Kevin Tan on how to make living in this crisis easier

Published August 7, 2020, 9:54 PM

by Jane Kingsu-Cheng

His new baby, the newest on-demand delivery app, Pick.a.roo, is designed to make contactless shopping faster and easier for Filipino families

It took more than a year for Megaworld’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer Kevin Tan to find the mobile app he was looking for. But prior to that search, he had anticipated that the demand for online shopping would only grow bigger. “We’ve been trying to figure out a way to merge the two, because we believe that the online stores cannot survive without a physical presence, and a physical store cannot also survive without an online presence. Ultimately, it’s going to be a marriage of the two that will define the new retail landscape,” says the father-of-two.

Meet and plan 

Call it perfect timing, but he bumped into Crystal Gonzalez (who was the former country head of on-demand delivery application service Honestbee Philippines) in September last year and the rest, as they say, is history. This wasn’t the first time they’d met though. Their friendship goes way back to when Crystal launched mobile messaging application Viber and worked with Kevin on many partnerships. 

Kevin reveals that both he and his wife Michelle were customers of Honestbee. With the untimely and sudden closure in April, Kevin knew that working with Crystal might just be the solution he had been searching for. He called and met up with her over coffee, and told her “I want it (the app) to expand to not just grocery and food, but to retail.” There’s no model that fit the requirements and features he was looking for, so they had to build this from scratch, and Crystal was excited. “She’s been wanting to redo the whole business model. I, for one, was looking to create an even better app. It’s a good synergy,” adds Kevin.

DADS KNOW BEST Pick.a.roo co-founders Kevin Tan’s daughter Kathleena loves the unicorn logo

The two moved fast and got the ball rolling, and this pandemic wasn’t a hindrance to their timeline. “Seventy percent of our work was done through video calls, so it really just galvanizes the whole digitalization strategy,” Kevin continues. “And when Covid-19 happened, we had a bigger purpose. We expanded our thrust and how we wanted to make this app. We added a lot of features.” 

Even better

Pick.a.roo, the premium all-in-one delivery app, is set to help make living in this crisis a little bit better. “You’re stuck at home and already stressed. The last thing you want is for your items to arrive late or not arrive at all. Worst—if they made the mistake of delivering wrong items,” Kevin continues. “We want to aid them in these uncertain times. Obviously, this is not going to go away anytime soon.” 

MOMMY’S ASSISTANT Crystal Gonzalez, with daughter Bella, dreams to make online shopping a breeze for Filipinos

“We want to be able to save you the time that’s normally spent going through different platforms and channels doing trial-and-error with different suppliers. Because in Pick.a.roo, we already did this for you. We’ve curated the items and tested the product. We hope to alleviate all the troubles that everyone is experiencing with all our products and give a little luxury. We try to make this new normal a better experience for everybody,” shares Crystal.

With over 300 brands and counting, Kevin, who is also a father, wants to “add more inventory that is relevant for young parents.” They have also expanded to include Covid essentials, makeup, personal care, and more. “We’re talking to our mall tenants to bring in really good quality products, so all you need to do is just click one button,” shares Kevin on their mission of completing the lifestyle shopping experience through this app.

JUST ONE APP Homegrown all-Filipino company Pick.a.roo is set to change the on-demand shopping landscape

Another wonderful feature is the real-time replacement where the user will be notified of out-of-stock items and recommendations for replacements. They are also targeting complete payment of your goods and delivering to your doorstep within 60 minutes, with real-time updates and alerts through the app. And since it’s an on-demand service, the company has over 1,500 shoppers and riders to make sure all orders are met on the same day of booking. “You don’t wait for a day or a week. You get it today. It’s a different proposition of what you’re normally used to when it comes to retail, and that’s our commitment. We want to make our services really reliable and fast,” says Kevin who adds that they are adding a lot of people, depending on the demand per time slot. “So if we see that there is a huge demand at a certain time, we will add more (staff) for tomorrow. We’re very proactive that way.”

SAFETY FIRST All of its 1,500 employees are tested and given the proper PPE to ensure all items are safe for delivery

With the number of Covid-19 cases going up, Crystal, who comes from a family of doctors, knows that hygiene and safety were of utmost importance. “We really took it to a different level. I personally felt very responsible in making sure that other moms like me would feel safe when they order from the app. We invested in rapid testing, even PPE (personal protective equipment) may seem a bit too much, but they are for the safety of our people and our customers. I think there is no such thing as being too careful. We’re also a Filipino company that cares for our crew. The fact that we are investing in life insurance, giving them financial literacy programs, protection, and training are some of the things that we are very proud of,” shares the mom-of-two.

Whimsical and reliable

They’ve obviously thought things through very well, but there’s more. We couldn’t get our eyes off their vibrant and fun logo—a unicorn with a technicolor mane set on a solid teal colored background. Kevin reveals that both he and Crystal, co-founders of the app, enjoyed conceptualizing and coming up with a story behind their brand logo. Kevin was quick to share that the chosen teal color is one his favorites while the unicorn was Crystal’s idea. “We are also targeting parents who have young children. When I showed my daughter the logo, she went crazy. Easily, she kept saying ‘Pick.a.roo.’ It resonates with children. I think they are the real influencers in the household, and they are also our future customers.”

“Think of Pick.a.roo as your full of life online butler who brings you the best options online in one app,” says Crystal. Kevin adds, “It’s your whimsical assistant and he’s here to help you.”

*Pick.a.roo is the first start-up investment of Agile Digital Ventures, the technology and digital investment arm of property giant, Megaworld. It will be available on closed beta on Aug. 16 for the first 188 invite-only users. It will be available to more users in key cities in Metro Manila on Aug. 18 with an introductory service fee of P168 per delivery, P80 delivery fee and P88 for shopper fee). For more details, follow @pickarooapp on Instagram and pickarooph on Facebook. For more information on and their brand partners, visit