Seby Pelaez drives startup delivery firm with aplomb
By Deneb Batucan
AT such a young age, Seby Pelaez has gradually conquered the startup world. He goes at a sure and steady pace, climbing the exciting albeit challenging ladder of the business world.
At just 23 years old, Seby holds the position of business development head and city manager of Foodpanda Philippines. Foodpanda is a food delivery service where customers have their cravings delivered right at their doorstep at just the click of a button.
A Cebuano at his very core, Seby is proud to call this city his home. Growing up, he had always been a jetsetter with a family who loves to travel. “We make it a point to go somewhere new every summer. However, even if I spent my life traveling, I am always happy to be back home,” he said.
Seby studied in the Cebu International School where his life revolved around playing soccer and video games with his closest friends. After CIS, he took his bachelor’s degree in international finance and economics in Milan at the Universita di Bocconi.
As he was about to graduate, Seby was already pressured to find a job. By then, all his classmates found jobs already. He looked into their university forum for job postings. “I was surprised to find an opening in Cebu for city manager. I applied thinking I wouldn’t get the job because I had no experience, but a few days before flying back home, they asked me for an initial interview. I took the interview, and the day I landed home, I got a call from the CEO who told me I got the job,” he said. And then his Foodpanda journey commenced.
Having his first job at a start-up company meant that Seby was in for a challenge. Basically creating the business from nothing, it was very fulfilling for Seby to be part of the company’s growth and success.
“Seeing your hard work translate to results is very hard to find at your first job,” he said. “I also love the versatility and the ability to continue learning new things every day and being able to put all my wildest ideas to the test.”
The only thing Seby dislikes about his job? “The fact that I have to wear the Foodpanda mascot whenever we have an event. It’s so damn hot!” he said in jest.
As the business development head, Seby’s busies himself at managing the high-potential growth areas in the Philippines for Foodpanda such as Cebu, Alabang, Paranaque and Quezon City. A lot of hard work and creativity goes into his thrust for sales and acquisition in Foodpanda’s target restaurants in these areas as well as creating engaging online and offline marketing campaigns to improve their sales.
One of Seby’s goals is for Foodpanda to cement its place as the number one online platform for food delivery in the Philippines. Their biggest accomplishment to date is acquiring the contract for the Jollibee group, for which Seby is particularly proud of.
In growing a business, Seby believes that these two crucial characteristics should be present: vision and passion. “The vision to see where you are headed, and the passion to drive you there,” he said.
“For a company to last, you would need to make sure your customers are always happy. A happy customer is a loyal customer. At Foodpanda, we have to make sure the customer experience is nothing short of perfect. We constantly monitor our customer feedback and make sure every delivery gets into our customers hands at the right time.”
When Seby is out of the Foodpanda office, he challenges himself in the outdoors by climbing hills and mountains. Hiking is one of Seby’s passions, which he realized a few years back during a trip to South America.
“After wandering alone through the icy trails of Patagonia, I suddenly understood the beautiful yet deadly nature of our world. I now actively search for the challenge that comes with climbing a mountain, only to be rewarded with the amazing backdrop that surrounds us. Currently, my greatest achievement was hiking the immense Peruvian mountains for four days to reach the summit of Macchu Picchu,” he said.
The epitome of a go-getter, Seby gladly takes a challenge and turns it into a learning experience. He overcomes trials and tribulations by looking at them as opportunities to better himself.
Seby hopes to one day manage his own business and get to apply all he has learned with Foodpanda into something that’s truly his. “I have plenty of ideas already, but I’ve learned it’s always about the right timing,” he said.
(*Download the Foodpanda app or visit our website and use the voucher code: WEEKEND100 for P100 off your first order. Valid till Oct. 31 only.)
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Locale: Casa Pelaez