IN 2002 KMC Group Chairman and Cofounder Gregory Kittelson arrived in the Philippines to do some Web projects for a few months. Fifteen years later, he ended up staying and getting involved in various businesses.
“Things have been very good. I think in general, there’s a lot of economic growth in the Philippines in a wide variety of industries that create opportunities,” Kittelson said in a recent interview with the BusinessMirror.
I think that I have been very lucky in selecting exceptionally smart and talented business partners where we, together, have conceptualized and built businesses. And then, from there, we form a strong management to assist us with the execution that will help us see opportunities and trends in all the industries that we’re in,” he added.
The path to growth
Kittelson credits the growth of the business to the establishment of Kittelson and Carpo Consulting by Kittelson himself and lawyer Amanda Carpo. The company developed the initial concept of assisting foreign companies interested in setting up and doing business in the Philippines. When Michael McCullough joined the team, the consulting firm put up KMC Solutions and KMC Savills. KMC Solutions is now the largest of the three.
Kittelson said he is fortunate because his business partners are very smart, dynamic and talented, bringing different strengths to the table. “And I think you have to have intelligence, hard work and integrity as the base for the founders of any company,” he added.
He said KMC Solutions is a nimble company because it does not have the usual setup found in a typical business organization, such as board of advisers or investors. Now that the KMC group is a bit more mature, KMC Solutions and KMC Savills are essentially run by a board who are also the principal shareholders.
KMC Solutions is quite excited nowadays with its current business–coworking space. Actually, KMC Solutions is not a tyro in this area, as it has been a pioneer in the serviced-office market. With the changing times, a convergence between coworking and serviced office emerged.
“Coworking is just really having more open space, having more community, collaboration, between the individuals, the companies that are inside the space, and we’re adjusting our facilities to accommodate that coworking culture inside the common areas of our existing and future serviced-office, seat-leasing facilities,” Kittelson explained.
“We’re really combining the two. But, as a result, that’s really flexible office solutions, and that’s what KMC Solutions is—it’s flexible office solutions,” he added.
Kittelson said there is lot of uptake, or the occupiers for KMC Solution’s newest offering. Aside from the serviced office, other potential clients are information technology-business process management companies, outsourcing operations, start-ups whether it’s tech or nontech.
He stressed these people are looking for areas to work in that will allow them to interact with like-minded individuals and businesses that are interested in collaboration, in community and various type of events.
KMC Solutions recently opened its latest coworking facility in Makati City. At the fifth floor of the V Corporate Centre along Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, the facility called Flexible Workspace, a 2500-square-meter facility, is so far the largest of its kind in the country and the first to integrate wellness amenities that cater to businesses of all sizes. Kittelson said KMC Solutions has developed various special services to help businesses in the country grow through their spaces, staff augmentation and enterprise services.
Although there’s lot of people urging KMC Solutions to enter the overseas coworking-space market, Kittelson prefers to focus on the Philippines because KMC thinks there is great opportunity here, specifically in Metro Manila and Cebu, and eventually, other areas of the Philippines.
“I think we’re experts in the Philippines. And we want to really stick to what we know, and be experts in that area. I can’t tell you I’m an expert in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, because I’m not. I didn’t live there for 15 years. I haven’t done business there in 15 years. I’ve lived and done business here for 15 years,” he pointed out.
Things so far have been going great for the KMC group. The Rhode Island native expects growth in the current and future periods. He said the KMC group is studying the coming trends and ready to make the adjustments if needed. “But it’s pretty much full steam ahead in everything that we do.”
Kittelson blames the Filipinos for making him stay longer in his second country. He said the Philippines is such a lovely place to make friends, to interact, within the Filipino community and the foreign community. “It’s a very happy, friendly environment, and I think that’s what really makes a lot of people want to stay.”