This is Generation T: Career Candids, a recurring article series wherein we talk with some of our Gen T 2017 Top 50 listers to find out more about their roads to success. In this exclusive interview, read all about their backgrounds, careers, struggles, high points, inisghts into the industry, and get some some excellent advice too!
Chow Paredes’ family background has nothing to do with her current career path, and no she was never a ‘techie’ person to begin with. However, when the opportunity presented itself, this go-getter found her calling and a new-found passion.
This yoga lover developed and co-founded the Philippine tech startup, ZipMatch, in 2012. The website is a real estate marketplace inﬂuential in moving inventory of residential condominiums for sale and rent. To this date, Chow has since raised over US $5M (Php 250M) from local and international investors. ZipMatch continues to shape the local development, and digital marketplace landscape.
“I’m proud to be at the forefront of innovating Philippine real estate through technology,” she says. As it is with the dog-eat-dog world of startups, Chow is perpetually faced with the challenges of later stage investments and sustainable growth, everything happening at full-speed. “With my journey as a tech entrepreneur, I want be a conduit for traditional real estate professionals and businesses to realise that consistent innovation is imperative for the industry.”
How did you conceptualize ZipMatch?
I’ve been in the industry as a licensed real estate broker for 13 years now. The concept came about because I needed to make solutions for my own challenges. I met my co-founder who jointly saw the challenges and opportunities.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Flight attendant! But, I knew I didn’t have the height!
How do you predict the real estate/ecommerce/digital scene will evolve in the country, as time goes by?
I believe we are still in the “awareness” stage right now. With the very traditional industry, most part of the real estate process is still very manual and hard to translate into digital. I believe search is definitely online, while there is still so much red tape and manual work in the mid to late layers of the process - makes the process very very hard to crack to shift to purely digital. But its a great time to be in the space, we know it will shift to be much more online eventually, but it won’t without other facets of real estate improving (i.e titling process, manual viewing / property showing process, etc)
What do you think of current real estate market in the Philippines?
Still going strong after so many years of up-cycle! It's still a sellers market, but not as strong as it was years back. I believe with a large young generation that will be shifting to milestones (getting married, having children, ), the need for real estate will only increase.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs who do not know how or where to start?
Just do it. If you believe and have passion for something - there is no place to fiddle around with an idea. Do it, launch a viable product, run with it, improve it, and see if it works. If it doesn’t...then think of it as part of your MBA!
What advice do you have for those who are new to navigating the real estate market?
Its a hard industry to start in. Relationships are what matters. Take time to learn and be well rounded, your clients will remember and go with you for your professionalism and service. Most of all, do not expect to sell or close. Do you work appropriately and you will see the rewards come in on their own.
What do you think the Philippines needs to do to be more technologically progressive?
Hmmm.. I think a richer ecosystem. Meaning, more like minded entrepreneurs, startups, local and, international funding opportunities, for example. More involvement from the government and improved intfrastructure would be beneficial. It is hard to make and foster an ecosystem work if layers of the cake aren’t there to support one another.
What big lessons have you learned along the way?
Talent is the most valuable asset in a company. The biggest hindrance to the advancement of technology is user behavior -- either adapt to it or build blocks on top of what is there, working off what users respond to.
What do you do when you feel discouraged or when you are facing a hurdle (ex. dealing with haters)?
I talk to my Papa. He is my rock. I also look at my team - they are my inspiration to push forward. Lastly, I take a step back. I take a third perspective from my industry - it pushes me to innovate.
How do you inspire others, those who work for you?
I keep good relationships with my team, I talk to them and take the time to know what motivates them. I am their no.1 cheerleader to help them get to their goals. I put forward what I want from others, try to set the example, as what my former and current leaders have done for me.
How do you handle stress or fear with regards to your career? (ex. when making big decisions or risky moves)
I am more balanced now in terms of making my mind a healthy quiet time. Giving space to the mind and body to rest from work is highly beneficial. I do yoga, meditation, and workout several times a week.
Photography: Ramon Mangila | Styling: Monique Madsen | Make-Up: Al De Leon of MAC Cosmetics | Location: Shangri La at The Fort