“We also strive to build more collaborative business relationships with MSMEs and banks across the country.”
AS businesses make that digital shift, there’s the challenge to bring convenience and security for online payments and other financial transactions such as expense accounts and payrolls for remote-work staff. Software company Spenmo, which has presence in Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines, allows businesses to track their financials at a glance on a single and secure dashboard.
Spenmo is an all-in-one software that consolidates corporate cards, multi-currency dashboards, automated bill pay, employee expense claims and free payroll disbursements into one sleek interface. “The movement toward digital payments has accelerated dramatically in recent years. It is our goal to expand the payment solutions industry with more convenient services and systems as well as to help increase company efficiency in terms of payment disbursement. Apart from this, our services aim to help in providing additional transparency in procurement management. We also strive to build more collaborative business relationships with MSMEs and banks across the country,” explains Spenmo Philippines Country Manager George Padin.
George adds that with more businesses expected to be conceived in the next few years, Spenmo is working to provide them with more streamlined solutions for the creation of seamless workflow environments. “With Spenmo, we understand that consumers are drawn to convenience in all aspects, including financial management such as things you can do with a few taps or clicks from wherever you are. As a financial technology company, this is our most valuable asset, as we can do all that in a single dashboard.”
Exposure to startups came via his brother who was heavily into tech. “Then, in 2011, there was this first-ever ‘Startup Weekend’ event where you meet techy strangers and you build a startup together and pitch it to well-known investors as your judges. I ended up joining this startup called ‘Wait Know More.’ We built our minimum viable product, then pitched it, and ended up winning that event! So, I would say, that was my first ever real startup experience.”
From then on he got involved in organizing and even hosting events on a beach that attracted startup founders and prominent investors from across the globe to network. Events such as those ended up kickstarting some of the original startups in the Philippines. “Eventually, I ended up building my own software company that ended up niching its way into designing and building minimum viable products for venture-backed startups in Southeast Asia. If I am to summarize, my startup exposure started very hyperlocal to then going local, then eventually global exposure.”
While initially wanting to follow his father’s footsteps in the field of civil engineering, he had second thoughts of working on a hot and dusty construction site. He was inspired instead by his father’s entrepreneurial instinct. “I dabbled into business administration but ended up getting into the software and technology sector. I’ve quickly fallen in love with software and its ability to automate manual processes that allow businesses to scale and serve a global market.”
George grew up with a rather broad world view as their family moved around a lot. “Three of my four siblings were born in Ecuador while I was born and raised in the Philippines. Before the age of 18 we moved more than 40 times across the archipelago.” His father took on several business endeavors, which sometimes did not pan out. “Once in a while we get evicted from our house because we can no longer pay the monthly rent. The Asian Crisis hit, and my dad found himself with all his projects canceled. One day he gets awarded a massive project, so our rollercoaster ride is heading up, then that project falls apart and we find ourselves again having to move to another island to find a cheaper cost of living. As a kid that quickly teaches you the power of adaptability,” he muses.
His life experiences led him to combine passion and purpose. “When I was a teenager I engaged in numerous video and computer games which began my love for tech. I was amazed at how I was able to participate in online communities and meet a lot of people through technology. I’m glad that this passion now allows me to assist the traditional ecosystem in embracing more tech-forward solutions and procedures.”
George explains that Spenmo’s services mainly target helping micro, small and medium (MSMEs) businesses and/or startups, who would usually still be practicing manual bookkeeping work and are behind in terms of accounting software, having only to rely on fragmented solutions and Excel spreadsheets to fill in the gaps. “Businesses can enroll in the Spenmo program to gain access to a more efficient payment processing system that allows them to receive smooth financial transfers regardless of source or destination, as well as initiate, authorize, schedule, process, and settle each peso or dollar in real-time.”
When not busy at the office, George likes to work out, play soccer or go for a run. He has already done 10 half marathons and four full marathons, one of which had him running at the Banaue Rice Terraces for nine hours. “I try to fit in a lot of physical activities in the morning before I go to work so that I keep myself fit and energized. I like to travel and immerse myself in different cultures and environments. This just allows me to explore many places and understand different beliefs. I’m also a big foodie, and getting to try different dishes in different countries is very exciting.”
As a leader, he describes himself as very hands-on and someone who values collaboration. “I strive to always make our employees feel comfortable and inspired despite the challenges we face. I do this by continuously putting effort into improving team dynamics and providing numerous learning opportunities for my peers. I also make sure that I create a very welcoming environment at the office where ideas and suggestions are very much appreciated.”
There is a company understanding of their role in nation-building. “The idea we try to keep in mind is that through the company, we are able to help businesses all over the country to ease any hindrances they might or would have faced without our help. Enterprises will be able to utilize Spenmo in effectively participating in the development of digital payments while securing inclusive economic growth and productivity for both the company and its employees.”
I would say, my dad and my first boss. My dad was a very smart civil engineer; life was just so tough on his entrepreneurial career that we would find ourselves selling non-stick cooking wares or aquarium cleaners and whatever he could get his hands on. Seeing all these taught me life was very tough on some people, making a living to feed your family takes effort, guts and strategy. My first boss was an American who ran a software company in the Philippines. I worked for him for 6 years, and within that time period I gained first-hand experience of how to maintain great business relationships, lead a team and dream bigger.
I would say my ambition is to help as many people while learning and accumulating, then focus 100 percent on giving back the remainder of my life.
First paying job
My dad always took me to his side hustles starting when I was 8 years old. If I recall correctly that was my first paying job, although my dad would pay in new unique fishes for my aquarium. When I was 15, I worked for a coffee shop doing waiter and barista jobs and sometimes cooking in the kitchen with pre-made meals.
I have a pretty solid routine, especially on working days. On good days, I wake up a few hours earlier to work out, pick up my breakfast on the way to work and attend meetings.
I have a really high-risk tolerance. But I think when high-risk tolerance is combined with smart decision-making it positions you for great upside opportunities. I’m pretty adaptable, put me in any environment with a lot of ambiguity and I’ll highly likely to figure it out and have fun figuring it out.
Time on social media
Mostly, I’m able to use social media in my pastime; when I do use it, it’s more often used for entertainment purposes. While doing this, I also don’t forget to look at the latest trends and digital opportunities.