The Local Startup Scene: Taking Risks, Finding the Right People, and Sharing Spaces

Words by Yann Magcamit (@alltheloveyann)

Are you the type of person who prefers to “think big”? Do you think you have a lot of unique ideas that no other company has? If so, you might want to consider developing a startup business!

To put it simply, startups are young and developing companies. They are baby businesses that offer products and services without a specific target audience in mind because most of them cater to a big market with accessibility and a wider reach. This is one of the reasons why most of them skyrocket faster after setting up.


Many people from startup companies actually say that the Philippines offers a good environment for this type of business. “The Philippines has a lot to offer. It’s a country where opportunities arise on a daily basis, especially within the tech and creative industry. We really like seeing more Filipinos break the traditional career flow and create ways for a better-developed tech and creative industry,” says Nina Keizer of NXTLVL Academy.

Rui Palhais adds, “Here, you lower the risk by staying in a country with 100 million people where language is not a barrier. The education is good and geographically, we are 4-5 hours away from Australia, Japan, China, etc.”


If you think a startup business is easy, though, you thought wrong. Just because they have a stronger chance of growing faster does not mean they skip the headaches and hardships that come with any other business.

Carolyn Asuncion of International Student Group shares: “The biggest problem I’ve faced is finding the right people to work with. I posted on a few jobs early on and people would do unprofessional things like not communicate in a timely manner. It’s not just an employee – employer; I even found this to be true with some agency relationships where I should have been treated as a client and they offered substandard service.”


Worry not, though. As a quote from a former CEO John Roos goes: “A successful entrepreneur can’t be afraid of failures or setbacks. An initial setback can be a great opportunity to take a new and more promising approach to any problem, to come back stronger than ever”. Setbacks are part of what makes great success stories – like these ones:

“One of the biggest milestones recently was getting funded. It would not have been possible had we not built the right people and IT integrations we established during the last 2.5 years. If the company was not based in the Philippines, it would have  been impossible to find such a cost-effective team and it would have delayed such milestones.” – Rafi Quisimbing of


“We were able to pull the largest citywide pocket senior high fairs across Metro Manila despite being understaffed and having a small timeframe to prepare. In partnership with local government units and their respective Department of Education representatives, we helped more than 30,000 students choose the right senior high track and discover education opportunities from various public and private senior high schools in their area.” – Henry Motte-Muñoz of

Considering to venture into the world of startup businesses? They’ve also got some tips for you!


Know your market.

“The key is: know your market very well, Build skill sets and don’t just rely on passion and having the right people in your team. For me, passion is inconsistent; but having the discipline and solid foundation of skills to enhancing it as an entrepreneur, you will survive any type of business,” says Kristina Ay-ay of Shopback.


Figure out what your business would need.

Ramon Berenguer of EngagedMedia advises: “Those looking to set up shop in the Philippines should just be sure to get a really solid internet service and if your business is like 90% of startups today (rely heavily on the internet). Make your Internet service a top priority or you’ll only get frustrated.”


Consider a shared office space.

“Our company appreciates working in a shared office because of the benefits it gave our business like affordable rent rate, efficient office maintenance and convenient office facilities.  The profitability of the business is high because our operating cost is managed and was kept on a minimum,” says Kathleen De Castro of Placement International.


If you do go for a shared office space, make sure to choose one that would fit your startup business perfectly.

Nina Keizer says that “as a community manager of NXTLVL Academy, the biggest perk is the social environment. Penbrothers is doing a great job. They organize all kinds of events so we can connect, have fun or/and work together”.

“The community grows through different internal and external events attended by co-workers of different companies coming together. Events such as First Friday Fun, a social event where employees let go of their work responsibilities and just have fun on the first Friday of the month. Events like these grow the community stronger into a social and professional network of companies thriving in the Philippines,” says Pavan Ramchand of Link-up.


Looking for a company to help you with your startup? Visit to know more!

Penbrothers: Manning & Payroll Solutions, Co-working Space, Makati

100 C Palanca St, Legazpi Village, Makati

0917 830 3606



Twitter / Instagram: @thepenbrothers


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