How a broken fridge spurs convenience, job opportunities in the Philippines

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In photo: Teko CEO and co-founder Farah Barre

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

When something unexpected happened to an astute person with very strong business acumen, he would find a perfect opportunity in order to fill the gap. This is the inspiring story of Manila-based startup Teko who bridged the service gap in the home appliance repair requests online.

In 2017, Teko’s CEO and co-founder Farah Barre decided to move to the Philippines from the United States and noticed that there is an opportunity to create an online platform that lets homeowners and businesses conveniently request appliance repairs.

Three years after its launch in 2017, the local startup started with only $30,000 capital using his Credit Card, now Teko steps into the limelight post-lockdown, stronger and even more committed to provide convenience and job opportunities to Filipinos than ever before.

The broken fridge

“Our fridge needed repairs at that time and was surprised that for a country full of heavy internet-users, there were no online appliance repair services available” Barre recalled.

“Being the entrepreneur that I am, I thought that if I cannot get a service that allows me to easily book online a reliable technician, I might as well create one. And that’s basically Teko’s origin story,” added Barre.

By June, Barre launched Teko and after gaining initial traction with a prototype, he teamed up with his co-founder Chris Teodoro to bring consumers a convenient, safe, and most of all, digital service to get their appliances repaired.

 

Teko co-founder Chris Teodoro

Empowering local technicians

Teko was focused on providing convenience to the homeowners, but eventually, the demand evolved so did their business model. The startup now serves businesses and works with both technicians and manufacturers to provide consumers with a wider range of services.

Through Teko, hundreds of technicians transitioned out of low-paying wages and have managed to thrive as ‘solopreneurs’. It is also Teko’s proprietary technology that enabled their partner technicians to focus on their careers, while the startup provided the necessary business support such as back-office processes, marketing, and business development.

Even with the threat of pandemics, Teko has continually provided opportunities to technicians, especially those displaced by the current circumstances.

Collaborating with manufacturers

As a company that provides aftersales service, instead of competing against the manufacturers’ service centers, Barre and Teodoro took on the collaborative approach and presented Teko as the missing link in providing optimal aftersales services.

In 2018, Teko launched its first round of funding and received the backing of Concepcion Industrial Corporation (CIC).

This paved the way for the startup to collaborate with manufacturers and propelled Teko to introduce two Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions specifically for manufacturers and distributors, to cost-effectively streamline their aftersales.

Through these solutions, manufacturer and distributor aftersales organizations can tap into Teko’s large pool of partner technicians via its platform.

The startup also offers its technology to digitally power manufacturers’ aftersales organizations with a customized version of its platform.

Through this technology, the entire aftersales process is powered and supported by Teko, enabling manufacturers to easily connect their customers, call centers, service centers, aftersales support teams, and parts suppliers all on a single platform.

Leading the future of home service industry

Starting as a project to satisfy Barre’s personal need in 2017, Teko has evolved into a promising startup that has quadrupled its sales in less than two years, since receiving initial funding from CIC.

While challenges were faced during the pandemic, the startup took the opportunity to emphasize the need for their services following the emerging demands of customers. In fact, it was during the lockdown that Teko recorded its highest number of orders.

“I’d like to think that our business is recession-proof. Teko’s services give homeowners the liberty to prioritize other expenses by providing them a convenient option to get their items repaired, instead of replacing them,” Barre said. “On the other hand, when the economy rebounds and consumers start purchasing new items, Teko is well-positioned to also benefit from their collaboration with manufacturers and distributors.”

Teko is now looking to expand its services geographically and categorically, to support more homeowners, businesses, and technicians.

To know more about Teko, head over to https://teko.ph/.

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