Cebuanos build on-demand contact center startup

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

CREATING a call center company in just two to three hours might seem impossible but a Cebuano startup is making that possible.

Mark Anthony Lapuz and Vince Loremia, who have had years of experience in the business process outsourcing industry in Cebu, opened their own startup KallFly, an “on-demand contact center market place. “

KallFly, which gained the support of Singapore-based Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI), bridges the traditional call center system and the virtual workforce. Lapuz, the founder, said, “it connects businesses with experienced home-based call center agents.”


KallFly now has 520 virtual call center agents, 95 percent of them Filipinos, whom interested companies can tap anytime after signing up. Nine companies, from Australia, United States, Singapore, and Philippines, have already availed themselves of KallFly’s services.

Companies who are looking for more call center agents or even those who have not ventured into the business yet can sign up in KallFly’s website where they can upload their script and grant access, launch agents and immediately start the operation.

Lapuz said companies will just have to pay $1.5 per hour to KallFly and $2.5 per hour to the call center agent. This is half the cost required in setting up a traditional call center company, he said.

According to a document forwarded by Loremia published by JFDI, it usually takes two weeks for a new client to set up a new job campaign under the traditional contact center process. The clients have to pay for over provisioned capacity, with a “minimum order” of seven to 10 call center agents, and an initial deposit of $1,000.


Loremia serves as chief executive officer for KallFly.

“What KallFly is solving is the cost, tediousness and the time spent in setting up a call center (business),” Lapuz added.

In turn, call center agents can work from home. They just have to create a profile on KallFly and upload a recorded sample of their voice.

Lapuz said this will primarily benefit women, especially mothers, who prefer to work at home.

“Seventy percent of call center agents are women and thirty percent are single mothers,” he said.

To ensure quality, Lapuz said agents should have experience working in the call center industry.

There will also be a feedback and rating system and real time monitoring. Business owners can remotely listen to live calls handled by the agent where they can coach the latter without being heard by the other person on the line.

Call center agents are given the option to raise their hourly rates if they have performed well.

“That’s the good thing about Kallfly and other (marketplace) sites like Odesk, you can earn more,” Lapuz said.

It was Amazon Mechanical Turk which set the platform of connecting “human labor with tasks defined by business.” The popular oDesk connected employers to freelancers. 99designs focused on the graphic design industry.

“We do the same thing for the call center industry,” KallFly said.

While Internet connectivity was raised as an issue for home-based call center agents in the Philippines, Lapuz said KallFly only requires a small bandwidth of 100 kbps.

Loremia said the Internet connection in the country is getting better now with telcos doing major improvements on their communication infrastructure.

Internet in the Philippines is also expected to go cheaper as new players enter the industry, added Loremia.

The team will be going back to Singapore soon to look for funding from investors.

Lapuz said they are eyeing to raise P19 million to sustain KallFly’s operations for the next 18 to 24 months.

JFDI has poured in 125,000 Singaporean dollars to KallFly. The startup is the only Filipino team, together with Codetoki, that has been incubated by JFDI since it started in 2012.

In the next two to three years, KallFly is eyeing to cater to the needs of businesses looking for Korean, Japanese, German and Spanish-speaking agents.

Loremia expressed optimism on the rising call center industry in the Philippines, noting that 70 percent of the accounts handled by India before were transferred in the country last year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 18, 2014.


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