Founder Spotlight: Ira Kiener of Dealogikal, Bolstering Competitive Advantage Through Providing Convenience in Procurement Processes
by Gianna Abao
We spoke with Ira Jon Kiener, co-founder and CEO of Dealogikal – a market-centric online trading startup that brings together buyers and sellers. His co-founders Jaycee Caldeo, the company’s CTO and COO, directs the technology operations and innovation side of the business, while the institution’s CBDO, Josh Gonzaga heads the sales and marketing front. Offering charting and technical analysis, the company provides operational procedures that eliminates the redundancy of traditional trading systems and renders competitive selection, trading management, and secured market channels. The company is the pioneer of enabling a fully integrated solution in the procurement process among buyers and sellers. Below Ira tells us more about Dealogikal.
How did you choose these commodities that you are currently providing in your digital platform?
These were the low hanging fruits, if you will. Petroleum, for example, was definitely one of the low hanging fruits, since I was already trading it, it became the very first commodity that I started with. Basically, we are positioning ourselves for the Philippine Government’s “Build, Build, Build” Program. The Government Procurement Policy Board found us to be a very interesting tool to use for procurement, because it acts as a platform that replaces nepotism with meritocracy. Let’s say, for example, you’re awarded with a contract for a bridge or airport, instead of appointing suppliers, now one would have to subject numerous different suppliers to a competitive selection process. In doing so, it would give an equal chance and allow the most efficient suppliers to be the one to provide those goods such as: petroleum, cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete and other things of that nature. As far as the rubber goes, we got into trading elastomers or synthetic rubber because of the friendship that I used to have with another trader based in Washington DC. He referred me to the chairman of Eni APAC. Eni is the largest oil and gas company in Italy. We met and we were appointed as their official distributor of synthetic rubber here in the Philippines. Eventually, we became a part of the board of directors for the Philippine Rubber Industry Association, and through that, we also saw rubber as another low hanging fruit as well. That’s how we got into those particular commodities.
What sets you apart from other competitors right now?
We’re very proud to say that we are the first of its kind. We don’t have any competitors at the moment, globally. We conduct a reverse auction for goods and we are populating the market as quickly as we can.
What do you think the impact of organization can make in society?
It can help to control the effect of inflation because oil and gas are basic materials and it affects everything done in the economy. Oil and gas are needed to produce energy and –by extension – almost all else. By doing our part, we keep the prices of oil and gas down as much as possible through competition, which could also help the society as a whole in mitigating the effects of inflation. The other thing is allowing consumers to have a platform in which they have easier access to different types of commodities in an online environment where they can procure other commodities without necessarily having to do a Google search or to start dialing and looking for different suppliers. Dealogikal has on boarded many buyers and various other suppliers for different types of commodities.
Are you on the way to presenting Dealogikal to the government now?
Yes, we are currently having an ongoing discussion with the GPPB or the Government Procurement Policy Board, where we met with Secretary Carlos Dominguez that eventually led us to the Government Procurement Policy Board. They are looking at how we can make the pieces fit together, because they too have an existing platform called PhilGEPS. However, PhilGEPS is vastly different from Dealogikal. And so, they are trying to find a way on how they can seamlessly integrate both PhilGEPS and Dealogikal for the move of bidding out projects and procuring the goods that are required for those projects and for other commodities.
In terms of traction, we have many different buyers and sellers, and that number is growing. It started to accelerate now by word of mouth and with referrals given out by people that have been onboarded. They really like the platform since they see that it works. They can see that it simplifies their procurement process and saves up time, and generates savings for them as well. The whole thing about growth through referrals is starting to take effect.
Is it exclusive for Cebu buyers, sellers and traders?
No, we’re regional already. In terms of our capacity to supply goods, we already have an ecosystem of different logistics companies on the platform and through the existing infrastructure of all the different oil and gas companies to be able to supply on a nationwide scale. What we’re currently trying to develop now is to allow the platform to perform it on a regional scale and then eventually go into a global scale. It can promote bilateral trade between two or more countries. For example, we won the national championship in the Annual Investment Meeting National Champions Pitching Competition. This was sponsored by DTI and JP Morgan, who narrowed down approximately 380 startups to 1. We finally got selected #1 to represent them in Dubai. Anyway, having said that, Dubai is a target for cross-border transactions. Dubai could use Dealogikal to source products from the Philippines that it could export like furniture, dried mangoes, and other agricultural products like coconuts and things like that. On the same token, the Philippines can also perhaps begin to import things that Dubai produces through competitive selection as well. We are also going to apply the same concept in different countries across the ASEAN, Asia and the rest of the world. We already have partnerships with various incubators and/or accelerators, which should speed up the process as well.
What inspires and motivates you in life?
The legacy that we’ll leave behind hopefully will be one where you’ve created genuine social impact that benefits society as a whole through creating innovative ways of doing things and thinking outside the box. I think that if this business venture does become successful, we’ll definitely plant a big percentage of our earnings for philanthropic purposes. Some of the initiatives that we have are about greening the earth that we are passionate about. As a matter of fact, we’ve helped with about 200,000 trees so far to nonprofit organizations.
What are the other milestones that you had in the company at the present time?
Market Validation and Proof of Concept are the biggest milestones to date, including significant traction.
What are we going to expect from Dealogikal in the future?
To continue to improve the lives of the communities that we operate in, economically, sociologically, environmentally and otherwise.
Click here to learn more about Dealogikal.