A guitar and music enthusiast is living the life he can only dream of. As founder and CEO of an up and rising business process outsourcing (BPO) company, Victor Madlangbayan can only speak of opportunities that sustained his company and workers, and of opportunities yet to come.
He established MADLABS.ph, a start-up BPO firm, with co-founder Marlon Nuez, another old hand in the BPO game, from a concept that cropped up in a catch-up conversation during the 25th alumni homecoming at his high school alma mater.
Everything started when he got a redundancy offer for one of his technical staff. As the project engineer and the immediate supervising official, he knew the situation will not bode well for his deputy. He then offered to promote his assistant, and packed-up for an early retirement opportunity.
“Which is exactly the perfect timing since there was this offer from a client in France needing first level technical support. The offer was to set up a Manila branch but I coaxed them into letting me put up my own company and them outsource the work to me,” he said, adding that he has been hopping from one multinational firm to another in the last 15 years.
The retirement package he got from his previous job served as seed money for his BPO venture. It was in February 2020 that the company officially operated, just a month after the pandemic lockdown started, but business seemed to be as brisk as ever, withstanding pandemic challenges and getting through the crisis unscathed.
A year in the pandemic and over a million pesos paid for lease in an empty office in Rockwell had Madlangbayan transferred the business to an offsite in Tagaytay City, but the business retained a virtual office in Rockwell where front desk functions are still kept.
From the get go, MADLABS.ph offers 24/7 first level technical support but by mid-2022, the BPO was accorded another function for second level support. It also provides IT and project management services.
The French client, a VPN (virtual private network) provider, stayed with the BPO firm throughout the pandemic giving livelihood to about 9 to 11 workers but with the recent added roles, MADLABS.ph has already expanded its labor force to around 30 workers, including administrative staff.
The MADLABS CEO said he’s a firm believer in grabbing opportunities as they come, to go fast, but he makes sure to put the brakes on. He knows that while the business is self-funded, the fact remains that the firm is still a young start-up.
“We don’t want to spend ourselves thinly. That’s why having one customer is good enough for us, for now,” he said.
MADLABS.ph is in talks with a client for a small campaign, basically providing technical support. PayPal, however, is looking for a 50-seater capacity for its latest expansion in the Philippines. MADLABS.ph has been considering the business proposal, even toying with the idea of further expanding its capacity to accommodate the new campaign, but admitted that it will be a bit expensive for the company to set-up camp for at least 50 call center agents, at this point in time, when it has already jumped into a new acquisition deal and plans for a new business that is entirely dissimilar to BPO.
Under MADLABS.ph , two units are operating—the ITOPS.MADLABS.PH for IT operations outsourcing and the APPS.MADLABS.PH, for applications development and project management. These 2 units are the bread and butter of MADLABS GROUP, INC., a holding firm that Madlangbayan is setting up to integrate several companies that are of personal significance. The recently formed companies will be an avenue to vent his passion for music and guitars.
While one may wonder at what point will a BPO and music blend together, the answer is MADLABS GROUP, INC.
“That’s the nice thing of having a holding company, it can put together companies that may or may not have common ground except that they are part of a parent company. The way I set up the company is that it should accommodate all my interests. While my DNA is software development and project management, my heart beats for music. And that pushed me to acquire a guitar factory needing urgent assistance,” Madlangbayan said.
Freakquency Guitars is a small guitar firm MADLABS GROUP acquired not too long ago. The factory offers bespoke designs to clients not limited to the Philippines. Many of the buyers come from overseas.
“Our guitars are priced accordingly depending on the raw materials used. The kind of wood used for the guitar has the biggest weight in terms of pricing. We have guitar designs ranging from P24,000 per unit to about to about P68,000 per unit,” Madlangbayan said.
For now, the MADLABS GROUP’s guitar unit is serving pre-booked orders and it may take time to accept new orders.
While having 2 companies seem enough to tire his soul, Madlangbayan is setting up another company—the Dotted 8 Note Studio—a recording studio-cum-lounge bar that will cater to musicians and the crowd within the radius of the condominium building where his residence is located.
The MADLABS CEO admitted that the area where his condominium unit is located lacks entertainment value, thus his plan to create a space where he can house his musical equipment collection and stir an honest-to-goodness musical scene.
The studio will occupy the clubhouse of the building where he and his family are residing. MADLABS GROUP aims to transform the clubhouse into an iconic den for music lovers.
The 72-square meter development will house a recording studio that will be open to rehearsals, voice and music recording; a space for digital content where music videos, advertisements and similar ideas may gestate; and, a lounge bar where food and alcoholic beverages will be served while people wait for their turn to use the studio and for people who are out for entertainment.
“The bar will create a venue for gigs and similar activities. My primary market will be the residents here which is a mix of expats and uppity market. If we get an average 10 to 15 patrons a night, that is good enough since the place is still primarily for recording, and the lounge is just an extra. I’m a believer of find something you love and you go to work everyday,” Madlangbayan said adding that he was lucky to have find the perfect vehicle for his mortal desires.
The Dotted 8th Note Studio will be part of the entertainment segment of the MADLABS GROUP which will also give rise to MADLABS.TV, which is basically a youtube channel.
Construction has barely commenced and may take at least 2 months for the transformation to happen. The studio will be the home of some of Madlangbayan’s precious collection of guitars, guitar effects and sound systems.
He admitted his penchant for collecting guitars is a hobby that has grown expensive, as it can get. In his current collection of guitars, the priciest ones cost P140,000 above per unit and he has at least 7 of them. The rest are cheaper units, but nonetheless, still pricey for an average collector. His collection is purely of electric guitars and the lone acoustic guitar was a gift from his wife.
There is never a month that passed when he does not buy anything for his collection. He spends at least P50,000 for guitar effects and other sound systems that he fancies.
He amassed his huge collection of guitars during the pandemic when he can’t think of anything else to do, and by sheer boredom bought guitars on a whim.
On the horizon he added, is possibly, the establishment of a pet hotel. But that would still be far down on his wish list.
Madlangbayan has been with the IT industry for 24 years now, starting as a software developer and worked his way up the corporate ladder, from team lead, project lead, software architect, project manager to operations manager. His background as a Computer Science graduate from De La Salle Cavite served him well from being a tech hand, and now as business owner and entrepreneur.
Born and raised in Silang, Cavite, his father was a war veteran who worked as a telegraph operator until retirement. His mother was a teacher who eventually retired as a principal in Lalaan Elementary School Silang II.
Looking back, it was long shot to have gotten this far, but things continue to get rosy for this Gen X entrepreneur. Who knows what a serial investor like him may soon find worthy of putting his money where his heart is.