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PayMongo is putting payments in the hands of Pinoys

For the first time since 2013 and for only the second time ever, the Philippines has produced a startup entering the world’s premier accelerator, Y Combinator. From Manila to Mountain View, PayMongo is a FinTech startup looking to help local entrepreneurs and merchants to better their payment infrastructure — modernizing payments for the Philippines in a rapidly transforming digital economy. Founded in March of 2019, the quickly growing start-up has no shortage of all-star founders: starting with MIT-educated, Leyte born-and-raised CEO Francis Plaza to co-founder and lawyer Edwin Lacierda, a former Presidential Spokesperson under President Benigno Aquino.

The Philippines has no shortage of company after company looking to revolutionize the payments sphere. FinTech is booming with its ability for rapid adoption amongst the growing digital economy that Filipinos from every social background are seeking to partake in. With mobile and internet penetration at over two-thirds of the population with no signs of stopping: virtually every Filipino is part of the market. However, financial access still remains a challenge for many — which is why many are turning to financial digitization to head towards a space for equitable access and inclusion.

According to the World Bank, the potential local output rise if the financial inclusion gap were closed nears to over 14 percent. Meanwhile, a majority of Filipino merchants – over 87 percent – prefer selling and running their businesses from social media platforms; a long-running driver of digital economies in several countries across the Asia-Pacific, no surprise with the seemingly never-ending social media boom. However, despite the massive amounts of digital populations – it remains undeniable that social media e-commerce is frustratingly difficult to scale. Nevertheless, the same survey conducted by PayPal reports that over 32% of Filipinos with internet access have already transacted through social media – and plan to continue to do so.

According to co-founder Lacierda, PayMongo has its eyes on enabling Filipino entrepreneurs. Like the e-commerce boom that was furthered by the rise of Stripe, PayMongo aims to unify payment systems to help “sellers accept payments in minutes.” The national landscape has no shortage of social sellers laying out their entire business and brand in Instagram accounts and shoddily-embedded Google Form and personal mobile numbers. The upcoming FinTech startup seeks to solve that by streamlining payment processing — aggregating various payment methods into a single platform, and doing away with buyers taking snaps of deposit slips.

“People who sell online or who plan to sell on FB or IG often find accepting payments a pain point,” Lacierda shared on his Twitter. There’s no doubt that along with the continuous rise of emerging digital technologies and economies, that it’s time to ease our social media culture into something more well-founded and viable — PayMongo plans to do that beginning with the social media seller to the big business; with no doubt that a financially inclusive Filipino society begins from the very Filipinos that make this digital boom possible.

By targeting the untapped yet massive ecosystem of social sellers — mostly small and medium businesses that are locally-owned and operated — PayMongo seeks to further edge the market out to the online, cashless economy. Merchants have the option to provide payment options by sharing links on Messenger, Viber, email, SMS, or any other form of communication they use with their customers — no integrations or difficulties needed. The API is easy to use, fast, and seamless; it’s scalable while also serving the regular Juan seller – and is easy enough to understand for the local consumer. At the moment, there are no fees to setup or begin exploring the platform, unlike existing providers.

YCombinator four months in

After Kalibrr, PayMongo is the second startup from the Philippines to have made it into Y Combinator (YC).

YC is known for several successes in the startup world — significantly more than other accelerators and incubators that have followed suit. It specializes in investments towards early-stage companies; offering $150,000 dollars as their standard deal. This $150k is delivered in the form of a “post-money safe” that converts to YC owning 7% of the company.

YC is known as the “world’s most powerful start-up incubator”, and they’re known for that for good reason.

The Silicon Valley accelerator’s support extends beyond the huge cash deal. These startups enter cohorts (PayMongo made it into the Summer 2019 batch, which you will see flaunted on the co-founders’ Twitter profiles as “YC S19” or “@ycombinator S19” and the like) that are run twice a year. Founders move to Silicon Valley for a three-month intensive alongside YC’s head and leaderships where their model, product, team, and pitch are closely refined and developed. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day: a thrilling end to the cohort where an invite-only audience of investors and industry leaders hear the startups’ pitches.

When the cohort ends, YC startups are followed by the constant prestige of their programs. Although not all YC-backed products succeed (they’re just as unstable as any other startup) – their founders can be considered as an investment just as big as the initial product idea. These people go on to found more successful companies – knowing when to fail and when to fail fast, leading to their success in building. Since 2005, YC boasts over 2,000 funded startups under their belt comprised of a community of over 4,000 founders – with a combined valuation of over $100B. The portfolio extends to companies such as Airbnb, Stripe (what many are labeling PayMongo as the Philippine version of), coinbase, Gitlab, and many other household names.

The Y Combinator program boasts of an acceptance rate of less than two percent. It’s harder to get into than Harvard or Stanford.

Although PayMongo’s founders are no stranger to the startup world; the backing of YC mentorship, connections, and general resources are surely nothing to scoff at. Following Kalibrr’s continuous growth since their acceptance to the same accelerator in 2013, we have hopes in PayMongo following similar – if not stronger – successes as the FinTech industry seems to have paved the way for their continued boom.

By Demo Day, PayMongo seeks to further capitalize on their successes by raising more funding in its seed round, building its product and engineering, as well as acquiring more partners and merchants to get on the platform’s private beta.

Looking at PayMongo’s future

Currently based in Manila, PayMongo is Francis Plaza (CEO), Luis Sia (COO), Jaime Hing (CTO), and Edwin Lacierda.

You can sign up for early-access to the platform on the PayMongo website. is making tech political.

Just like everything else. There’s a growing need to make the things we build more intentional, and that comes with the awareness that technology has the power to inform rather than dissuade. For the Philippine 2019 Elections, the student-led team behind is making sure of that.

Last December 2018, Developh launched the Build Fellowship to connect student developers and creators with mission-based projects. Aside from partnerships with NGOs and companies to build on existing projects or provide services, an interesting aspect of the Fellowship is its ability to support ventures from the ground-up. Through this, from conceptualization to teambuilding to development to launch, Developh creates along with the student team. Any resources, monetary and publicity needs of the like are are supported along the way.

As part of the Build Fellowship’s first cohort, quickly launched and mobilized itself as a voter education tool for the Philippine 2019 Midterm Elections. Campaigning for progressives, the website serves as an accessible resource to highlight and collate information about different senatoriables in the midterm race. In a period cluttered with buzzwords, advertisements, and a severe lack of clarity–all we really need is information, straight-up.

Ka Leody De Guzman’s page on, at’s landing page greets you with a minimal list, reading “putting progressive candidates forward.” Each senatoriable’s page is filled with information and sources on their political stances, a summary of their work, detailed information on their platforms, experiences, biodata, and other noteworthy highlights (such as important campaigns and causes they’ve espoused). The website also provides direct links to where you can volunteer for their campaign–information that is generally harder to find if you’re not too entwined in the senatoriable’s intimate support groups already.

For underrated candidates, is invaluable. Of the 62 candidates in the running for Senate, less than 10 have a functional website dedicated to their cause: this would be a bare minimum expectation in many other countries. It’s easy to get clouded in campaign jingles and tarpaulins, but that can only convey so much about a candidate. When you drop an link, you’re greeted with a candidate’s preview and are brought to a foundation that can bring you to learn so much more about them–raising their voices and (hopefully!) furthering their campaign.

By focusing on (subjectively chosen) progressive candidates that embody platforms and programs supported by proven experience and track record, differentiates itself through intent. The voices and faces that we champion on social media need to be carefully considered. By driving conversation to many underrated yet impactful candidates in a heavily skewed race, the team behind the project seeks to enliven their cause to the masses–in a time where it is more necessary than ever.

Politics has always been palated as something conversational–something that can’t live in dinner tables and should be avoided altogether. Part of the goal behind is to rethink that view. Ignorance, and at worst–apathy, towards politics has driven us into an age of spectacle-driven politics in love with populism. That sentence in itself is possibly a death sentence, but it’s a hard truth. Avoiding politics in technology has led to a lot of dangerous implications with the things we build; from the neglect of diversity across our societies or ignorance towards the ethics of machine learning and artificial intelligence–what right do we have to build if not without considering the political?

Aside from the voter education platform, also offers online tools that allow people to generate their own “kodigos” (cheatsheets) for elections that they can use to campaign for candidates they believe in. With a growing social presence, the team has also been active with a blog and on different social channels, sharing live news, campaign updates, and electoral controversies.

Currently, is worked on by the following: Carmen Castro, Chiara Amisola, Carol Anne Balita, Christine Dizor, Gabby Gomez, Josh Valentin, Leo Jaminola, Philly Tan, and Moira Vergel de Dios.
The project started with one individual and scaled up immensely, with fellows from Developh and all around the Philippines. garnered over 70,000 hits in its week of launch.

For more information on how Developh supports student ventures, see

Get those Summer ’19 internships

On technology, design, entrepreneurship, and everything adjacent with creation: what better time to go out and make an impact than in the summer?Aside from gaining critical work experience (or, filling in your school’s required OJT hours), internships are an incredible way to get a sense of direction for your career early on. You can figure out what you like or dislike, see the kind of environment and work ethics that could vary greatly from industry to industry or even per city, and help affirm your major choices or the skills you’d like to develop. Another thing is that the right internship could be incredibly fulfilling — introducing you to incredible colleagues (and building on connections that could be invaluable later on) and generating work that you personally find meaningful and passionate about that can’t be found in your classroom.

With that being said, here’s a list of internship openings around Metro Manila and some words of advice for you to chase those roles. Whether you’re an overachieving high school student new to the game or a college student filling in last minute plans — go and get it!

The Career Board

Developh has curated a living career board with internships and opportunities for the summer. Check it out on Github:!

The Career Board is updated whenever we find something new!

If you have an opportunity to add, feel free to drop a message or create a pull request on the board.

Some words of advice

On your resume & cover letter

  • If asked for a resume, keep it to one page!
    Even the best workers can find a way to condense all information to one. Don’t include random seminars, events, or the fact that you participated in a Battle of the Bands (unless you are obviously applying for something music-related); keep it to experiences in and out of school relevant to what you’re applying for–it can be a national organization, something you volunteered for once, a club, a personal project… but make sure they’re the things that stand out and are relevant.

  • Don’t be afraid to alter your resume for each position.
    Especially since you’re a student and have less specialized and broader experiences, bring more emphasis into activities, work experience, etc. that are involved with the type of job you’re applying for.
  • Organize things chronologically.
    For work positions and experiences, it is best for it to be from most recent to least recent. Remember, the first thing they see will likely be what they will most remember.
  • Keep it clean and easy.
    Make fonts consistent, communicate experiences with action items and numbers, don’t use colors or make your layout complex (the cleaner, the better). Do not place a photo of yourself, you don’t need your address either: just your name, email, contact number, website or LinkedIn if you have one. You don’t need an “objective” or a “summary” either, you’re addressing those things in the customized interest letter you’re sending in–right?
  • Indicate your availability!
    Especially if your internship is physical, or your time is limited, including your timeframe of availability (in dates as well as time of the day if you have classes) will help save from further discussion later on.

On the job

  • Pay attention to the expected work hours, role responsibilities, and program duration.
    Good questions to ask are: will there be work outside of office, will travel be compensated? What’s your work culture like? What does the experience of your interns look like, and what’s something of value that they’ve brought to the post?

  • Be communicative and responsive.
    This is the most important thing! If you can’t make a date or have any questions, don’t hesitate to email your supervisor or colleagues. Keep things concise, don’t be overapologetic. It’s hard, yeah.

  • You deserve to be compensated.
    Don’t hesitate to ask about any stipends or support for travel, food, or parking. (If there’s anything on the career board that doesn’t follow this, please let us know.)

  • The best internship is one where you can bring value in.
    Although titles are nice, what matters after is the impact you’ve had in your time at the company (such as deliverables you worked on or quantitatives on what you brought). Remember, people and companies will be asking you about experiences and situations you handled on the job.

Parting words

Internships didn’t work out? Work on side projects, volunteer, start a wild venture. Although they’re the classical way of showing experience — the truth is, internships can sometimes be unfulfilling and actually leave you disappointed at the lack of your impact that could totally be on the company, and not on you.

Nevertheless, go for it. Talk to people who’ve previously worked, ask them questions about the culture, what’s coming up–stand your ground, but also be humble and proactive. Internships are an amazing time to get a taste of the real-world while actually adding value to things amazing teams are building.

So ready yourself up, be honest and persevere, and go for it!