ALLCARE: The Future of Health Care for All
By Michaela Villaroman
According to a report conducted by PayPal, the Philippines is recorded to have one of the highest freelancers per capita of the 22 countries they included in their survey. There is currently an estimated 1.5 million freelancers in the country -- and that number is only growing. Despite the apparent gig economy trend, no one has really jumped on providing to the newfound demand of freelancers, which is proper healthcare insurance.
While in a traditional setting, regular employees are able to receive healthcare benefits, workers operating outside the typical job setup are left wondering who they should turn to for their insurance needs.
ALLCARE seeks to provide the needs of the underserved by offering a benefits platform that is both affordable and relevant to the needs of freelancers and solopreneurs. We talked with Cindy Burdette, Co-Founder and CEO of ALLCARE to learn about the conceptualization of their startup and how they hope to shape the future of the healthcare industry with it.
Growth hacker turned entrepreneur
With a management degree from Ateneo de Manila, Cindy did what any recent graduate is expected to do -- go corporate. She began her career in a telecommunications company working in their digital marketing department. And after a few years, she moved to another company to take on a role in their advertising team.
Having spent almost 6 years growth hacking and optimizing digital channels for corporations, she realized she wanted to take her talents elsewhere and explore other possibilities. She shared, “I realized it kind of sucked that I was using my skills for growing already-large companies.” She knew it was time to try something new and build it to grow. In 2015, Peter Cauton and Paolo Dela Fuente, the co-founders of STORM, approached her to ask if she wanted to work in a startup.
Cindy gave it a shot and realized that she enjoyed being able to find ways to scale the startup. She spent over a couple of years working for STORM, one of the largest benefits technology provider in the Philippines, and she found great fulfillment in her role. “That was the time I realized how fun being in the startup scene was. It felt like being on a rollercoaster when you try hacking the growth of your product,” she said.
To cultivate her newfound passion, she started building traditional businesses of her own. Her ventures covered a variety of services and industries such as weddings, food, accessories, and even exporting goods. “That was the first time I actually confirmed with myself that I like creating something,” she said. Later on, she was able to pinpoint where her true interest lies -- technology.
In 2017, Cindy and her co-founders came up with an idea that could potentially disrupt the benefits industry of today. They found a gap between the huge number of gig workers in the country and the lack of benefits including core things like healthcare catered to these freelancers. She knew this problem will not only become more and more prevalent over the years, as the volume of freelancers in the country goes up, but that there is also a huge entrepreneurial opportunity in exploring how they can help these people.
With that, Cindy, along with Peter and Paolo, decided to create a STORM spin-off company that would address the growing needs of freelancers. And thus, ALLCARE was created.
ALLCARE for all
ALLCARE is a benefits technology company that tries to provide basic benefits like health, wellness, life insurance, and other productivity tools to independent gig workers. Cindy explained how their services work, “compared to the large providers primarily selling premium products to corporations and their employees, we’re offering more sakto and sulit products, that have lower coverage or shorter terms, direct to the consumer market and thereby also reducing the friction at the availment stages.”
What most people don’t realize is that the healthcare benefits provided to employees include an excessive amount of coverage. “People aren’t aware that most likely they will not be using a tenth of the benefits package they have. Once employees realize this, they start to see that they’re actually losing out. You’re not really able to maximize the value of what companies generally provide,” Cindy said.
ALLCARE could not have come at a better time. Cindy explained, “The future of workforce will be decentralized. And I think if that’s the case, we need to ask who will be the HR of the future? If you’re a freelancer, who’s going to take care of you? We want ALLCARE to be the answer.”
With the social validation that ALLCARE has been receiving so far, it actually goes to show how high the demand is for the platform. In the near future, ALLCARE wants to be able to reach all the workers in need, not just those in the Philippines, but also the rest of the world.
Being an entrepreneur in the Philippines
On a more personal note, Cindy tells us that she never thought she would be able to pursue an entrepreneurial path, especially considering her background. “I could never have imagined that I’d be running a tech startup today. When I was much younger, it never crossed my mind and now it’s such a comfort zone to me,” she said. “I wish somebody taught me all about being an entrepreneur earlier on in life.”
For Cindy, entrepreneurship came to her not only because she has the passion to create, but also because she genuinely wants to help answer a need. “I wanted to run a business where I don’t just make money -- I really want to help people. And one of the biggest blessings I’ve had is the opportunity to do just that - create a sustainable business while helping people.”
Regarding the Philippine startup ecosystem, ALLCARE also seeks to build awareness on the potential that lies in the local startup community. From Cindy’s personal experience as a founder, the lack of investment has always caused difficulties. “Investment in the Philippine startup ecosystem is quite nascent. And this hits me on a personal level because there is money here in the country, but the problem is that there’s just not a lot of faith yet in the startup ecosystem or many of those who do have money to invest are not yet so familiar with startup investing. Fortunately, I see that it’s already slowly changing,” she shared optimistically.
Cindy’s advice for fellow entrepreneurs hoping to make an impact through their work, “Focus on a gap. Figure out what you want to do and pinpoint specifically what you want to solve. In a nutshell, don't be discouraged by all the overwhelming challenges you will encounter. In some sense, you need to have tunnel vision, to just focus on what you want to solve. It’s not going to be easy but eventually, if you stay the course, it will work itself out.”
For Cindy’s case, they found a problem that they would be able to solve through ALLCARE. Despite the hardships she has faced so far, she knows that the positive difference they are making will be able to outweigh it all. And indeed, we can only expect ALLCARE to keep making an impact on the lives of gig workers as well as to keep inspiring the local startup community to think bigger.
To learn more about ALLCARE, you may visit their website here.