Why These 5 Startups Choose to Expand in the Philippines

Article by Drei Zamuco / Graphics by Clarence Abiera


In a culture where growth is rapid and systems are dynamic, startups strive to find the best places to make an impact. They look into vital factors such as market competition, feasibility, and human capital. You must be wondering, “Of all of the countries out there, why the Philippines?” They say the higher the risk, the higher the reward. These entrepreneurs see opportunities where most people find problems.

Penbrothers’s Business Mondays looks into the hows and whys of each startup company’s experience, both working with Penbrothers and operating in the Philippine startup industry. 5 startup representatives share their insights on business growth and expansion, and the reasons why they chose to scale in the Philippines.

Why These 5 Startups Choose to Expand in the Philippines


“The Philippines has a large market with a large number of retailers, which a lot are prime for upgraded technology. Not a lot of competitors made it an attractive market for us.”

Kerry Davis, Storehub’s Head of Operations, talks about how the startup took on the challenge to expand in a market bursting with other potential businesses and collaborators. His main observation was: since most retailers and store workers still use the traditional system (e.g. cash registers), they could really benefit from the efficiency of Storehub’s Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems. This technology allows faster, more effective shop operations. In the end, it’s all about coming up with creative solutions to make life easier.


Storehub is a provider of powerful POS systems in the convenience of a tablet. It centers on rapid process digitization and how it optimizes performance levels by increasing efficiency and cutting work time and human error.

Storehub Philippines

0956 568 3922

Facebook: StoreHub Philippines

Website: storehub.com

5 1

“The diversity present in Penbrothers aids in our building a collaborative environment and giving back that same value to other startups.”

Lisha Bornilla, Partnership Manager, describes how collaboration and connectivity is fostered in the Philippine startup community. Penbrothers brings together people from all walks of life—from graphic artists to engineers to data scientists and accountants. This diversity in human capital has helped Shopback in evaluating their products better, as well as improving their marketing strategies. It’s as simple as asking, “Hey, if you’re not busy, can you help us with something we’re working on?” Penbrothers promotes a culture of asking for feedback, making connections, and creating partnerships.


Shopback is a Singaporean-headed e-commerce startup that provides discount coupons and voucher codes for online shopping. This allows online shoppers to take a portion of their cash back when they purchase products through the service. Shopback is currently affiliated with over 1,300 retailers from all over the world, including online retail giants Zalora, Lazada, Shopee, and eBay.

Shopback Philippines


Facebook: Shopback Philippines

Website: shopback.ph

5 2

“Expanding to the Philippines has helped us scout for very qualified, talented manpower at a cost we can afford. The process had us yielding quicker results and faster operations since.”

Rui Rapazote, co-founder of UpTeam, tells us about why basing back office operations in the Philippines works wonders for this fledgling company. Because cost constraints are anticipated and very much common among startups, the Philippines became a natural choice for the company because they were able to scout for very qualified workers at an affordable cost.


UPTEAM is a vintage bag, apparel and accessory curator that supplies authentic, pre-owned items from the world’s most exclusive and luxurious brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Chanel to both online and offline shops across Europe, the Middle-East and Asia. 



Website: upteamco.com

5 3

“Seeing the eagerness of our students to learn inspires us as an education provider. The camaraderie fostered in the classroom aligns well with our vision and mission.”

Nienke Keizer and Derya Tanghe of NXTLVL Academy share their experiences as education providers in the Philippines. They emphasize on how dynamic and engaging the Filipino community is when it comes to learning. The natural interaction between instructor and student keeps communication between the two easy and free-flowing. NXTLVL Academy strives to bring something new to the table in the Philippine education industry, and because Filipinos are naturally interactive and sociable, the fun blends seamlessly with the learning.


NXTLVL Academy is an educational startup dedicated to support the tech community in Southeast Asia by training world class developers, data scientists and UI/UX designers through workshops, talks, and classes.

NXTLVL Academy


Facebook: NXTLVL Academy

Website: nxtlvlacademy.xyz

5 4

“The cost performance that the Philippines has to offer can’t be found just anywhere around the world; we have extremely good, talented people here at a reasonable cost, when compared to other developed nations.”

Gui Faria, co-founder of Penbrothers, stresses the relationship between failure and success, and how the former develops the latter. He highlighted that, given the constant challenges businesses are faced with, it is important for one to find its unique selling point. In order to grasp that unique value, companies must listen to the voices of their customers. Doing business in the Philippines has heightened their manpower without compromising cost nor quality. 


Penbrothers is a co-working space in the heart of Makati that offers an array of business solutions through talent management and manpower outsourcing.



Facebook: Penbrothers

Website: penbrothers.com