In 2009 we opened the first TaskUs office in the Philippines. We rented a small room, on the third floor of an old building in Bacoor, Cavite. The floors beneath us housed an elementary school and an auto body shop. Jaspar and I had started TaskUs nine months earlier and invested our life savings. We experimented with hiring contractors from 16 different countries and finally decided that we needed to open our own central office to control quality.
When we arrived in the Philippines, we only had a few thousand dollars left in our bank account, barely enough to purchase desks and PCs and put a deposit on the residential DSL line that would support our first year in business. But what we lacked in cash we made up for in spirit. We hired five talented, hard working Filipino teammates and got to work supporting businesses in the United States.
The first few years were a struggle — typhoons, power outages, Internet failures. We came close to bankruptcy on more than one occasion. But in every situation we were buoyed by the resiliency and positivity of the Filipino people. Our team stood together, worked hard and impressed our clients. In time, we earned the trust of some of today’s fastest growing startups. As these companies grew so too did their need for outsourced customer care and back office services. TaskUs was born of American entrepreneurial spirit and Filipino determination.
Today we have grown to more than 1,200 teammates supporting 60 of the world’s most innovative companies, and with this success comes responsibility. Which is why I am proud to announce TaskUs’ commitment to invest at least $25 million in the Philippines over the next three years, so that we can fulfill our mission of bringing meaningful employment to as many people as possible. Our goal is to employ 10,000 Filipino people by the end of 2017.
This year we started on this investment program by opening a brand new office in Imus, Cavite. Our new, five story building isn’t like the offices at most business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. To start with its located in Cavite, a province more than an hour south of Metro Manila. When we first opened in Cavite it was because we could not afford a fancy office in the Metro area. But we have decided to stay in Cavite because that is where our people live and, if you know about commuting in Manila, you’ll understand why proximity between home and work is important.
Most BPOs open in corporate offices in the center of Manila because they need to have presentation-worthy locations that are convenient for Western clients to visit. I know this because in addition to our office in Imus, we have also opened a very fancy office in the Fort Bonifacio (in the center of Metro Manila) for clients and training. The problem with these offices is that they force staff to commute one or two hours each way in the back of a jeepney or bus.
In stark contrast, TaskUs employees working in Imus live 10 or 20 minutes from the office. Instead of commuting they get to spend a few more hours with their families each day. There may not be any fancy high rises in Cavite, but if you were to ask most of our team whether they would rather sit in the back of a packed jeepney for two hours a day to get to work in a fancy high rise , or spend those two hours with their kids and work at TaskUs, which do you think they would choose?
Over the next three years we will open more offices, just like our offices in Imus. Creative, professional, fun office space, close to where people actually live.
TaskUs is not your typical BPO. We do work for fun, exciting startups rather than big boring companies, we don’t have wealthy investors backing us and we have consciously decided to open offices outside the reach of creature comforts that exist in major metropolitan areas. We have risen to success because of the hard work and determination of our people. I am proud that we are reinvesting the fruits of this success where our people and their families live.