LYKA bullish in 2022 as it awaits license from BSP

Social media and shopping app LYKA is bullish that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will grant its application as an operator of payment system (OPS) as it prepares to resume operations in the first quarter of 2022.

Lyka founder and CEO Ryan Baird

This is according to a top official of Digital Spring, the official marketing arm of LYKA in the Philippines during an interview over the weekend at online tech show TechSabado.

“Right now, LYKA is cooperating with the central bank for the approval of its OPS. Everything is being processed and we are trying to fulfill all of the requirements of the BSP,” said Francis Hussein Mamasabulod, head of strategic commercial partnerships at Digital Spring.

Mamasabulod said LYKA wants to restart operations to enable its more than 28,000 Filipino merchants to resume their business activities.

He also stressed LYKA is eager to show to its merchants that the company is a responsible business organization that aims to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow.

He said LYKA will embark on an expansion program with a focus on the Visayas and Mindanao because its strong growth potentials. “We’re planting the seeds right now in those areas,” he said.

The Ryan Baird-led LYKA, which actually started in Silicon Valley, said it is excited about the Philippine market. With an estimated population of 110 million and 76 million of which are active on social media, Mamasabulod said the country is a perfect platform to determine whether an app can fail or succeed.

Unlike the other traditional social media platforms, Mamasabulod said LYKA is the only app that gives opportunities to users to earn while using the app,. “With LYKA, we value the time spent by our users and at the same time make them feel good,” he said.

When a user rates someone and does anything using the app, he or she will earn certain points or the G-iftcard in Electronic M-ode (GEMs). The company said the LYKA GEM is the “first paperless, contactless, and seamless” social gift card in the world.

By operating in an inclusive business environment, Mamasabulod said Lyka merchants can use the LYKA GEMS to buy goods and services. The value of 1 GEM is P1.

“What we have right now is a very inclusive business model. What we want to do is help the MSMEs and the big brands to engage in e-commerce. Regardless of what you have as long as you transact money online and a physical store, you can be part of LYKA,” Mamasabulod explained.

Asked about app’s business model, Mamasabulod said LYKA gets a certain percentage from every transaction performed by its merchants. “Merchants can have access to around 11 million users of LYKA,” he said.

Since LYKA is very targeted, Mamasabulod said MSMEs can directly engage with the consumers. He said it is also part of the company’s initiative to enable MSMEs to go digital without going through the hassles of procuring their own IT infrastructure.

To broaden consumer choices, LYKA aims to get one million stock-keeping units (SKU) in its LYKA Mall to give users more options in the use of their GEMs.

Furthermore, Mamasabulod said it plans to boost LYKA Grocery’s presence to serve more areas outside the National Capital Region and in five nearby provinces. This will also see expansion of the bills payment capability for its users, he added.

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