Building A Finance App That Helps Filipino Freelancers Achieve Financial Freedom

Published: June 7th, 2023
Katherine Castro
Founder, Beppo
started June 2021
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
best tools
ActiveCampaign, Ahrefs, Hubspot
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
4 Tips
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Hi there! My name is Katherine Castro, CPA and I am one of the founders of Beppo, an all-in-one finance app designed specifically for Filipino freelancers. Our app features a range of tools to help freelancers manage their finances and taxes, including a cash book, tax projection, invoicing, budgeting, and assisted tax filing. We also have an in-app community where freelancers can connect and share advice and tips.

Our mission is to empower underserved Filipino freelancers to achieve financial freedom by helping them manage their finances, grow their businesses, and access formal financial products.

We understand that freelancers face unique challenges and we want to help solve their problems, one feature at a time. That's why we created Beppo - one app with many features and one goal: financial independence for freelancers.

As someone who's been through the ups and downs of launching a startup, I can tell you that it's not an easy road, but it's worth it

Our month-on-month growth rate has been pretty impressive so far. Over the past months, we've seen our user base grow by over 15%, which is exciting. We're working hard to keep that momentum going and to reach even more freelancers who could benefit from Beppo's tools and resources.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Well, I'm a freelancer myself, and I've been working in the industry for quite some time now. Over that time, I've had to deal with all kinds of financial challenges - everything from invoicing and budgeting to tax preparation and filing. And I know that I'm not alone in these struggles. Many freelancers in the Philippines face these same challenges every day.

It was this shared experience that led me to start thinking about how I could help myself and other freelancers like me. I knew that there had to be a better way to manage our finances and grow our businesses, and I was determined to find it.

After a lot of research and brainstorming, we came up with the idea for Beppo. It would be an all-in-one business app specifically designed for freelancers, with features like Cash Book, Tax Projection, Invoicing, Budgeting, In-App Community, and Assisted Tax Filing. We knew that this app could make a real difference in the lives of Filipino freelancers, and I was excited to get to work on bringing it to life.

We wanted to make sure that our idea for an all-in-one business app for freelancers would be useful and valuable to them, so we did a lot of customer research and validation. We talked to many freelancers in the Philippines and asked them about their biggest pain points and challenges when it came to managing their finances and growing their businesses. We also asked for their feedback on our app idea and what features they would find most helpful.

Through these customer deep dives, we were able to confirm that there was indeed a need for an app like ours, and we gained valuable insights into what features and functionalities would be most beneficial to our target audience. This gave us the confidence to move forward with our idea and start building our app.

As a CPA with experience, I knew that I had the expertise and background to create a product that would be not only helpful but also accurate and reliable. I also knew that there was a huge underserved market of freelancers in the Philippines who needed financial management tools and resources.

At the time, I was in a stable financial and career situation, which allowed me to invest my time and resources into developing and launching our app. I was excited about the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help others achieve financial independence, and I knew that the potential rewards were worth the risks involved in starting a new business.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Building the initial version of our product was an exciting but challenging task. We began by listing the fundamental capabilities that Beppo needed to support freelancers in managing their finances and expanding their businesses. After that, we started building the first features and user interfaces to produce an MVP that would allow us to test the idea with actual users.

During the MVP development of the Beppo app, our tech stack consisted of several key technologies. We utilized React Native for the front-end development, which allowed us to create a cross-platform mobile application efficiently. We adopted the MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js) stack for the backend, leveraging its flexibility and scalability. Additionally, we utilized AWS services such as AWS Data Store, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, and Amazon Lambda to handle data storage, file storage, server hosting, and serverless computing.

To execute the technical aspects of the Beppo app, Marvin Galang, served as the tech co-founder. Marvin brought a wealth of expertise and experience in software development, ensuring the smooth implementation of our tech stack and the creation of a robust and user-friendly app.

The initial user response to the Beppo app was encouraging. Freelancers in the Philippines appreciated our app's convenience and comprehensive features. They found the ability to manage their finances, track expenses, and file freelance taxes in one platform highly valuable.

We had to undertake a lot of initial prototyping to perfect the formula. We created wireframes and prototypes to get a better sense of how the app would look and function. Our team of developers and designers worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail was perfect. We also conducted user testing with a small group of freelancers to gather feedback and make improvements.

Throughout the process, we were mindful of our startup costs and legal obligations. We made sure to comply with all necessary regulations and patents to ensure that we were doing everything above board. It was a lot of work, but we knew that it would pay off in the end.

Looking back on those early days, it's amazing to see how far we've come. We've learned so much from our experiences and have continued to innovate and improve our products along the way.


Describe the process of launching the business.

I was quite excited to unveil our product and see how the market reacted to it. We had spent a lot of time and work developing our MVP and receiving input from early adopters, so it felt amazing to finally move the product forward.

Our launch was a little nerve-racking because we didn't know how many clients we'd get or how quickly we'd gain traction. But we were determined to give it our best, so we employed a mix of online and offline methods to spread the word.

We did a collaboration with The Freelance Movement Tribe (the Philippines’ most active and growing freelancing community), contacted freelance groups and influencers, ran targeted social media advertisements, and paid referral bonuses to early adopters who shared our app with their networks.

Collaborating with The Freelance Movement’s Tribe X Convention, the biggest freelancing meetup in the country, was an important milestone for the Beppo app. This partnership provided us with a valuable opportunity to connect directly with our target audience, freelancers, and showcase the benefits of our app to a highly relevant community.

Through our collaboration with Tribe X, we had the opportunity to present the Beppo app during the event and engage with attendees on a personal level. We conducted a presentation, live demo, and interactive session to introduce the Beppo app, highlight its features, and address any questions or concerns from the freelancers in attendance.

The partnership with Tribe X played a significant role in acquiring our first users. As the attendees of Tribe X meetups were freelancers themselves, they were particularly interested in finding solutions to streamline their financial management. We offered exclusive incentives, such as early access to the app and a massive raffle contest to attendees who downloaded the Beppo app during or after the meetup. This generated initial traction and motivated freelancers to try out our app.

Developing our website and initial online presence was a critical component of our launch strategy. We wanted to make sure that our website was user-friendly and highlighted the important features and benefits of our app. We used pictures and sample videos to show potential clients what our product could achieve, and we made it simple for them to join our beta program.

The branding of the Beppo app and the design of our website,, were driven by a thorough understanding of our target audience, which was achieved through a consumer deep dive. We recognized the importance of resonating with freelancers and capturing their attention right from the start.

During the consumer deep dive, we engaged directly with freelancers and sought their input on various branding elements. We conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather insights into their preferences, values, and aspirations. By listening to their feedback and understanding their needs, we were able to create a brand identity that truly resonated with our target audience.

The branding elements used on the Beppo app and website were carefully chosen to align with the freelancers' preferences and aspirations. We aimed to convey a sense of professionalism, reliability, and simplicity, while also highlighting the benefits and value our app brings to their financial management.

In terms of visual branding, we selected colors, typography, and imagery that evoked a modern and approachable vibe. We wanted freelancers to feel empowered and confident in using our app, so we opted for a clean and intuitive design that conveyed a sense of ease and efficiency.

The messaging and tone of the website were also tailored to appeal to freelancers. We focused on highlighting the key pain points faced by freelancers in managing their finances and showcased how the Beppo app can provide practical solutions. Our messaging emphasized the convenience, time-saving, and organization benefits of using our app, ensuring that freelancers could easily grasp the value proposition.

Also, I'm proud to say that we were fortunate enough to be funded by Wavemaker Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. Their investment allowed us to take our product to the next level and bring our vision to life.

When we pitched the idea of the Beppo app to investors, our pitch deck was designed to effectively communicate the value proposition, market potential, and growth opportunities of our all-in-one finance app for freelancers in the Philippines. The pitch deck comprised several key sections to capture investors' attention and provide a comprehensive overview of our business.

Introduction: We began with a compelling introduction that conveyed the problem statement and the market opportunity. We highlighted the challenges faced by freelancers in managing their finances, the growing freelance market in the Philippines, and the lack of tailored financial solutions for this demographic.

Market Analysis: We presented a thorough market analysis to showcase the potential and size of the target market. This included statistics on the number of freelancers, their average earnings, and the growth projections for the freelance industry in the Philippines. We also emphasized the competitive landscape and highlighted the white space that the Beppo app aimed to fill.

Solution: We clearly outlined the solution the Beppo app offered to freelancers. This included a breakdown of the key features and functionalities, such as expense tracking, invoicing, payment management, and tax calculations. We highlighted the convenience, time-saving, and efficiency benefits of using the Beppo app to streamline financial management.

Unique Selling Points: We focused on the unique selling points that differentiated the Beppo app from competitors.

Business Model: We detailed our revenue model and monetization strategy, which could include subscription plans, transaction fees, or partnerships. We demonstrated the scalability of our business model and projected revenue growth based on market penetration and user acquisition.

Marketing and Growth Strategy: We presented our marketing and user acquisition strategy, outlining how we planned to reach freelancers effectively. This includes digital marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships with freelancing platforms, or referral programs. We also discussed our plans for user retention and engagement.

Financial Projections: We provided financial projections, including revenue forecasts, cost structures, and projected profitability. We demonstrated the potential return on investment for investors and showcased the scalability of our business model.

Team: We introduced the core team members and their expertise, emphasizing their relevant experience in the finance and technology sectors. This helped instill confidence in investors regarding our ability to execute the vision for the Beppo app.

Ask: Finally, we concluded the pitch deck with a clear ask, outlining the amount of funding we were seeking and how the investment would be utilized to drive growth and development.

Throughout the pitch deck, we incorporated visually appealing graphics, charts, and infographics to enhance the presentation and make complex information easily understandable.

Overall, the pitch deck for the Beppo app was designed to effectively communicate the market opportunity, value proposition, growth potential, and financial viability of our business. It aimed to capture investors' interest, address their key concerns, and showcase the unique advantages of investing in our startup.

I apologize for any inconvenience, but I'm unable to provide specific details regarding the funding amount for the Beppo app at this time.

With Wavemaker's support, we were able to expand our team, invest in marketing and outreach efforts, and make important improvements to our product based on user feedback. Their expertise and guidance were invaluable as we navigated the challenges of building and scaling a startup. We're incredibly grateful for Wavemaker's support and confidence in our vision, and we're excited to continue working with them as we grow and evolve.

Their investment has helped us to achieve some important milestones, and we're excited to see what the future holds for our partnership.

The most important lesson we learned from launching our business was the need to remain adaptable and open to feedback. We recognized that our initial product was not flawless, and we needed to be willing to make changes and improvements depending on what our customers told us. We also discovered that establishing a consumer base takes time and effort.

Overall, our launch was a success, and we're quite happy with what we've accomplished thus far. We're still iterating and improving our product, and we're thrilled to see where it takes us in the future.

It's crucial to understand your market, your competitors, and your customer's needs before you start building a product or service.


Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I can tell you that attracting and keeping customers has been a real journey for us. We've had to try lots of different tactics and strategies to find what works, but over time we are learning a lot about what it takes to succeed in the crowded SaaS space.

One of the most important things we've learned is the power of building relationships with our customers. We're constantly reaching out to them for feedback and suggestions, and we've found that this kind of engagement pays off in terms of customer retention and loyalty.

We also make sure to provide personalized support to anyone who needs it, and we're always looking for ways to add value and make their experience with our app as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

In terms of specific tactics, we've had initial success with social media and content marketing. We create high-quality content that speaks directly to the needs and pain points of our target audience, and we make sure it's easy to find and share across multiple channels. We've also run targeted Facebook ad campaigns and email marketing campaigns to drive traffic and sales, and we've seen great results from those efforts.

Our content production system follows a structured and collaborative approach, incorporating the following key components:

Content Strategy: We start by developing a content strategy that aligns with our brand identity, target audience, and business objectives. This strategy outlines the key themes, topics, and formats that we will focus on in our content production efforts.

Editorial Calendar: We maintain an editorial calendar that serves as a roadmap for our content creation. This calendar includes planned content topics, publication dates, and responsible team members. It helps us maintain a consistent publishing schedule and ensures that our content is timely and relevant.

Content Ideation and Research: We encourage a collaborative approach to content ideation, involving team members from various departments. We conduct thorough research to gather insights, identify industry trends, and understand the needs and interests of our target audience. This helps us generate compelling and valuable content ideas.

Content Creation: Our content creation process involves a combination of in-house expertise and collaboration with subject matter experts. We have a team of skilled copywriters and designers who work closely to produce high-quality content. We ensure that our content is well-researched, accurate, and aligned with our brand voice and messaging.

Editing and Review: We have a rigorous editing and review process in place to maintain quality standards. Content goes through multiple rounds of review, where it is checked for grammar, clarity, accuracy, and adherence to brand guidelines. Feedback from reviewers and stakeholders is incorporated to enhance the overall quality of the content.

Style Guide: We maintain a style guide that outlines our preferred writing style, tone, and formatting guidelines. This ensures consistency across all our content pieces and helps maintain a cohesive brand voice.

Performance Monitoring: We continuously monitor the performance of our content through metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversions. This allows us to gather insights and make data-driven decisions to further enhance the quality and effectiveness of our content.

By implementing this content production system, we strive to ensure that our content consistently meets high-quality standards and remains aligned with our brand identity. Regular assessments, feedback loops, and performance monitoring enable us to continuously improve and deliver valuable and engaging content to our audience.

As someone who's been through the ups and downs of launching a startup, I can tell you that it's not an easy road, but it's worth it. If you're an aspiring founder, my biggest piece of advice is to stay true to your vision and keep your customers at the heart of everything you do.

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture, but if you stay focused on why you started your business in the first place and the problem you're trying to solve, it will help guide your decisions and keep you moving forward.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

At this stage, the company is focused on growth and customer acquisition, so it is not yet profitable. However, the company has healthy gross margins and is working on optimizing its operational costs and customer acquisition costs to improve profitability in the future. The return on ad spend is positive, which indicates that the company's advertising efforts are effective in generating revenue.

In terms of customer metrics, the company has a relatively good customer download rate. The monthly traffic and conversion rate are both steadily increasing, which is a positive sign that the company's marketing and website optimization efforts are paying off. The company has also built a solid email subscriber list and social media following, which it leverages for customer engagement and promotion.

We are constantly working to improve the Beppo app and offer new and exciting features to its customers. Soon, we will launch the following features:

Beppo Power of 12:

  • Invoicing with payments (Multi-currency)
  • Recurring Invoices
  • Card Vaulting
  • Automated Payment Reminders
  • Advance Invoice Payment Collection
  • Gcash Integration
  • Marketplace
  • Budget Tracker (Personal)
  • Advanced Templates
  • Beppo University (Advanced)
  • Freelancer Credit Card
  • Chat Support


Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Starting Beppo has been a huge learning experience for me. One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was not fully understanding our target market. We made assumptions about the needs and preferences of freelancers, which led to some poor decisions in the development of our app.

We quickly realized our mistake and worked to pivot our product to better meet the needs of our users. This taught me the importance of thorough market research and the danger of making assumptions without testing them first.

One good decision we made was to focus heavily on user experience and design. We wanted to create an app that was easy and enjoyable to use, which we believe sets us apart from some of our competitors.

Another great decision was partnering with a well-respected financial institution to handle the backend of our app. This has given our users a sense of security and reliability that is essential when dealing with personal finances.

We also had some lucky breaks along the way. The rise of the gig economy and the increasing number of people becoming freelancers has certainly helped our business. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the need for financial stability and made people more open to using digital financial tools like ours.

The lessons I’ve learned from starting Beppo have been invaluable. I’ve learned the importance of being agile and adaptable, of listening to feedback from our users, and of not being afraid to make changes when necessary. I’ve also developed a deeper understanding of the importance of partnerships and the power of strong branding.

Some skills that have been particularly helpful for me throughout this process include strong communication skills, the ability to stay organized and prioritize tasks effectively, and a willingness to take risks and try new things. Overall, the experience of starting Beppo has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding, and I’m excited to see where the future takes us.


What platform/tools do you use for your business?

At Beppo, we rely on a wide range of platforms and tools to help us run our business effectively. One of our favorite tools is Taskade, which we use for project management and collaboration. We love how easy it is to create and assign tasks, and how it helps us keep track of our progress and deadlines.

Another tool we couldn't do without is Mixpanel, which helps us track user behavior and engagement within our app. This has been invaluable for understanding how users interact with our product and making data-driven decisions to improve the user experience.

For customer communication, we use Intercom, which allows us to chat with users directly within our app. We love how it helps us stay connected with our users and gather feedback in real time.

Active Campaign is our go-to tool for email marketing. We love how user-friendly it is and how it allows us to create automated email sequences and segment our audience based on their behavior and interests.

Jira is another essential tool we use for project management and development. It's great for tracking bugs and issues and for keeping our team organized and on-task.

Hubspot is our CRM of choice, helping us manage customer data and track leads. It's a powerful tool that helps us stay on top of our sales pipeline and keep all our customer information in one place.

We also rely on Google Analytics to track website traffic and engagement, as well as a variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and LinkedIn to promote our business and engage with our audience.

Overall, these tools have been essential to our success, helping us streamline our operations, track our progress, and stay connected with our users and customers.


What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

As an accountant and co-founder of Beppo, I've found that staying informed and up-to-date on the latest trends and insights in finance is crucial for the success of our business. Over the years, I've found a few resources that have been particularly influential in shaping my thinking and approach to accounting and finance.

One book that has had a significant impact on me is "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. While it's not specifically about accounting or finance, the book provides valuable insights into the process of creating a successful startup, including the importance of validating assumptions and testing ideas quickly and efficiently. This has been invaluable for us in creating a product that truly meets the needs of our customers and minimizes the risk of failure.

In terms of podcasts, I'm a big fan of "The Accounting Best Practices Podcast" by Steve Bragg. The podcast provides practical tips and insights into accounting best practices, as well as interviews with experts in the field. I've found it to be a valuable resource for staying up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques in accounting.

Overall, I believe that staying informed and continuously learning is critical for success in any field, and these resources have been instrumental in helping me stay on top of my game as an accountant and entrepreneur.


Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My top advice for other entrepreneurs is to stay focused on your customer's needs and stay agile in your approach. This means listening to feedback, adapting quickly, and iterating on your product until you've created something that truly solves their problems.

It's easy to get caught up in your ideas and assumptions, but ultimately, it's the customer who decides whether your business will succeed or fail.

Another piece of advice I have is to be prepared for challenges and setbacks. Starting a business is hard work, and there will inevitably be obstacles along the way. But don't let that discourage you. Instead, use those setbacks as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve your approach.

Finally, I think it's important to stay passionate about what you're doing. Building a successful business takes time and effort, and it's easy to get burnt out if you're not truly invested in what you're doing. So find something that you're passionate about, and focus your energy on making that a reality.

In terms of mistakes I often see other people making, I think one of the biggest is not doing enough research upfront. It's crucial to understand your market, your competitors, and your customer's needs before you start building a product or service. Otherwise, you risk wasting time and resources on something that doesn't solve a problem or meet a need.

Overall, starting a business can be a challenging but rewarding experience. My advice is to stay focused, stay agile, be prepared for challenges, and stay passionate about what you're doing. With hard work, persistence, and a bit of luck, you can build something truly great.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Katherine Castro, Founder of Beppo
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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