MINDANAO-BASED tech-startup Wela Online Corp. is eyeing to expand its market and diversify its products by 2021.

“‘Yung goal namin (Our goal) is to saturate the market first in the Philippines, then hopefully… two years from now, we can maybe expand to other Southeast Asian countries, and then that is the time we can diversify,” Wela Chief Technology Officer John Vincent Fiel said in an interview.

Established in 2016, Wela is a startup based in Cagayan de Oro. It is supported and funded by Ideaspace Foundation, Asian Institute of Management and Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). The company is an integrated school management system that streamlines data management, especially in terms of grading system and cashless payments, and connects parents to the school through its mobile application. It has partner schools mostly in Mindanao, and some in Luzon.

The company announced on Dec. 7 that it has teamed up with Japan-based technology firm Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. to improve both countries’ education system through better technology.

Leave a Nest is a group of researchers founded by a group of 15 graduate students from the field of Science and Engineering in 2001. Since 2017, it has been participating in enhancing the Philippines’ innovation community through its annual program Tech Planter, which looks for scientists, researchers, and businessmen in the field.

Leave a Nest will also bring the Wela team to Tokyo, Japan to look into schools there and come up with ways on how to improve how schools manage their operations.

“They offered an investment…but last year we were not open for an investment yet, so this year kami nag-continue sa (we pushed through with the) partnership. This time, to proceed with our partnership, next year march our team will be travelling to Tokyo, Japan,” he said.

“One of our objectives is to study the schools to see how we can help. We will also visit their partner companies, also, that are related to education technology. Basically, they help us, we help them also,” he explained.

With this partnership, Mr. Fiel said the company will be focusing on developing its products for schools while also considering to widen its reach to companies.

“Right now we are focused in schools, but we are looking at a possibility of integrating it to companies, so that could be another phase for us,” he said.

On extending its reach to other countries, he said Japan may be the first market it is entering to given the connection it was able to establish with Leave a Nest.

“We will see… From there we can probably assess kung anong (what) project or product we can provide to them,” he said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang