PH startup Partyphile plans SEA expansion backed by 500 Startups

Visual from the company website. September 2015

Tech startup Partyphile, creator of the first night-life app in the Philippines, is gearing to expand to Southeast Asia, after raising an undisclosed amount of seed fund in its second fund raising led by Silicon Valley-based accelerator 500 Startups.

Formerly Guestlist.ph, Partyphile’s first pitch last year was actually thumbed down by 500 Startups but a major spike in number of users and revenue, finally convinced the startup accelerator to invest in the party discovery app, said Partyphile founder Ron Baetiong in an interview with DEALSTREETASIA.

Since its official transition as Partyphile last March, the startup’s app immediately received 17,000 downloads in only two weeks, and maintained high retention rates and purchases on the app.

“The first time we pitched 500 Startups last year, they declined to come in because we were still in a transition from Guestlist.ph to Partyphile and we have yet to prove that Partyphile will be as big as what we said it was,” Baetiong said. “When we launched Partyphile at March 15 this year, we became Number 2 overall in the lifestyle section of the App Store and the Number 1 top new free app in the lifestyle category of the App Store. We also made tons of revenue and when we showed this to 500 Startups, they were impressed and they decided to come in.”

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Baetiong’s goal since the startup’s inception two years ago was to make partying easy, automated, and hassle-free by enabling users to discover and get access to the best nightlife events in Manila via its mobile app.

Partyphile now has 85,000 number of users and has received 35,000 of downloads from both Android and iOS.

The Partyphile app’s latest features now also allows users without credit cards to buy their in-app products like table reservations, tickets and VIP memberships using carrier billing.

Baetiong explained what they have validated in emerging markets like the Philippines is that only 5 per cent of the population has credit cards, and the next best currency for people to use aside from cash is their cellphone load or postpaid bill.

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“We’ll be expanding all over the Philippines by the year’s end and we’ll be expanding in the SEA region by first quarter of next year,” Baetiong said.

500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng expressed confidence that Partyphile has a high chance of growing its business in the region with the latter’s young populace.

“Southeast Asia’s urban population and middle class is growing, many of these are younger people. With new disposable income, what will they be spending on? A lot of that will continue to drive Partyphile’s growth and expansion throughout the region,” Ng said.

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Baetiong noted Partyphile also have a partnership with local mobile operator Globe Telecom to collaborate with all the big events in the go-to app.

“When we started Partyphile this year we only had a team of four, now we’re a team of 15. We also have a presence in Cebu already and we’re moving closer to a nationwide presence by the year’s end,” he said.

Although unique in the Philippines, Baetiong said there are other companies in Asia with the same business model but claims Partyphile has become more bigger.

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“In the Philippines, we’re the only one as of the moment. In Asia, we have competitors like Nox, Qlubber, Sindhen and Instabounce but we’re all bigger than them,” Baetiong said. “We have more upcoming features in store for all partygoers and we are very excited to launch them this year.”

Aside from 500 Startups, Partyphile also raised additional seed funding from DOT Entertainment, AppVenture, and angel investors Lance Garcia and Kenneth Tiu.

Founded by PayPal and Google, 500 Startups has been investing in fast growing Southeast Asian companies and has already led over 50 investments in the region including Grabtaxi, KFIT and Bukalapak, and also Filipino startups like mClinica, ZipMatch, Ayannah and PayrollHero.

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