Blog and Updates

Being Start-up CEO

August 24, 2017

By: Majorie Labindao, CISM, CVA

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)



A company’s heart is its CEO. Leading startups is probably the hardest task and it is always shouldered by the founder. You start from scratch, and from the scratch, you’ll try to bring something out. ALTPAYNET is not an exception to that. With their fast-paced improvement, there are underlying facts that should be uncovered. Luckily, I was able to have the opportunity to do that. Now, let’s take a look at how Mr. Don Vacal, the CEO of ALTPAYNET gets by.

When asked about the important thing he’s working on right now and how he’s making it happen, the CEO answered that at month 17th of operations, keeping the company above the water with the growing cost and in revenue is such a tremendous challenge. For him, this is the time when every founder say that there is no time to blink. Creativity, prioritization, and team work will get things done, one problem to solve at a time.

ALTPAYNET is an amalgamation of years of experience working with many payment providers around the world and assisting them in delivering solutions to their merchants. According to him, they aim to deliver solutions which take away the major pain points in operating a merchant business or a payment provider business. Their goal is to give the clients the ability focus on things that really matter to them.

Their solutions are derived from their DNA of best of breed technologies, best practices and their network of global partners. Because of these, they go beyond what the others are doing by putting all these ingredients in place and the result is evident—that barriers are broken and making the lives of people working with them easier because they don’t have to worry about payments anymore. They can focus on growing their business and making their customers happy.

ALTPAYNET is his second start-up. After working with global decision makers in the payment industry, the industry and its opportunities are becoming clearer to him, and developing solutions is a little easier. He said that a CEO needs to have that kind of perspective. He also noted that ALTPAYNET is a result of great and wonderful experience. 

I asked him about the biggest risk his company is facing and he smoothly answered with this: “Being a start-up founder is all about taking risks. The moment you embark in this kind of journey, risk is manifesting in all facets, may it be about bad hires, technology not working, lack of funding, better business model or competition, unhappy clients among the many things that can go wrong.”

I also took pleasure in acting like a human resource officer interrogating a future employee. I asked him about the future of ALTPAYNET five years from now and he gave me a concise answer, “Our goal is very clear. We just need to be flexible to some iterations along the way. Like recently, because of the new twist in the gaming industry, we tweaked a little bit to accommodate such industry and now, we are in the position to be the market leader.  The enormous challenge is to be the leader on the global scale. My role is to put all the preparations so scaling can be achieved.”

However, it is not always about successes. As a CEO, making tough decisions is inevitable. Mr. Vacal confessed that he also had a fair share of this dilemma when he let go of someone so dear to the organization. He said that designing and orchestrating payment solutions are easier than dealing with people. But, these sacrifices are necessary.

He told me that what gets him out of bed in the morning is the new learning and opportunity to make things easier for clients. And I believe, that’s a noble thing to do. What keeps him up at night are the emails from Europe or contract preparation. He admitted that he likes to work with documents when he has less distraction. Night time is the best time for that.

Up to the last bit, the answers made me realize his persistence and passion for his craft. Truly, being at the top level management is not a piece of cake, and startups is no big joke. The reality is that in the survival of the fittest, only the brave and strong ones win. ALTPAYNET is equipped with that capacity. We have to brace ourselves. The future that lies ahead is now being plotted carefully. And the next time I interview this CEO, they’ll be on top.

 (The author is a 2017 Summer Intern at ALTPAYNET Manila office taking BA Communication at Ateneo de Naga University and is into creative writing, photography and event management.)