24 Apr 2020, 13:30 — 10 min read
Working overseas for eight years allowed Warren Van Perez, founder of Tradersturf.Energy, to see the vast opportunities of the Philippines from a broader perspective.
With this, he returned to the Philippines with a heart not only to create job opportunities but also to help businesses make environmental impact through eliminating energy waste.
Although energy efficiency is not on the top of mind of businesses and even larger corporations in the Philippines, Warren is passionate to educate businesses and make them understand the importance of eliminating energy waste, which can also help drive down costs.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Warren Van Perez (WP) shares his business journey on how he is raising awareness to help businesses reduce energy costs. He also shares a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on why it is important to start young.
WP: It began with a few side hustles in the middle of my 8-year stint as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Singapore together with my wife. From buying stuff from the US and China and selling them online, winning a startup idea competition, and to earning a partnership with a UK-based energy services organization.
With the partnership, it led us to establish Tradersturf.Energy and we decided to move back to the Philippines. The rising number of Filipino consumers and the rapid technological advancements will continue to drive up our demand for energy. With the rising energy cost and its damaging effects on the environment, it is timely that we deliver solutions that will make facilities in the Philippines become energy efficient.
WP: We make energy consumption visible in real-time. We monitor, target, and achieve energy savings for clients, so they don't have to do it alone. These are all made possible by our UK-designed IoT and AI-powered Energy Monitoring System.
We digitize and modernize the client’s energy monitoring process to realize energy savings through energy efficiency. We don’t just sell a product and wish them luck, but we offer our products as part of a service package. Continuous monitoring is key because once you lose that visibility, your whole facility and its occupants will easily go back to their wasteful ways.
Using less energy has an environmental impact especially for a country like ours that is overly dependent on coal. We impart these messages to businesses looking for a deeper meaning as to why they should do it.
The best part is clients can avail of our products and services with zero initial capital. Under a shared savings contract, we only charge our clients a portion of the amount of energy savings that we’re able to deliver. The project will finance itself.
WP: Using social media, particularly LinkedIn given that the nature of the business is B2B. Online presence is essential but we cannot discredit the traditional means such as referrals and word of mouth coming from our own professional and personal levels of network.
WP: Energy efficiency is not on the top of mind of businesses not even the larger corporations in the Philippines. Instinctively, businesses drive up revenue to survive but they should also make it their primary goal to drive down cost. For most, the spend on electricity alone is so substantial that saving worth of 20% from electricity can effectively bump up their margins by at least a point. It’s our job to make businesses realize that these opportunities are already present within them. There is money to be made in eliminating energy waste if only they were visible. And that’s ultimately what we will do for them.
Businesses are cautious in putting up additional capital and manpower when engaging in new programs such as Energy Efficiency, which is why we have made it more frictionless by offering it under a shared savings program. No capital expense required and no additional manpower or man hours as we will do the monitoring and achieve that energy savings for them.
Being energy efficient also brings longevity to the equipment as a result of optimized performance. Most importantly, using less energy has an environmental impact especially for a country like ours that is overly dependent on coal. We impart these messages to businesses looking for a deeper meaning as to why they should do it. By then, we’ll be able to ask them the questions: When do you want to start eliminating energy wastes while saving money and the environment in the process?
Educating our team is also essential. Expanding our knowledge and skills in the technology that we use and the industries where they can be applied will do a lot in figuring out how we can deliver better service to businesses and bring them more savings. We need to increase our value to the businesses and maintain their trust. If we earn their trust then we earn that opportunity to work with them on large scale projects. It builds the brand for other potential clients to take notice.
WP: GlobalLinker has helped us bring awareness to other local SMEs on what we do. Likewise, it is a very useful tool in sourcing for services that we might need. Members of GlobalLinker undergo verification so there is this certainty that all the companies and individuals within the platform can be trusted.
The resources that can be found within the platform are valuable and are tailored to the local business environment. Every SME should be encouraged to be a part of this community. We need more SMEs to join GlobalLinker to ignite a more abundant collaboration for us to increase our knowledge coming from the collective expertise and experiences of all SMEs.
Also read: How to start digitizing your business
WP: I would ask them to visualize where they want to be and reverse engineer their path to get there. In hindsight, it’s always easier to connect the dots. Have a mentor that you can emulate. Read books or materials that will keep you motivated. Be patient and recognize that it might take months and years to gain traction and be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Keep doing things that are aligned with your aspirations and if you get side-tracked, your brain needs to be programmed to get back on track and keep pushing forward. Don’t lose track of what’s more important: our spirituality and family. Do it to impress the Lord and you will be guided accordingly.
If I could speak to my younger self, I would tell him to start doing it now. Time is our greatest asset and being young is the best time to start taking risks and experience things. If I failed, I’d still be young enough to take on another. You can gain back money but not time.
WP: We are looking at rolling out multi-site installations. The greatest impact that we can make will be on the quick service or fast food restaurant and convenience store sectors.
We have new IoT retrofits lined up which will be out in the coming months. These retrofits will enable remote control of air-conditioners and other energy-intensive equipment. Smart sensors that will take into account store occupancy for the AC’s performance and steam sensors to control cooker hood fan speeds, among others. All these will aid us in delivering more energy savings to the client.
Be patient and recognize that it might take months and years to gain traction and be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
• Every day I wake up at – 8:00-9:00 AM. Not a morning person, more of a night owl. I sleep between 12:00MN- 3:00AM. I’m more productive in the afternoon and night time when it’s quiet.
• The first thing I do when I wake up -Stretch and drink coffee.
• Three things I do to unwind/ relax are:
1. Consume content (books, online articles, podcasts, zen or classical tunes on Spotify)
2. Play and cuddle with my kids
• When I face a big challenge - Ask the Lord to give me strength and guidance to take it on. I think carefully to find a way to tackle the challenge and consult with the people around me. I always put things in perspective, asking myself what’s the worst thing that could happen if I mess up. That gives me perspective on how much I’ll be risking and that will determine the type of decisions to be made moving forward.
• The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is - There’s always that someone who has a bigger problem than you. So be thankful and make the most of what you have. I learned it from our theology class in college when we visited a prison.
To explore business opportunities, link with Warren Van Perez by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his profile.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members.