Back in the day, carrying around clunky wallets filled with all our cash was the norm. We then moved on to become a more cashless society where sleek credit cards became the next best method of payment. But it wasn’t until we began to incorporate technology into our everyday lives that payment got even easier. Today, we can complete a transaction by simply using our mobile phones.
Despite this innovation though, the Philippines is still playing catch up as the country only slowly starts to embrace this new payment option. At this point, you may be wondering why this even matters. For situations like shopping in a mall or going on a night out, not having the option to go cashless may not seem too bad. But picture being in a scenario where it could be a matter of life and death and it becomes much more than a matter of convenience.
There have been instances in the past where people have been denied medical care or have even died due to unsettled bills that weren’t paid in time. What’s even more tragic is that for some of these incidents, the people were capable of paying but merely didn’t have enough time to process their transactions. In situations like this, having a quick and easy payment method isn’t so trivial anymore - it is critical.
Intending to solve this problem, Jazzypay offers a unified payment platform that enables users to pay schools and medical centers through their mobile phones using an array of methods like online banking, e-wallets, e-checks and cryptocurrency payment options, and more.
A purpose-driven venture
Co-founders Joshua Marindo and Kathleen Acosta came up with Jazzypay when they personally experienced a tragic event brought by inefficient payment systems. “A few years back, we were having payment difficulty in the hospital. My nephew was about to be born, kaya lang [but] at that time, the hospital didn’t want to do the operation until they got the payment,” Joshua narrated, “We had the payment naman pero [already but] the problem was the money came from abroad, so it took a lot of time and we literally had to go through traffic to get to remittance centers pa [also]. It took us too long and it resulted in my nephew being mentally challenged.”
Realizing that the whole thing could have been avoided, Joshua and Kathleen took it upon themselves to ensure that this won't happen to anyone else. Kathleen said, “We want to be able to help people. We don’t want anyone else to experience the same thing that Joshua experienced during the emergency situation. That's our main motivation for Jazzypay.”
For the two founders though, starting the venture meant facing a tough crossroad. At the time, they were managing another venture called Tekibears Software Solutions that provided total surveillance solutions to their clients. “Shifting our focus from our previous startup to Jazzypay was a challenge kasi [because] our previous startup was already generating revenue that supported us. But the thing is, when we realized that we can do something much more significant than just earning money, dun nangyari yung compromise [that’s when the compromise happened],” Joshua shared.
Although the decision didn't come easy, they knew what they had to do. Kathleen shared some of her thoughts, “We wanted to put in our hearts and minds that our business has to be meaningful. Through Jazzypay, we're doing something great. It has potential but more importantly, we’re solving a real problem in the Philippines.”
Fast tracking growth with Techstars
With the intention of making things work, Joshua and Kathleen took every measure to turn their vision to reality. From bootstrapping all the finances to going door-to-door presenting their idea to hospitals and clinics, the two were determined to make Jazzypay happen. “It was all bootstrapped in the beginning,” Kathleen recalled, “Imagine earning a lot of money from your business and then all of a sudden you have to stop everything because you need to focus your time and money into this one thing. It was hard, but being here right now, I’m very grateful.”
While there are other payment solutions out in the Philippines, Jazzypay differentiates themselves as they focus on their niche of providing fast payment solutions for hospitals, clinics, and even schools.
Matching the novelty of their idea with sheer perseverance, it wasn’t long until Joshua and Kathleen caught the interest of accelerator giants, Techstars and Rakuten. They ended up securing not only funding, but also a coveted slot in the accelerator program. The founders believe that Jazzypay’s promise to solve a relevant problem enabled them to stand out and even become Techstars and Rakuten’s first cohort in Southeast Asia.
Service with heart
Though Jazzypay is barely a year old, the startup has been growing exponentially since its launch. They have already formed partnerships with over 120 facilities, including both medical centers and schools. Jazzypay is also set to collaborate with Viber through Rakuten, and though they’re keeping their plans under wraps for now, Joshua and Kathleen expressed their excitement for what’s coming up for Jazzypay.
While the journey of creating Jazzypay didn’t come without hardships, Kathleen takes pride in having battled through it. Her advice for fellow entrepreneurs: “Definitely, it’s going to be hard, but if you have the conviction and the will to push through, you have to do it. If naniniwala ka doon sa business mo, kapit ka lang [If you believe in your business, you have to keep hanging on]. Matatapos mo rin siya kahit anong mangyari [You’ll finish it no matter what happens]. Kung talagang yung business mo [If your business really] is going to help a lot of people, it’s a good motivation for you to push through. Push lang [Keep pushing].”
With Jazzypay, payment inefficiency in developing countries like the Philippines would be a thing of the past. Bringing accessibility and ease to payment needs, Jazzypay intends to serve with a purpose because, as Kathleen puts it, “si Jazzypay ang may puso [Jazzypay has heart].”
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