PH Dealbook: BPI taps Storm Benefits’ platform; Rebit in pact with MFI Cebuana Lhuillier

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Storm Benefits president and CEO Peter Cauton, and Bank of the Philippine Islands senior vice-president and head of human resources Randy Maranan.
Storm Benefits president and CEO Peter Cauton, and Bank of the Philippine Islands senior vice-president and head of human resources Randy Maranan.

Philippine startups Storm Benefits Inc and Rebit.ph have signed partnerships with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) , and microfinance giant Cebuana Lhuillier, respectively.

BPI taps Storm for Flexben platform

Wanting to further boost employee retention and productivity, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has partnered with local tech startup Storm Benefits, a unit of mobile content provider Xurpas Inc.

Florendo Maranan, senior vice president and head of human resources at BPI, said the partnership with Storm is aligned with the employee engagement initiatives of the bank which employs about 15,000 executives, professionals, specialists, and management trainees across the country.

Storm’s proprietary platform called Flexben (flexible benefits) runs similar to an e-marketplace, where individuals can purchase products using Flex points. These points can be used within the system like any other currency and they only come from unused company benefits such as sick or vacation leaves.

Maranan, whose responsibility is to keep all 15,000 employees motivated and productive, revealed about 66 per cent of BPI employees now are millennials or individuals aged 18 to 34. They are considered digital natives, socially-connected people, who believe in the power of choice.

Also read: Xurpas-backed PH startup Storm Benefits to kick off SE Asia expansion with Indonesia

“In BPI we nurture a culture of performance and we believe that key to this is recognizing the needs of our ever-evolving workforce. We pursue programs that enable and inspire our people. This partnership with Storm is one of those,” Maranan said.

Storm Benefits president and CEO Peter Cauton labeled traditional benefits in companies as “a waste” and the company’s mission is to change this.

“When you transfer from one company to another, the benefits are usually the same, you don’t even have to ask. But it’s a waste,” Cauton said. “Research says that our country spends as much as $2 billion on benefits that don’t really make us an employee of choice or rise above the rest of the field because we’re always offered the same things. That’s something we want to change.”

Cauton founded Storm in 2013 and the company now has over 100,000 people enrolled in its platform from industries such as financial services, IT and BPO, communications, and real estate.

Storm raised up to $4 million (P190 million) last February as Xurpas bought a 51 per cent controlling stake in the company. Storm is now using the investments as drypowder for both domestic and regional expansion.

Cauton disclosed last September that their first overseas venture will be in Indonesia, seeing its massive manufacturing workforce as a prime market for Storm’s system.

He said Storm has been laying the groundwork for an Indonesia-based entity that it soon plans to operate.

Also read: BPI to buyout Ayala, Globe’s stake in mobile-based savings bank BanKO

Also read: BPI, GPN form JV for merchant acquiring biz

Rebit, Cebuana Lhuillier sign pact

Rebit.ph, the pioneer of “rebittance” service in the Philippines or remittances powered by the digital currency Bitcoin, has signed a technology partnership and integration with local microfinancial giant Cebuana Lhuillier.

The new association aims to win new users through faster money transfer service and by providing a wide variety of payout solutions.

Rebit is the flagship service of financial technology (fintech) startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), the largest bitcoin service provider in the Philippines, while Cebuana Lhuillier is the country’s leading and largest non-bank financial services provider specializing in pawning, remittance, and microinsurance.

Also read: PH startup Rebit partners US mobile money app ZipZap

“Our company partnering with Cebuana Lhuillier will improve Rebit’s services with real-time payouts at numerous locations all over the Philippines,” says Rebit CEO John Bailon, noting that in 2010 Cebuana branches hit the 1,500 mark, making it very accessible for everyone to do their transactions.

“Most are quite aware that The Philippines has the third highest inwards remittances worldwide. This economic value can’t be too hard to ignore thus Rebit paves its way by finding ways to make all rebittances accessible and easier for everyone,” Bailon added.

Only last month, Rebit partnered with California-based global transaction network and mobile money transfer app ZipZap in a bid to capture the $2 billion Canada-to-Philippines remittance market.

Also read:

PH startup Rebit partners US mobile money app ZipZap

Fintech will lead PH to a new digital payments landscape: John Bailon, Satoshi Citadel

Bitcoin group seeks legal framework for cryptocurrency in Philippines

PH venture builder Incubix Tech partners fintech startup VMoney