A young company is disrupting the business process outsourcing industry, as it allows its Filipino employees to work at home and earn a much higher income than the industry average while delivering the best services to US clients.
“We are about growing people and helping companies grow,” says Kate Ringcodan, the 24-year-old co-founder of CrewBloom.
CrewBloom, a two-year-old company, connects US clients to highly-skilled BPO professionals in the Philippines. All positions in the company are home-based, which enables CrewBloom to charge clients less and pay its employees more.
Base pay is about 50 percent or higher than the industry average, on top of commissions received by those in the sales functions. CrewBloom, which has a core team of 15 plus 30 other employees in different cities in the Philippines reporting to various US clients, is on expansion mode to meet the needs of increasing number of customers, says Ringcodan, who has a degree in Biology from the University of the Philippines.
“What makes CrewBloom different from other outsourcing companies is that first, we are home-based. There is no need to commute so it saves you time. You could be with your family. Second is the pay. We provide better wages for our people. Third is the quality of talent. We don’t just accept anyone. We have the best people. For us to support that, we need to be super strict with the screening process. Fourth, we want long-term partnerships with our clients,” she says.
“All are home-based. We started and built the company by operating remotely. We use tools and applications to monitor how our employees work,” she says.
Ringcodan met CrewBloom founder Brianna Carney through Craigslist in 2014, when the then 28-year-old New Yorker posted an ad to start building her own company in Asia, after working for major US companies such as Amazon.com.
Carney, who is a frequent traveler and participant in international marathons, was impressed by the high level of English proficiency in the Philippines and the competitive labor cost in the country.
“In New York City, they are very costly. I put an ad on CraigsList and met Kate, my co-founder. She single-handedly proved my hypothesis that there are incredibly sophisticated, instinctual, innovative professionals that work relentlessly in markets far less expensive than the US. We’ve been working together ever since,” says Carney, referring to Ringcodan.
“I quickly learned the impact the BPO industry had, in particular in India and the Philippines. During my time in Manila, I met arguably the most capable professionals I had ever met who spoke better English than I did. It was this trip that helped CrewBloom take flight,” says Carney.
Carney put Ringcodan in charge of hiring top talents in the Philippines, while she handled client relations in New York and other parts of the US. They established the company on their own, without tapping other investors.
The home-based working model has quickly paid off, allowing the co-founders to hire more people and expand within a few months. CrewBloom initially recruited salespeople, but client inquiries about other services encouraged Carney and Ringcodan to hire positions in customer service and non-voice roles.
“We have around 12 clients who are happy with our services. Our clients are mostly SMEs. But we have recently closed an account with around 700 employees,” says Ringcodan.
Carney says CrewBloom serves organizations of all sizes in need of human capital to scale. “We work in industries from pharma to fintech, education to marketing. The common denominator between all of our clients is that they have a proven, replicable formula. They know what works and what doesn’t and are in need of top caliber professionals to scale,” she says.
Carney says people usually don’t want to commute to the office and work in an uncomfortable environment for less than attractive compensation. “CrewBloom finds the top 2 percent of professionals, allows them to work remotely and connects them with companies they love working for. We started organically,” she says.
“We believe that the home is the workplace of the future,” says Carney.
Carney says to support the needs of its clients, CrewBloom will launch a portal this quarter to help clients manage, grow and track their teams. “They will be able to oversee performance, alongside evaluating, interviewing and selecting new team members,” she says.
The plan, she says, is to continue to improve as the company grows. “Internally there will be a focus on social corporate responsibility, understanding our obligation to better the communities we operate in. There will be a massive focus on product and launching all aspects of our client and contractor portals,” she says.
Carney, who was born in Minnesota and took entrepreneurial studies at University of Minnesota, admits that CrewBloom is highly selective with the professionals it accepts, “unlike call centers who are known to accept anyone who can walk and talk.”
“Our excitement for the future cannot be measured. We believe the remote model and global workforce will be leveraged at greater scale with the help of CrewBloom. We have aggressive plans for growth in front of us and are excited to exceed our goals,” says Carney, who lives and work in Brooklyn.
Ringcodan, on her part, says she loves the fact that CrewBloom is improving the lives of its employees. “Our employees are very happy. They get to work at home, without spending two to three hours in daily commute. They can also watch their children as they grow. And they could earn good money. This also makes us very happy because we are making a difference,” says Ringcodan.
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