Ronald Magleo helped establish an information technology company in 2005, just three years after graduating with a degree in Entrepreneurship from De La Salle University in Manila. German payment services provider Wirecard acquired the local company in 2007 and Magleo found himself working for the company as an ordinary employee.
Being an employee, however, gave him a new perspective and equipped him with skills necessary to learn the business, he says. “For three years, I went back to being an employee for the German company and learned the ins/outs of the online payments business,” says Magleo, now a 33-year-old father.
“In [May] 2010, when the German company moved their regional office to Singapore, I, together with key technical co-founders formed Paynamics,” says Magleo, who became the chairman and chief executive officer of the new online payment service provider Paynamics Technologies Inc..
All in family
From Wirecard, he brought along his mother Esther Magleo, who became the chief financial officer of Paynamics and his wife Mylene who is now the chief operating officer.
“We have bootstrapped the company using our own savings. Having acquired the knowledge from our previous company, we saw a very good opportunity to establish a payments company here in the Philippines. We built a software-as-a-service payment gateway that enables SME and large enterprises to create secure payment applications using our technology,” he says.
Paynamics had a seed funding of $100,000, he says.
Magleo, despite being the CEO, still looks up to his mother. “We are three in the family and were raised single-handedly by my mom, as my dad passed away when I was four. My mom is currently our CFO and is very much involved in our business and other businesses. She is also active in other civic and spiritual pursuits,” he says.
Paynamics is a payment service provider and software development company based in Makati City. The company is a niche player in electronic commerce, providing services that can complement bank services.
It offers effective online payment gateway, fraud gateway, recurring payment, domestic and international merchant account, email billing, virtual terminal, closed loop and alternative payments, automated payout solution (disbursement gateway) and customized e-commerce solutions for small and medium enterprises as well as large companies.
Among the customers of Paynamics are online retail merchants, hotels, resorts, travel agencies, digital good merchants, banks and insurance companies.
“In the next three years, we are also targeting the following industries that will go online: real estate and property management, utility companies, local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations and schools,” says Magleo.
“We are targeting schools and universities that need to collect online to process tuition fees and other miscellaneous payments,” he says.
Magleo was born in Mandaluyong City and studied at DLSU Taft, where he received the best thesis award. After graduating from the university, he handled direct selling for an IT company. When that company went bankrupt, he dabbled in other businesses such as restaurant and Internet café, both of which triggered his interest in online payment system.
“Among these business ventures, I remained curious about e-commerce and specifically online payment processing,” he says.
“I got inspired on the idea of e-commerce and how the Internet is changing businesses around the world. What attracted me to Paynamics is the idea and opportunity to create a local payments company in the Philippines that can eventually compete and be successful globally,” he says.
Magleo says since 2010, Paynamics has been growing fast, rolling out new updates to existing products. “We started with six employees. We are now 18 employees and we are projecting to be at least 25 people by yearend,” he says.
“We are looking to grow our presence to other key Philippine cities by partnering with software developers or vendors,” he says.
Magleo says the plan is to make Paynamics the most trusted online payment provider in the Philippines in five years. “After we grow locally, we plan to become regional payments player in Asean,” he says.
To achieve the target, he says the company focuses on hiring great software developers and engineers. To minimize the operation expenditures, “we try to outsource a lot of our infrastructure requirements.”
Magleo says he was born to become an entrepreneur. “When I took the entrance exams, I got accepted to two schools. First, was DLSU in which I got accepted to their Entrepreneurship course and the other was in UST where I got accepted to their Medical Technology course,” he says.
“In making a career choice, I carefully assessed my character and habits and see what would be my best fit. I went to entrepreneurship because I was inspired with the idea of creating jobs locally and the exponential opportunity to create wealth not just for you but for other people working for you,” he says.
Magleo says his desire to learn new things also help him become a better manager. “A voracious reader, I go through the Internet and get updates in various fields of businesses. I love to solve other people’s problems. I love our country and I think Filipinos should not be known as OFW, but innovators on their own right,” he says.
As a technopreneur, Magleo says there are challenges along the way. “The Philippines is still at its infancy stage with regards to online payments, so finding local customers with a sizable payments volume is tough,” he says.
“The bigger merchants would always want to deal directly with banks so we positioned ourselves as niche player and provided other services that can complement the bank’s offering,” he says.
As chief executive, Magleo says he would like to lead by example. “You can never influence and earn the respect of other people if you cannot go down to the trenches with your fellow co-workers,” he says.
He recommends the first principle approach. “I like to study and analyze our business and our product offer and materially break it down to its cost. After understanding the cost centers, our team creates a product that provides good value to our customers,” he says.
Magleo says the company’s best assets are its people. “Other companies are product focus driven and continuously improve it at the expense of neglecting the people who is building the product. As a CEO, I’m always keen on my co-workers productivity output and provide them with the best resources to achieve their maximum productivity and potential,” he says.
Magleo says the fact that the company is nearing five years and employing more than a dozen of people is his greatest accomplishment so far.
Another milestone is when Beenos Inc., a Tokyo-based global Internet and e-commerce business incubator group founded by Teruhide Sato, a serial entrepreneur and Internet business expert, supported Paynamics.
The funding will be used for product development and onboarding more merchants. This marked Paynamic’s first fund raising from external investor.
“Being part of Beenos family is another major milestone. I am extremely grateful for the trust and support that they have provided our company, and by being together, I believe we can create mutually long-term value for the Philippines and Asean business in e-payment. In the near future, we are looking to grow and become a solid payments player in the Philippines then eventually in the Asean level,” he says.
Magleo says his optimism is supported by what is happening in the Philippines and the continuous e-commerce growth on certain verticals such as online retail, transportation and travel.
“I believe in the next five years, Filipinos will shift their spending slowly from brick and mortar purchase and go online,” he says.
“We are currently in a growth momentum. Having closed some good local accounts last year, we are confident that we will be an integral part of these companies when they shift their business to the online payments channel,” says Magleo.
“In the next five to 10 years, we are seeing that we can grow our business and our valuation up to 50 times fold. We have exciting products to come that may become a catalyst for local companies to shift to e-payment channels,” he says. — Roderick T. dela Cruz