For the past two years, local outsourcing platform Marti has been connecting Filipino freelancers and studios with tech startups in the US, providing them with gigs via legitimate clients and rates that are 30- to 40-percent higher than those in the Philippines. Marti also makes sure Filipino freelancers and studios get paid on time.
The outsourcing platform, which has an office in San Francisco in the US, is a productized service of digital services agency Makisu.co LLC.
Marti found a way to address common problems facing Filipino freelance workers, such as delayed payments and non-payment, via the Stripe payment gateway. The outsourcing platform uses the online payment system to charge the tech startups — its clients — on time. By doing this, Marti also gets to pay the freelancers and studios on time.
“When freelancers apply to Marti, they’re encouraged to package their services into a single, monthly price that they’re satisfied with. Our customers pay upfront using a credit and debit card as opposed to bank transfer, which adds to the guarantee that payments are delivered,” said Xyrene Eustaquio, marketing director of Makisu Software Consulting Services.
For cross-border remittances, the platform taps Paxos, Wyre, and Bloom to get the best exchange rates and ensure that the freelancers get the highest rate possible.
Services are also bound by contracts to which all parties involved are liable.
Marti’s pool of vetted freelancers and studios from the Philippines is composed of talented individuals with proven track records in their respective fields. Thus, they are capable of delivering high-quality performance in virtual assistance, graphic design, web development, software development, UI/UX design, social media management, front end and backend development and other gig opportunities available in tech startups.
According to Eustaquio, Filipino freelancers bring a lot to the table, aside from being able to communicate in perfect English with no accent.
“Filipinos are creative, hardworking, highly skilled, and reliable people. They can handle almost any type of work and will do it with passion. They have a work-hard mentality that ensures you get the highest quality output. Filipinos are competitive on the global scale,” she said, “they just need the right opportunities, network and deal flow to succeed.”
Indeed, the right opportunity for Filipino freelancers came to mind for Xavi Ablaza, Marti’s CEO and founder, right on American soil.
“Xavi is living in the US, so he saw the opportunity there. Freelancers can earn more as the rates in the US are higher compared to the Philippine rate. On the other hand, our customers will get the best freelancers for their projects without the HR hassle,” explained Eustaquio, adding that they handle the nitty gritty of business operations and HR matters.
Marti also features an automated accounts payable management system which the freelancers can access.
Another feature of the platform is Marti Chat, a built-in technology that allows the Filipino freelancers, studios and their tech startup clients from the US to communicate directly.
Add to this Marti’s account manager who regularly checks up on the freelancers to know their concerns.
“We value our freelancers’ interests as much as we value those of our customers, because if we don’t, the only thing that will happen is that the customer will be let down by the freelancer,” Eustaquio said, “which is what we are trying to prevent.”