By Patricia Mirasol
Aumni, a Utah-based investment analytics firm, has chosen to set up its Philippine office in Baguio City. Northern Luzon’s untapped talent pool, as well as a better work-life balance, were cited as the reasons for this “intentional choice.”
“Baguio has easy access to great trekking trails and mountain climbing as well as to the beaches in La Union, Pangasinan, and Zambales. Employees spend less than 30 minutes traveling from house to office at any given time, leaving more room for personal and social activities. And Baguio is a multicultural city with rich artistic heritage,” said Maggie Po, Aumni’s vice-president for data operations in the Philippinse, in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.
Crafts and folk art represent a cornerstone of the city’s local trade and creative tourism economy, according to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Fifty-six institutions are devoted to the sector, which total a gross receipt of 55,795,933.22 PHP million.
Aumni’s founder and CEO, Anthony Lewis, likens Baguio to Salt Lake City, where the company’s main offices are located. “That was an intentional choice to leverage an educated workforce in a geographic region that allows for both outdoor recreation, room for families, and a sophisticated environment for arts and culture,” Mr. Lewis said in a press release. “Baguio seems to offer a similar alternative for talented professionals in the Philippines. We care about our people and we believe that these locations are unique and offer something fresh.”
Aumni’s Philippine office is focused on back-office operations and data research. Since setting up shop in Baguio at the start of 2021, it now has 153 staff, all of whom are provided benefits such as daily chef-catered meals, monthly employee swag, and quarterly bonuses.
“There is huge, raw, untapped talent in Northern Luzon that are hesitant to move to Manila,” said Aumni’s vice-president of culture Brendan Kussman, in a press statement. “With a solid talent and development program for these folks, a company could establish an equally productive and highly performing organization in Baguio City.”
He added that Baguio’s status as a university town helps the company find talents who are willing to learn complex topics, and are capable of critical thinking.
The name Aumni is a play on the venture capital term Asset Under Management (AUM), Ms. Po told BusinessWorld. AUM refers to the total value of the investment a venture fund manages on behalf of its investors, which is where the company’s product revolved around.
In August, Aumni announced it had closed a 2,511 PHP million Series B funding round led by investing banking company J.P. Morgan. The investments from the latest round will be used to deepen its presence with investors in the private capital markets, as well as expand its offering to limited partners, law firms, and company founders.