Today's Women in Tech Series 1 | Seek The Uniq

Today's Women in Tech Series 1

Angelique Uy, Lia Ramos and Arriane Serafico. 

The tech world is buzzing as ever with start-ups sprouting every minute and we'd like to think that women rock the boat as much as their male counterparts. After all, aren't we the masters of multi-tasking? We begin our Women in Tech series with some of our own brilliant minds who are changing the way businesses are ran and managed. Each #girlboss from very different backgrounds bank on their expertise in pursuit of their dreams of making the world more interesting, more beautiful and inspiring. 

Here are three ladies who are shaping the local tech market in their own respective fields. We asked them the most diverse questions from the challenges of being women entrepreneurs to describing their fashion sense (on video) because, well, girls will always be girls--- CEO or otherwise. 

 

Angelique Uy 

ZAP (www.zap.com.ph), Co-founder & A-LISTERS (www.alisters.com.ph), Co-founder

Shy and soft-spoken Jig doesn't seem like the average start-up founder at first glance. The petite chinita has a sweet way about her that's endearing and almost rare amongst the younger set these days. But before you write her off as timid, she starts talking about her passions: co-founding Zap, the #1 loyalty program with over 700,000 members and 750 partner establishments in Metro Manila. ZAP enables customers to earn reward points with just their mobile number, and provides merchants with a white-label loyalty solution that includes automated SMS re-marketing for non-returning customers. Her other baby is A-listers. "I started A-listers this year with the vision of bringing together all the Pinoy celebrity-owned brands and products in one online address, helping them grow their business by taking care of marketing, payment processing and shipping (worldwide!) -- and at the same time raise funds for Filipino charities in their name."                        

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry? The Philippines actually claims the top spot in the Asia- Pacific region for giving equal participation to both genders in building the economy (source: World Economic Forum (WEF)). Our company of 45, for example, is made up of 60% female, 40% male, and 100% winners. 😉
Speaking from experience, men might naturally take the limelight but women make their impact differently. Women may choose to stand in the shadows but we're around to put in the work to make a difference.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
It's tough to start a company by yourself--man or woman. And it's tough to get funding. Period. I'm actually lucky that I have co-founders. They happen to be men but I think the core reason of why we're still in business after 5 years is because of the team we've built and our dedication to a common goal--gender aside.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
Of course women-led companies are capable of scaling. Any company with the right team and product can sell their solutions to paying customers. I'm proud to say that our loyalty platform is being used across hundreds of stores from different industries in and out of the country.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
The one from Peter Thiel's commencement speech :
"You should, and I hope that you will, take time today to celebrate all that you’ve achieved so far."

In today's world that's full of fear and hatred, we need to spread gratitude and kindness. So I always remind myself to be thankful for being in this position to affect others positively and to be open to new learnings to take me to new heights.

Jig wears the Errachida crop top in red. Find similar jeans in That 70s Flow

Showing off that gym bod in the Bourvil jumpsuit. 

 

Lia Ramos 

Co-Founder and CEO of Glamourbox.ph

Former beauty queen Lia's foray into the beauty business is a natural progression. The tall morena with an infectious smile walks the talk, always so well put together from head to toe, complete with flawless skin and make-up. She is one of the nicest glamazons I've ever met, very easy to talk to and work with and nary a hint of snobbish air.  Glamourbox is official distributor to several cult brands in the most reasonable price points. Their selections are tightly curated and presented in such a way that isn't intimidating, even to the novice beauty junkie. "I oversee business development, e-commerce, client relations, creatives and overall strategy of the company." Beauty and brains, no?

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry?
I’m sure there is. There is lack of diversity in business and there are fewer women entrepreneurs than male ones in the tech space. I’m lucky to be exposed to the beauty and fashion segments of industry where there is some level of diversity. In some cases, it’s even predominantly women-led, like our company. It’s fun working with other like-minded women and seeing others thrive in the same space.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
It’s tough to get funding in general. We raised capital through friends and family plus personal money and we started small. Having a startup environment is still nascent in this country and funding is scarce. It’s great to see a lot of start-ups coming to fruition and young ones becoming more entrepreneurial. However, one has to be very resourceful (and lucky) in getting the funding they need.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
I think scaling is not a question of the gender of the leader but whether the business is actually viable for scaling. Simply put, if you happen to have a great idea, execute it at an opportune time, then if you have market demand and manage to figure out how to supply that demand, there is definitely an opportunity to scale. Women are strong and intuitive leaders and definitely capable of driving the growth of a company.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
Running a business is my cardio :) 

Sporting the Kwai box pleated full skirt. Drop by Separates But Equal for similar tops on Lia. 

The Botandini button down dress is another version of Lia's LWD.  

Arriane Serafico 

Arriane, self-taught (!!!) coding whiz and champion organizer, is the founder of The Purposeful Creative, an online school & community for why-driven women and lifelong learners. She teaches classes on creativity, business, and design thinking. It's hard to believe she just started her business a year and a half ago, using the first year to focus on designing great learning experiences which is the foundation of any school. "This latter half of 2017, I've had to switch focus and am now working on the business development side of things: from crunching the numbers and making better forecasts, small data mining and analytics, building an intentional customer retention program, and finding partners for social impact. It's such a novel and interesting industry -- this marriage between tech and education and business. The challenges are always so fun and multi-disciplinary."  

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry? It’s still a fledgling industry here in the Philippines: I don’t think a lot of people are getting into building online platforms for alternative education just yet. (This may change soon!) But I have seen it grow in other countries, and in the beginning, it was a very male-driven field. In recent years though, some of the best and brightest teachers in the online space are women. I really hope that as the industry and craft grows here in Asia, we see a diverse set of educators emerge. Not just gender-wise; but also from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
I haven’t done any fundraising myself, but I’m not closed to the opportunity of doing it in the future. Knowing that, I’m always on the lookout for any learning material I can get about women in tech, education, and startups: I listen to podcasts, attend conferences, enroll in classes, read books. (Tip: I particularly love the podcasts ‘Startup’ and ‘The Pitch’.)

Right now, there’s a prevalent narrative that points to the fact that women DO have it tougher when fundraising. But then again, we see people like Kirsten Green, who is one of the leading investors in a largely male-dominated world of venture capitalists, who supports a large number of women-led businesses. I’m hopeful that the increased awareness and discourse we’re having on this topic right now will start changing the landscape for the better.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
Absolutely. I am so thankful that in this day and age, there are incredible women founders who are blazing the trail -- women that I look up to and admire, and aspire to be like.
Glossier’s Emily Weiss is at the top of my list. And so are Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin of The Skimm. I also look up to Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, Inc., and Seek The Uniq’s own founder, Mikka Padua.

Having these women as examples ahead of me give me a lot of assurance and confidence, that I can do it, too. (And I hope that I can pay it forward and help other women feel the same in the future.) Right now, in terms of scaling, I’ve definitely seen my business grow -- from a little experiment I coded from my bed, to something that has reached over 10,000 students from all over the world. But what I’m most excited about right now is growing and scaling in the direction of social impact. When I started my business, I knew I wanted it to be a social enterprise -- but I wanted to build the market first, really get to know our users, mine for data, create solid systems -- before I commit to any community or cause.

We’re in prototyping mode right now for our social impact initiatives; I can’t wait to learn more and design it in a way that it weaves well into the very foundation of what we do, not just an afterthought or appendage.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
It’s not so much an Instagram quote, but a business quote:
“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?” - Simon Sinek, Start With Why 

Working her coding muscles in a crimson dress. Find a semblance with the Krisanisi tie-front dress.  

Find your jumpsuit under Neo Nautical.  

 

 

Stay tuned for our next Women in Tech instalment! Because there can never be too much girl power anytime, anywhere. 

 

Cheers, 

Anne 

 

 


Anne Bella
Anne Bella

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