the UAE, organized by the Ministry of Finance in Dubai.
Established Since: 2017
Founder: Magellan Fetalino
For the longest time, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been facing financial issues without many options to turn to for support. Besides being a secondary priority for many financial institutions, SMEs are often left waiting indefinitely for receivables – and this immensely hinders what they can do to move forward as a company. Dedicating all their efforts to support SMEs, Acudeen has developed technology that renders the financing of alternative assets like receivables more accessible to businesses that need it: “Through us, SMEs no longer need to wait 30-150 days for their receivables to mature before they get paid. They can liquidate these receivables within 3-5 days. What the technology brings to the table is the speed of delivery (of funds) and bridging of trust (automated backroom for risk assessment) with formal funders,” says Founder and CEO Magellan Fetalino.
Magellan took up a B.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Santo Tomas, and Digital Public Relations under Ateneo De Manila University’s PRSP IIDM Program. He is a graduate founder of Founder Institute and is currently taking up his Masters at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. Magellan also completed a business program at the Alibaba Business School. As a founder, he brings a lot of technical expertise to the table – evident from the projects he has been a part of. He is a partner of Original Pitch Venture Capital, a member of the Board of Trustees of Fintech Alliance Philippines, a Board Director of the Philippine Association for Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industries, a Board Director of Kyopay Technologies in Myanmar, and President of The Global Filipino Investors.
Understanding and acknowledging the financial struggles SMEs frequently encounter, Magellan ultimately aspires to help fellow business owners feel more secure concerning the future of their companies: “When it comes to access to finance, financial institutions are very liquid – there’s a lot of money to lend. But with years of bad experiences with small and medium enterprises, it became challenging for banks to trust SMEs. This is the reality that our SMEs are facing today. Fortunately, with the new laws, the new initiatives, and the innovations that we have today, one can only wish to finally give an ordinary entrepreneur or proprietor an alternative and more accessible financing to look forward to in the years to come.”
Acudeen has been providing services since 2017. In their first year of operation, the business closed 100M PHP worth of invoices, and then 500M PHP the following year in 2018. Of this, Magellan attests: “This year, we believe that our ambition of Project 5B PHP of SME invoices can be achieved. Today, the market has been primed on how receivable discounting works, and easily understands how to utilize us for their businesses. From a push strategy in 2017, we are now reaping the pull effects.” To date, Acudeen is serving more than 1400 SMEs that have registered to sell receivables.
Established Since: 2015
Founders: Mariliese Tan, Jonathan E. Chua, and Albert Christian Go
BeamAndGo is a payment and digital marketplace that provides OFWs with an alternative form of remittance that is convenient, transparent, and sustainable. Usually, money sent back home is used to fund the costs for food, bills, education, or medicine. However, an unfortunate reality is that the OFW’s beneficiaries can sometimes misuse it. For instance, since remittances mainly come in the form of cash, people can take advantage of this by not spending it wisely. With BeamAndGo, all of this is prevented. An OFW, for example, can purchase a digital supermarket gift certificate that will then be sent to loved ones back home. These digital gift certificates can then be availed of immediately at participating stores. One can even pay for insurance, healthcare, airtime load, and other utilities and useful services via the platform.
The startup was co-founded by CEO Jonathan E. Chua, Senior VP Albert Christian GO, and Mariliese Tan. Back in 2013, acquainted with the issues OFWs collectively face with remittances, Mariliese came up with the idea for BeamAndGo. Coming from the corporate world, she partnered with Jonathan and Albert to help solve this issue that plagues many households across the Philippines. Jonathan has over twenty-five years of experience as a business leader, technologist, and investor and has been involved in the architecting of next-generation software solutions for a diverse range of companies. Albert brings 12 years of experience in the line of financial technology, corporate communications, and consumer marketing to the table. Together, they have built a successful business that has gained recognition from the likes of Forbes Asia, Bloomberg Asia TV, The Straits Times, CNN Philippines, and Bloomberg Philippines.
As of today, BeamAndGo has over 180,000 registered users internationally – primarily in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Middle East – and partners with numerous brands in the Philippines that all implement their services – 800 supermarket branches, 800 pharmacy branches, 2000 petrol stations, and 2500 convenience stores. The platform even offers door-to-door packages, Jollibee packages, home appliances, and mobile load, and has affiliations with digital wallets, cash pickups, and payment kiosks around the world.
BeamAndGo’s ultimate aspiration lies in helping OFWs support their families wherever they may be in the world. They too aim to reduce the number of years a migrant worker needs to be away from their home. “This can be achieved by providing migrant workers with the tools to control their remittances, access to ethical loans, and a way to save money and earn interest. Basically, move them from being unbanked to being banked,” the founders share.
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