We are happy to share that Smile continues to grow its customer base as it lives by the faith that one's employment and income data should be a basic right -- much like the legal doctrine of "beneficial use" or the right to use one's property in any lawful manner to gain a profit, advantage, or enjoyment from it.
In our press event held a couple of days ago, we announced that among the latest Filipino companies to have joined our portfolio of customers are B2B logistics provider TaranaPH and fintech startup Plentina. Prior to them, we had linked with over 30 employment platforms, covering majority of gig workers in the Philippines, including several others in Indonesia.
The new business customers were convinced to use our Application Programming Interface (API) technology as it connects people's employment and income data to financial services easily and hassle-free.
Plentina as an app-based Buy-Now-Pay-Later service, lauded our ability to deliver data even for the unbanked and underserved.
"Fifteen percent of our current customers can be served by its platform. As we develop both our technologies, we can see a chance of that percentage growing higher and higher over time. Smile API will allow us to unlock more than 90% of the Philippines’ labor force based on their scope and coverage," said Plentina Product Manager Ashley Uy.
"With Smile API, we project an improvement of around 12% in our approval rates, with the partnership moving forward," Ashley added.
Our latest announcement of customers also highlighted our flexibility in industry or worker coverage. Catering almost entirely to fintech-related use cases, we are also able to add value in the logistics B2B space with Tarana PH.
Tarana PH COO Analyn Quizon, said our API platform will help their company to reduce recruitment processing time. They will use Smile's services to quickly expand their delivery fleet to meet customers’ growing demands.
"Prior to Smile API, 20,000 applications used to take weeks to process but it can now be done in a matter of seconds. With Smile, we are now smiling," Analyn quipped.
Analyn also shared they were looking forward in working with us to onboard Tarana's merchants and partners to its API including the integration of their company's two other platforms the fulfillment platform TupadPH and e-commerce platform BayanihanPH.
Finance Data Pipeline
Our CEO Jerome Eger clarified that in contrast to a data processing company, we are an information infrastructure with our API network serving as a pipeline or bridge that solves the gap between the public and financial institutions specifically on accessibility of employment and income data.
By making employment data history in API format available, we are able to help fintech companies to develop and offer lending and credit products to the marginalized sector, mostly the unbanked, which the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas disclosed represents 41 million or 53% of the country's population.
Smile's business model is the company's humble contribution in addressing the country's need for innovations within the Open Finance framework, a modern system in the field of financial services that allows for the application of a more holistic approach in improving financial inclusion since it deals with finance data as a whole and not just bank data.
Jerome pointed out that we are able to empower workers by practicing the same principle of Open Finance, and that is information from individuals whether employment or income data are owned and should be controlled by them.
"At Smile API, we believe that access to your own data is a basic right,” Jerome said. "We serve as a bridge between you and your financial goals. Because if you have no data, you are excluded from a lot of services that ensure livelihood and improve quality of life which are important for our daily ins and outs. Three out of ten Filipinos don’t get access to credit or financial services at all."
Jerome explained the empowerment of worker happens on the Smile API interface as Smile carries the information basically with the consent of the worker to a slew of use cases like cash lenders, buy now pay later, earned wage access, banks, among many others.
"More data means more information, means less risk, means lower interest rates, and also higher value for workers and society as a whole," Jerome added.
According to our Chief Product Officer Jan Pabellon, the company has dramatically expanded its footprint since its launch in April 2021 as their service now covers 40 million Filipinos, consisting of 25 million salaried employees, 11.7 million self-employed individuals, and 4.1 million government employees.
"Our mission is to cover all Asia as well but there's a big opportunity here in the Philippines," Jan said.