In this episode, Derek Gallimore interviews Leticia Souza, Vice President of Finance at Uploan.ph. The company offers payday loans for salaried employees of its partner companies, especially BPOs.
Derek and Leticia discuss the environment in the financial technology and startup industries in the Philippines. They share insights on the industry’s work, venture capital (VC) for startups, and how they contribute to make the Philippines a globalized nation.
Leticia is the VP of Finance at Uploan, a financial services firm dedicated to “improve the lives of the modern Filipino employee.” She has a long experience in the FinTech sector and startup community in the Philippines.
Why people are finally looking at SEA (and the Philippines) for startups and opportunities
The startup culture is mainly focused on Silicon Valley and New York. However, it is not gradually spreading out across the globe, reaching emerging markets in Southeast Asia. According to Leticia, “there is more liquidity in Southeast Asia that comes from elsewhere,” which is “bigger than the liquidity that we have in America.” The region has this “very diverse type of liquidity sources.”
Leticia thinks that the West “is undergoing this discovery process of Southeast Asia as a potential next hot market.” Aside from Latin America and Africa, SEA has been the main focus of investors that were looking for returns right or huge assets to invest.
The Philippines, specifically, provides more advantages to startups and the fintech community. Leticia mentioned the following factors that make the Philippines “an even more special case.”
- The Philippines is an English-speaking country.
- The country has the same cultural aspects to the West. they have unity in terms of religion and culture.
- The Philippines’ financial services segment is “extremely well-supported by regulatory bodies that are also aligned to bring the Philippines to the next level in order to receive more funding from international investors.”
- The central bank is composed of “super progressive type[s] of individuals.”
- The country has a fast growing young population.
“I am extremely satisfied and even amazed by the quality of the workforce here,” said Leticia.
Globalizing the talent pool
The Uploan Finance VP wants “the Philippines to be top of mind when I’m talking to venture capital investors or alternative lenders.” She said she wants them to “think about the Philippines as a country that has a very high skilled type of workforce.” She thinks that the whole startup and FinTech ecosystem can provide a very, very promising future for the Philippines.
In the future, Leticia predicts that there’s going to be a blend between remote work and face to face work. There will be no misconception that remote work doesn’t work anymore.
The Philippines has a massive market of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) exports, which are made of “very strong and qualified workforce.” By globalizing the talent pool, these talents are going to have the opportunity to stay in because they’re going to be able to tackle the same opportunities that the world is offering.
Leticia thinks that the workforce will gain the opportunity to not move abroad, but the ability to “develop the country to build wealth in the progressive skill set by just exporting best practices from first world countries.”
How Uploan benefits the consumer
Uploan is a salary loans provider. It can be both a B2B and B2C firm, because their client is the employer while their customer is the employee. Uploan applies technology to make the underwriting process more efficient, to help employees get loans with better interest rates.
Salary loans, or monetary loans that borrowers will pay when they receive their next paycheck, is a pretty regular occurrence in the country. Uploan helps eliminate the awkward employer-employee conversations about this by providing a full solution for both parties.
Further, the salary loans provider also offers training, webinars, articles, and tips for employees to know how to build a budget and manage finances for emergencies. Basically, what Uploan is trying to solve is to create these fair access to credit to people that have a good credit history, but for the lack of ability of traditional players.
To learn more about Leticia and Uploan, feel free to visit their website at https://uploan.ph/