By Robert A. Vergara, Jr., Digital Reporter
FOUNDERS WHO were formerly employees have that one moment where they realized they had to give up their corporate careers. For Ginger Arboleda, the 33-year-old chief operating officer and cofounder of Taxumo, that moment came in 2012 when she was due to a promotion that would catapult her into an executive position at a banking giant she had been working at for more than six years.
“I was happy but I wanted to do so much more,” she said in a forum organized by SparkUp in April. “I wanted to see the direct impact that I could have to people.”
That same year, she became pregnant again, following a miscarriage in 2010.
Arboleda recalled, “I couldn’t see myself as one of the executives of the bank. When I found out that I was pregnant again, I realized that [maybe it’s time] to focus on living my life again.”
So in January 2013, a few months after she left the corporate world, Arboleda began organizing Manila Workshops — a series of 101 sessions for aspiring entrepreneurs and freelancers. “After a few work shops, I realized that it was what I want to do,” she said. “I want to see that our attendees indeed follow their dreams.”
And in that process, Arboleda stumbled upon another idea. “Things started when I was doing my taxes,” she recounted. “I found it frustrating. It was so tedious. I had to line up at the BIR and renew a lot of business papers, and numbers aren’t my forte.”
In 2015, Arboleda with her husband EJ, who has a 15-year background in IT, came up with the idea of creating a platform that would automate the rigorous process of filling taxes for local entrepreneurs and freelancers: an app which they christened Taxumo.
The two began presenting the idea in pitching competitions and later on became part of Echelon Asia Summit’s top 100 start-ups and IdeaSpace’s incubation program, both giving the company seed funding and mentorship opportunities, among other benefits. Last year, the company also received the four-year tax holiday grant from DTI’s Board of Investments.
Taxumo is now valued at $1.5 million, following a funding round.
But for Arboleda, valuations are just “all about $1 billion,” harking to the number required to call a start-up a unicorn. More important to her, she says, is “helping 100 million Filipinos. For us, that matters more than the valuation.”