Podcast Notes | Startup Talks: Ray Refundo – Scaling from 0 to Raising $2 Million+

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Speaker Info: Ray Refundo is the founder of Aqwire, formerly known as Qwikwire, where payments from anywhere in the world are securely, and efficiently collected. With over 10 years of Finance experience, and as the founder of MoneyTran, one of the first online remittance platforms back in 2004 – Ray talks about how he started, & how he creates social impact through his company. He also talks about investor relations, how he handles his people, and how he was able to scale.

This podcast is hosted by Vince Loremia and Joy Garingo.

Vince is the  co-founder of Startup Island PH & the founder of Cleaningly – a tech driven cleaning services company based in Australia. He had also founded two startups: Tudlo Innovation Solutions –  a mobile and web application that was initially developed for disaster awareness and management, and Kallfly, an On-Demand virtual Contact Center marketplace, connecting businesses with experienced home-based call center agents.

Joy is the General Manager of The Company’s co-working spaces & shared office facility in Cebu. The Company was created by Zero-ten Park which is an award winning creative agency based in Fukuoka, Japan. The Company has 10+ spaces in 5 countries! Aside from co-working spaces, The Company Cebu also offers offices for rent in Cebu City & Mandaue City.


  • How AQWIRE began:
    • From the woes of work back in 2014, Ray had enough with ranting and discussing day-to-day job troubles. A couple of drinks with close friends and the typical chatter turned them to founders of an international prop-tech platform and company.
    • Along the way to success, some co-founders left but Ray clarifies that there are no hard feelings, just hard choices through hard times.

Key Takeaways:

  • One’s upbringing, family name, and even educational background does not directly relate you to the path of success.
  • Ray admits that there are implications of privilege that drove him to some opportunities, however, it was through establishing a strong mindset or mentality towards perceived goals that truly cements you to the path of success.
  • Ray tells the clear-cut truth of early motivation for his company – money. This entails the integral focus on the business side of things and to allow your company to competitively stand and flourish.
  • Ray continues to respond truthfully by saying:
    • Startups NEED networking
    • Pivot your company towards what the customer wants
    • The risk always decreases as you fail – failure is crucial for learning
  • Additionally, investors are consciously and constantly aware of where the company is built on paper. Startups that link their business with the United States and Singapore bring a strong influence towards an investors potential collaboration – follow the money!
  • Ray’s formula when getting THE investment begins with relevant traction and growth. A company should be able to measure and present growth – boost your sales!
  • When dealing with “money talk” to investors:
    • Talk clearly, enunciate and give straightforward information
    • The faster you give your plans or ideas, the better
    • Don’t confuse investors – make things simple for you and for them
  • But when you get the funding, where do you invest it?
    • Invest in the product directly!
    • Invest in tools, equipment and FOCUS on the nearest path to revenue
    • Only start hiring when there are customers
  • “Most of human conflict is caused by miscommunication, be empathetic. The failures of the past can be achievements of the future”
  • In talks of the ideal organizational style & culture, it is best to – 
    • Create a decision making process and empower those who take them.
    • NEVER say ‘I told you so’ – encourage and look for ways to deal with the hiccups.
    • Make a clear leader for the team.
    • Always ask for opinions and deal with the problem together.
    • BUILD a safe and comfortable space.
  • In terms of innovation, what will surprise you the most is that interns or the ‘young blood’ are more likely to be the first on board. This is because the people with little to no experience are those who show the most interest and create the biggest drive.
  • “When passion runs out, then discipline kicks in. Passion gets you started, discipline gets you to the finish line.”

Listen to the podcast episode on Spotify, Anchor.fm, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, and Facebook.

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