Burning through millions of capital a month is not uncommon for startups as they chase aggressive growth goals. The expectation is that a company’s revenue will rise exponentially as it dominates its position in intensely competitive markets and profitability will inevitably creep past zero and then grow rapidly. However, a Philippine-based media startup has a different idea in mind—bootstrap the company and aim for profitability from day one.
Alfred Cardenas, a serial startup founder who started Jungle—a $1 million “buy now, pay later” fintech startup based in Singapore—launched his finance-themed news and media startup last May of this year. In an email interview, Cardenas noted that his new media startup, The Financial Today, was successful with their profitability strategy—posting an undisclosed 7-digit profit from their Philippine operations.
“I’ve made several businesses from the past and most of them were bootstrapped that allowed me to be creative in finding ways to be profitable as quickly as possible or the business will die,” Cardenas added.
The Financial Today is a business and financial news and media organization that provides essential news and stories while publishing its quarterly digital magazine that they distribute to their thousands of readers with no cost.
“Our strategy is simple, publish a quarterly magazine that aims to inspire and inform Filipinos nationwide and abroad and remove the barrier by giving readers access to the magazine without any costs. This enabled us to secure over 21,000 magazine subscribers in just a week,” Cardenas stated.
According to Cardenas, TFT generates profits through traditional channels like ads on their magazine and news website, but their main profit-driver is the company’s TFT 5000 list, an annual ranking of the top 5,000 most trusted licensed financial advisors and real estate practitioners in the country.
“There are industry-specific awards and honors like the MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) for finance professionals but consumers, most of the time, do not understand what it is and how these recognitions can help them. That’s why we created the TFT 5000 list so that the investing public can have access to a database of the most trusted and vetted professionals in the country,” Cardenas explained. “This makes their search more efficient since they can filter the list by ranking and location to find a professional they want to work with,” he added.
Although already profitable, Cardenas has no plans to spend too much as he plans to keep his team relatively small in size. “We’ve reached profitability with just a very small team, I believe we can achieve more without rushing to grow our company size. Instead, we’ll reinvest the earnings we generated so we can improve our content, expand our audience, and provide more creative ways to serve the market,” Cardenas stated.