Philippine tech startup Storm Benefits Inc has said it is expanding into Southeast Asia as it began groundwork for an Indonesia-based entity that it soon plans to operate.
A pioneer developer of a proprietary platform that enables an employee to avail of flexible benefits, Storm Benefits raised up to $4 million (P190 million) in its recent deal with local listed startup Xurpas Inc, which acquired a 51 per cent controlling stake in the company. Storm Benefits is now using the investments as drypowder (or reserves to meet future needs) for both domestic and regional expansion.
The success of its FlexBen platform in the Philippines has driven Storm Benefits to branch out into Indonesia. Only last August, the company set up a local hub in Cebu City.
“The working population of Indonesia is bigger than the whole population of the Philippines. We see its massive manufacturing workforce as a prime market for our system,” said Storm Benefits CEO Peter Cauton.
Storm Benefits’ platform gives customer employees the option to convert unused sick or vacation leaves into “Flexpoints” that can then be used to purchase various items ranging from gadgets, investments, and services from partners and retailers who are part of the programme.
Cauton noted FlexBen has grown to become an effective way for companies to incentivise and engage employees.
“The introduction of a flexible benefits programme helps attract great talent, improves retention rates, and increases personnel motivation,” Cauton said.
Unlike the Philippines, however, Indonesia brings a new challenge to Storm Benefits which is the language barrier, as it requires
that they set up the platform in Bahasa, which is Indonesia’s national dialect.
“Similar to what we already offer in the Philippines, we want to provide the Indonesian market with flexible benefits that answer their varying lifestyles,” Cauton said. “Ultimately, the benefit goes directly back to the employees, as they are given the option to tailorfit their rewards to their needs.”
Founded two years ago, Storm Benefits’ employee clients in the Philippines have surpassed 15,000 who are mostly from local leading conglomerates, BPOs, and fast-moving consumer goods or FMCG companies both in Manila and Metro Cebu.