Acudeen: The Pioneer in Reuniting the Loose Ends
By Danielle Esquillo
“In Filipino, if you want to be a part of something big, you say something like: “Hey, that’s cool. I wanna join. Ako din.”
Mario Jordan “Magellan” Fetalino III, the CEO of Acudeen, in explaining the etymology of the company’s name. It was undeniable that Filipinos has the attitude of joining a certain project where they could contribute and benefit from. But it was not primarily for the sake of ‘earning’, it was also to be a part of a group or a community where they think they could do things they would not normally do. If they desired it, they would say “Ako din” --- this is where Acudeen (Aku-din) stemmed from.
Magellan shared to us how he came up with the business model of Acudeen by sharing his life story with us. He used to work as the chief of a publication company’s operations, from 2013 to 2015. This is where he saw the company’s cashflow issues brought upon by the bad payment behaviours of their clients. Being one of the top execs, there was a certain point when his salary needed to be deducted because of the problem in cash flow. He shared to us that he ate biscuits and slept on his office for two months because of this incident. Through this experience, he realizes how it is important to manage the cash flow better.
“I am a scarred entrepreneur.”
He told us in sharing this story. He did not allow himself to give up on his situation but he decided to change gears. He co-founded a financial education firm with his partners including Floi Wycoco, called The Global Filipino Investors.
“If we could have a smarter consumer, then it’s easier to sell financial products. That’s our goal – to have an educated market.”
His passion and desire to make a difference led him to join the Founder Institute. This is when his concepts were validated when he learned the problem that banks did not necessary serve SMEs in finance, which caused SMEs to have difficulties in their cash flow. So, he made a business out of it and now it is called Acudeen.
Acudeen’s goal is to give SMEs an access in finance through their payment receivables. Payment receivables were difficult to turn to cash, but Acudeen wanted to give SMEs a way to tap this payment receivables as usable assets. In order to achieve this, Acudeen would match SMEs’ financial needs to the capabilities of the investors to finance the requirement.
“Instead of focusing on the history of the companies, we focus on future cash which we are able to do by understanding the payment behaviors of one company to another. From that point of view, we are able to identify, whether there will be delays in the payment.”
Aside from this, Acudeen is a pioneer in this business and also, they are contributing more than what they offer.
“Part of the initiative in creation of regulation for crowd lending, P to P lending facilities in the Philippines so we’re helping out in writing the new regulation by working with government initiated technical working groups in drafting new policies.
But all of this things he could not achieve it by himself without reliable partners like Mario Salazar, Jasper Franco, Yacine Derradji, and Aya Laraya. The whole team shared the same sentiments with Magellan about the desire to provide a tool for financial inclusion to small and medium enterprises. They helped out each other improve Acudeen for the better. He told us that the qualities of a good partner are (a) someone who motivates you and (b) someone who tells you the “ugly truth”. Lastly, he shared advises for future founders about three important things they have to remember:
(a) Build your network
(b) Create your minimum viable product fast
(c) Maintain your composure and confidence
Acudeen is the pioneer in paving the ways for future business to have an easier access in finance. Billions of dollars are continued to be untouchable in the market which caused a huge losses. Acudeen wanted to touch it and to make these losses into assets. And they made it possible by creating a plausible system. Without Magellan’s ambition and dedication and also the people who contributed to this vision, Acudeen would be impossible. Therefore, what makes a business flourish is to never be afraid to take initiative to be the first to step into unchartered territories, just like Magellan and Acudeen.