Robertson Chiang: The Chinoy behind Dragonpay

The pandemic has made online transactions the ultimate hero. In the past two years, online payments have taken over our bills payment, online grocery shopping payments, even for sending money for personal or business, and all of these while avoiding physical contact with other people and handling cash. This is why having a safe and secure platform that will address our money needs is crucial. 

Luckily, in the Philippines, there is Dragonpay—one of the most accessible and reliable payment solution providers in the past decade. Knowing the low credit card penetration here, Dragonpay spearheaded the “no credit card needed” for online payment transactions which spurred its growth and made it one of the key fintech leaders in the country today. 

In case you don’t know, or have been living under a rock, Dragonpay serves as a mediator between buyers and sellers. It is also a one-stop-shop gateway where sellers who use various online platforms can make payments to their selected merchants. Behind this successful ten-year-old payment solution company is a humble Chinoy businessman who stumbled upon the idea of Dragonpay by chance. 

Before Robertson “Dick” Chiang became the founder and CEO of Dragonpay, he took on many different roles.

After Dick graduated top of his class with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1991, he immediately worked as a system analyst in one of the country’s most reputable banks.

But after two years, he felt urged to pursue higher studies that would complement his technology background with business know-how.

Robertson flew to Massachusetts for an MBA degree at the prestigious Babson Graduate School of Business. While in the US, he saw first-hand the potential of the Internet even in the early dialup days and immediately went home to the Philippines after graduation to start his first business.

Planet Internet—a then Internet Service Provider (ISP)—was one of the pioneers in the local online industry. It quickly expanded to the provinces through alliances with like-minded tech entrepreneurs. The company was later bought by Mozcom, the Philippines’ first commercial ISP, and Dick joined Mozcom as its Chief Technology Officer, then later as its President.

In 2012, Robertson decided to quit his 9 to 5 job in Mozcom to focus his full time and attention on his own startup Dragonpay.

“The original intention of Dragonpay was to allow people to pay using their online banking account. But after testing it out for a few months, I quickly realized it was still minimal as the Philippines’ banking market is only about 20 percent of the population, and most people do not have access to Internet banking altogether,” Dick tells CHiNOYTV.

“The next logical conclusion was to expand the service to include over-the-counter payments, and that’s when things really picked up,” the CEO adds. 

Fast forward to today, not only does Dragonpay partner with various banks and over-the-counter payment merchants, but it also connects customers to e-commerce platforms such as Shopee.

When asked what made him decide to name his online payment solutions company as such, Dick answers with a laugh, “as much as I would like to claim that the name “dragon” was inspired by my Chinoy heritage, the reality is much more boring than that. I was mixing and matching words and seeing which ones were not yet registered as a domain name with a “.ph” extension.”

“We recognized the challenge early on that the Philippines has a very low penetration for credit cards and that people preferred to pay through other means like cash, e-wallets, etc. So we built a payment collection platform around these alternative channels and became the biggest player in that space,” Dick further explains. 

Given that Dragonpay’s main line of business is collecting payments, one of the biggest challenges that Robertson faces up to this day is establishing trust with more partnerships.

“You have to convince the merchants to trust you with the payment collection and that you won’t run away with their money. You also have to convince the buyers to trust you with their payments as a 3rd party collector,” according to Robertson.

As the founder and CEO of Dragonpay, Robertson, along with more than 50 employees, thrives on the idea of honesty and integrity in dealing with money as their primary business line.

“If you lose your honesty and integrity, the whole business model crumbles down. I expect the same from my employees. They have to conduct their work with the same approach,” Roberston explains.

What’s next for Dragonpay? The CEO is optimistic that despite the pandemic’s ongoing challenges, the future looks promising for his company. Dick proudly shares the newest partnership he’s currently working on to make Dragonpay more reliable and accessible to more Filipinos. 

“Just recently, we announced the strategic investment of Xendit to Dragonpay. Xendit is a regional financial services company backed by preeminent investors from Silicon Valley and Asia, including Accel Partners, Kleiner Perkins, East Ventures, and GoldenGate Ventures,” Dick announces proudly. 

Through this alliance, according to Dick, Dragonpay will be able to provide more cost-effective ways to process online payments, empowering Filipino businesses and addressing the ever-growing payment needs of the Philippine market.

“We have to be ready for the inevitable globalization of e-commerce. Being part of a more extensive regional payment network will allow us to open doors for both Filipino online merchants to access buyers worldwide, and conversely, for the merchants abroad to cater to Filipino consumers,” Dick ends. 

Did you like what you’ve just read? Then, follow CHiNOYTV on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok for more content like this one!

Leave a Reply