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The Philippines last year was the fastest-growing digital economy in Southeast Asia: we went from worth $9 billion to $17 billion by the end of the year, and is expected to be worth ~$50 billion by 2025. The pandemic, as we all experienced, pushed people into embracing digital.
But what about the micro-entrepreneurs running the “sari-sari” stores — the neighborhood stores that are the lifeblood of communities across the country — are they being left behind?
B2B Sari-Sari Store Super App
Meet Packworks, a Philippine tech startup focused on helping micro-entrepreneurs, i.e. sari-sari store owners, digitize their operations -- processing customer orders, keeping track of transactions, managing store inventory, and even facilitating customer deliveries.
Listen to serial entrepreneurs and founders Ibba Rasul-Bernardo, Bing Tan, and Hubert Yap share their stories, the lessons, and insights gained from years of engaging micro-entrepreneurs running sari-sari-stores.
These founders recently launched their mobile enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform for sari-sari store owners after successfully closing a seed capital raise worth US$2 million from investors led by logistics group Fast Group and CVC Capital Partners, with participation from ADB Ventures, Arise, Techstars, and IdeaSpace Foundation.
Founders Hubert Yap, Bing Tan, and Ibba Bernardo came up with the idea of helping micro-entrepreneurs some years ago during a cross-country motorcycle journey to bring solar panels to isolated and off-grid communities.
Witnessing firsthand the challenges sari-sari store deal with due to limited access, especially in far-flung places, they promised to share their technical know-how and inspire them to shift from analog processes to using accessible and scalable technology solutions.
In the process, founders Bing Tan, Ibba Bernardo, and Hubert Yap were able to gain the trust of these sari-sari store owners, truly understood them — their loves, their hates, and their dreams for the future.
Packworks as a platform is infused with these people, and is dedicated to helping them understand their full potential.
So: join Raid The Fridge for the information, zoom in for the inspiration!
BING TAN | Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Bing has been in the tech industry for twenty years, and has always been curious about digital inclusion for everyone. He’s used his connections in the space to form strong friendships and even stronger startups. As soon as he left college, he started working in his own company, knowing in his heart that he wanted to march to the beat of his own drum.
“A hundred million people are trying to make ends meet during a pandemic -- how can you not help them?”
HUBERT YAP | Chief Platform Officer and Co-Founder
Hubert’s time spent in the retail space means that he understands the gaps between the national providers and local distributors. He knows how important digital transformation will be for the Philippines and wants to democratize software to help everyone.
“I want to help the Philippines grow. I want to help inspire, whether that’s sari sari store owners dreaming of a future for their kids, or startup entrepreneurs dreaming of a future for the Philippines."
IBBA RASUL-BERNARDO | Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder
Ibba Bernado has worked with sari sari stores for years, however always ran into problems getting either the users to gel with the technology, or with the timeline for the projects. Instead, he decided to go straight to the heart of the communities, and went to the stores themselves.
“You just need to dream. Dream of something more. Dream of something better.”
Kickstart Ventures is the wholly-owned corporate venture capital firm of Globe Telecom, the Philippines’ leading mobile operator. Kickstart invests in early- to early-growth stage tech startups glo...Join community