Founder Spotlight: Bea Hernandez of Avail.at
Rewarding through a ready-made system: AvailAt and its purpose in delivering its clients with quality products within days of redemption
Companies and employers make attempts into boosting the overall quality of employee work ethic and performance, one of which, common to the Philippines and many countries elsewhere, is to provide virtual points to their employees’ credit cards for them to later on use as a currency that is limited to specific shops with selected items. It is through this practice that people would obtain digital goods, but there are times when they would order for physical objects, like, say, a coffee-maker or an electric fan, and this course of action requires the process of manual delivery to their homes, wherein, in the Philippines, the task should only reach completion in half a month’s time—this unreasonable length of time consumed for what was perceived to be a small deed is the problem that Bea Hernandez and her team recognized, of which the solutions they endeavored for were realized when they created AvailAt—a fairly new, 10-month old company made to conduct an innovative system of rewarding by offering a faster means of the delivery of purchased goods, essentially taking the role of a third-party provider by functioning according to the employee competence of its client companies.
It took 6 months to build AvailAt from scratch, before official services were eventually handled the year after. AvailAt operates from the online realm to the offline domain in which easy transactions are first made by just logging-in with a registered account to the AvailAt website, wherein products are placed for viewing for customers to purchase with the virtual points they obtained as working employees in their companies. AvailAt receives the order, acquires the supply for the product, and delivers it in a span of a day to a week, depending on the address that was given. Competing companies for AvailAt e-mail the market catalogue and pictures through excel for client companies, whereas with AvailAt’s marketplace, everything can be viewed by just the entering of its website. Client companies are also allowed to make a rewards program by uploading employee information—‘’Why do you deserve 10,000 points? Is it because you were the company’s top seller last month?’’, the program would ask, and an answer in the positive by the employee would provide him with the available reward of his own choosing. These programs are built per company, and the marketplace best-sellers are gadgets, home appliances, and gift certificates for food. Clients are billed after the product has been received, and customer data—the most popular products, the time at which purchase usually happens—is given at their fingertips. Hence, a healthy, relationable partnership with the right communication between AvailAt and it clients is properly developed.
A rarity of being a female entrepreneur in the tech industry
AvailAt’s co-founder is Bea Hernandez, a woman whose remarkable qualities include the boldness needed to get projects done, and the social grace needed for the acquiring of business associates. Couple these two traits together and the result would be good marketing that AvailAt doesn’t even have to spend its resources for. Whenever an AvailAt client has a big even for their sales team, Bea wastes no time in volunteering to attend for the promotion of her product, wherein she is able to comfortably answer questions, thus the need for commercial and retail marketing becomes obsolete—Bea doesn’t view this to be a necessecity either way, since she considers herself a woman who is relational with her prospects, ‘’business-to-business’’, as she puts it, as she would rather opt to target important people by her own means of persuasion. Regarding the topic of investors, there are specific people that she’d like to reach out to, and she is more than willing to put an effort into doing so. ‘’You lose more when you don’t try. I’m very bold and daring when it comes to this.’’, she voiced.
Bea plays the part of a business head in her team of nine; which covers tech, inventory management, marketing & client management, operations & fulfillment. Bea wants her clients to be happy, to have things painless on both ends, to have AvailAt become the most trusted rewards marketplace in the country. She believes that this title will be achieved through her team; everybody believes in the abilities of one another and everybody knows what they’re doing. ‘’It helps a lot when people really believe in their products, it fulfills your confidence in selling it’’, Bea expressed.
Even with the topics raised regarding the obstacles that female entrepreneurs face in the tech industry, Bea personally doesn’t feel any challenges. A robust woman, she feels as though it is because she doesn’t let anybody stop her, and that regardless of gender, she believes that people should just go for what they want. Whereupon she does encounter roadblocks, she only but shrugs them off. ‘’ A person’s character is really dependent on how he or she was raised. I’ve never been placed in an environment of being told what not to do’’, she conveyed.
As of now, Bea’s ultimate goal for AvailAt is to have its delivery services be completed within an hour’s notice of a customer’s order. It is the aspect where AvailAt can improve on the most, and she believes that her team can do it without having to invest in warehouses. If Singapore and Thailand are capable of reaching this level, then why not the Philippines?
The obstacles of creative tech in the face of normative values
Truthfully, the real obstacles of Bea’s journey lie on her being an entrepreneur, not on her gender. The incorporation of businesses here in the Philippines is difficult. Firstly, there are a lot of long lines to tediously wait on and mundane paperwork to complete. Bea believes that these are the first hurdles that really discourage people from engaging in businesses, so the government needs to work on solving it. Secondly, Filipinos tend to avoid acknowledging calls, so the culture of being a little too nice can serve as a hindrance for businesses who want direct confrontation and clear communication.
Bea is changing a culture of the way Filipino businesses reward their employees. Filipinos aren’t ones to take the initiative for improvement, with this the question ‘’Why fix what isn’t broken?’’ comes to mind. Changes are usually perceived to either be bad, or a burden. Thus, Bea takes measures to be able to prove that her system is better. When she presents, she doesn’t just talk about her service—she demonstrates it on a digital platform, to showcase how easy things really are with AvailAt and how things should be in the Philippines.