MANILA – After raising $1.6 million dollars in seed funding, Philippine e-commerce services provider Etaily said it believes the country can become a major hub for digital commerce in Southeast Asia.
Alexander Friedhoff, co-founder and chief executive officer of Etaily said, they expect the Philippine e-commerce sector to surpass its expected $12 billion size by 2025 as the health crisis accelerated the digital transformation of the country.
Friedhoff cited estimates from a study earlier released by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co.
"Here's one clear big advantage, talking about the global eyes, Philippines has a very very good set of skills regarding the language," Friedhoff said.
Ayala Ventures, Foxmont Capital Partners, and Magsaysay Shipping & Logistics led the investors who supported Etaily, and were joined by Boston Consulting Group’s managing director Anthony Oundjian.
Franco Varona, managing partner at Foxmont Capital Partners said the Philippine e-commerce sector is poised to finally keep up with its Southeast Asian peers.
"The Philippines, as a market alone, can be very competitive with the rest of the region. You could basically just focus here with our 112 million citizens that are all becoming digital quite fast," Varona said.
After foreign venture capital funds concentrated in markets like Indonesia in the region, Singaporean investors have begun looking elsewhere for growth, he said.
"That actually means that the Singaporeans are sitting in Singapore with a lot of capital to deploy that are looking at other different places that they can do it outside of Indonesia," Varona explained.
"And this is where, I think, really that the Philippines becomes extremely interesting."
He said Etaily was able to help an upstart company that opened in April 2020 and is now able to move P20 million worth of goods per month.
"Once more and more notice that, we will then be on the same path as Indonesia 10 years ago and we'll catch up much faster," Varona said.
As for Jesse Maxwell, president and CEO of Magsaysay Shipping & Logistics, while the Philippines' limited manufacturing sector is stopping it from playing a large role in the regional supply-chain like China, the country's demographics is still providing good opportunities.
"We do have a huge Filipino diaspora around the world right there, at least 10 million people, and we do have some manufacturing capability," Maxwell noted.
"I think what e-commerce and cross-border for e-commerce and the supply chains now and being able to reach consumers anywhere in the world is allowing for SMEs in the Philippines that can reach new markets from an exports point of view," he added.
Etaily was founded in 2020, offering e-commerce solutions like building, managing, and growing digital platforms for both established and new retailers.
Among its clients are department store operator Landmark and other fashion and lifestyle brands.