By Cathy Rose A. Garcia

AMID ALL THE celebrity endorsers out there, businessman Bjorn R. Pardo may seem like an unusual choice to become a brand ambassador for a leading telecommunications company.

Mr. Pardo, founder and chief executive officer of e-commerce and logistics start-up Xend, admitted he was surprised when Globe Telecom, Inc. came calling.

“It was kind of shocking, but definitely I was excited. I’ve always been a Globe subscriber, so it was great. I think it was a good fit,” he told BusinessWorld, at the sidelines of an event introducing him as the new Globe Platinum ambassador last week.

With its plans that come with priority servicing, 24/7 access to an international concierge, access to airport lounges around the world, and hotel discounts, Globe Platinum is targeting young, successful, and upwardly mobile individuals — people like Mr. Pardo, who needs to stay connected to his family, his business and his passions.

“We saw an emerging market — these are digitally savvy [people], hungry for success, [and who] want to be always connected to the things that inspire them. Because we saw this market, slightly younger than what we would think about for Platinum, we thought they are looking for a highly digital product, with a signature priority offering. For these people, time is of the essence,” Globe Marketing Brand Director Kaisie Del Carmen said in a separate interview.

With the choice of Mr. Pardo, Ms. Del Carmen said Globe Platinum wanted to get “real” people with stories that people can relate to, to represent the brand.

“They inspire through the stories of their lives… Their stories are very holistic; it’s not an instant success. There was a journey. That is exactly the market we’re looking at. These are people who had hard-earned success, and they found that inspiration in their lives,” Ms. Del Carmen said.

Mr. Pardo got the inspiration for Xend after he became a successful online seller on eBay in the US in the early 2000s, selling “random” stuff such as blank cassette or video tapes.

His biggest “pain point” was shipping. At the time, he had to drive, go to a post office, line up, and fill out forms.

“I fell in love with e-commerce at that time. It was just so much fun, I was making a lot of money… Then I thought, there have to be people just like me back in the Philippines. I decided to go back and see if I can do it here and help entrepreneurs here, to make their lives easier,” Mr. Pardo said.

In 2004, he was still studying at De La Salle University, when he established Xend as an international logistics and courier service. Two years later, he introduced domestic courier services.

His experience as an online seller is the reason Xend focused on online sellers and entrepreneurs as customers.

“From the very beginning, it’s always been the online sellers, the entrepreneurs. My passion is not logistics; I love it, but my passion is the entrepreneur. How can we make a difference? How can we help? Whether its logistics or other aspects — we don’t consider ourselves 100% logistics, but we consider ourselves as a hybrid of logistics, e-commerce, and tech,” Mr. Pardo said.

Xend is designed specifically for e-commerce; it is fully online, includes free delivery insurance, and costs up to 60% less than other courier services.

The company has benefitted from the e-commerce boom in the country, with a growing number of Filipinos finding it easier and more convenient to click that “buy” button in online shops. Last year, Xend signed its 200,000th shipper and delivered its 5-millionth parcel.

“We were very lucky to be there in the beginning, and we continue to grow with it… We hope to convert everyone to become an entrepreneur, teach them how to sell online, earn extra income… We want to make that process easier. We’re trying to help entrepreneurs run their business and make lives easier in any way we can,” Mr. Pardo said.