Xurpas Acquires Stake in STORM

NEWLY listed mobile content provider Xurpas Inc. has recently acquired a 51 percent stake in local technology firm STORM Benefits (Storm Flex Systems, Inc) for around $4.3 million.

STORM has developed a proprietary platform that greatly enhances the employee benefits system of some of the country’s leading local conglomerates, business process outsourcing, and fast-moving consumer good companies in Metro Manila and Cebu, Xurpas said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday.

The platform allows employees of any company that has signed with STORM to exchange their current employee benefits and transform them into a wide range of products and services — such as gadgets and dining, a private carpool system, doctor consultations on demand, all the way to donations for charitable causes.

By giving them the power of choice, the platform seeks to make employees happier and more productive, while their employers are seen to get substantial gains in their ability to attract, retain and excite people.

“At Xurpas, we have always said our business is simple: we tap networks which allow us to efficiently reach potential users, and we create or acquire the best products to sell to these users. Until today, we have been distributing digital products to users on mobile telcos’ networks. The acquisition of STORM signals our expansion into an entirely new distribution network, and into the selling of physical goods and services,” Xurpas president and chief executive officer, Nico “Nix” Jose Nolledo, said in a press statement.

“And because STORM’s clients are able to provide their employees with an effectively wider range of benefits, it is yet another example of how technology can provide companies an ‘unfair advantage’ in the most unlikely areas such as employee attraction and retention.”

Nolledo noted that since inception, STORM had demonstrated “truly exponential growth,” with revenue increasing five-fold over the 2013 to 2014 period.

“We are joining forces with Xurpas because we strongly believe that it is the ideal partner to help us realize our vision of building better employee lives through the provision of better benefits. We feel this partnership will allow us to achieve the next stages of growth and development in the region. There is a tremendous opportunity ahead of us,” said Peter Cauton, CEO of STORM.

STORM intends to use proceeds from this deal to further develop its benefits platform, accelerate growth locally, and branch out to other markets in Southeast Asia. It currently serves 15,000 client employees, a number seen doubling this 2015 after the buy-in deal with Xurpas.

“The business has been running successfully for the past two years, and can boast of a truly astounding growth trajectory. It has a sound revenue generation model which is both unique and exportable to other markets. So we consider it as one of the great inroads to regional expansion,” said Nolledo.