Retail in Asia


Philippine start-up Toki aims to capture a thriving collectibles market

Toki, a recently launched social commerce platform, has set its sights on the potential of the collectibles market in the Philippines. With a passionate community of avid collectors and enthusiasts seeking limited-edition toys, sneakers, and other valuable memorabilia, the market’s growth potential is estimated to reach up to USD5 billion.

Toki aims to cater to the diverse needs and interests of collectors, providing a dedicated platform for buying and selling coveted collectibles in the country.

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Co-founded by four former start-up executives, Frederic Levy, Jules Jurado, Zoe Ocampo, and Prabh Singh, Toki’s digital marketplace also introduces a livestream auction platform that leverages real-time engagement and elevates the collectibles trading experience. To ensure a seamless and secure end-to-end journey, Toki has also partnered with the payment platform GCash and logistics company NinjaVan.

“A well-organised, responsible, and trustworthy seller is an essential element for a successful buying experience,” says Jules Jurado, co-founder of Toki. “Toki aims to address this by ensuring that its marketplace only hosts sellers who have successfully passed our selection and scoring system and that all products are checked by the Toki verification team, so there would be no question whether the product you’re getting is genuine and from a reliable source.”

Source: Shutterstock

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Toki is not limiting its ambitions to the Philippines alone. Recognising the region’s increasing interest in collectibles, the company plans to eventually target the broader Southeast Asian market. As the popularity of collecting various items, such as action figures, trading cards, and limited-edition memorabilia, continues to rise across Southeast Asia, Toki aims to position itself as a leading provider of high-quality and sought-after collectibles.

Retail in Asia speaks with Toki’s CEO and co-founder, Frederic Levy, on the opportunities ahead. 

RiA: How would you describe the collector’s market in Southeast Asia, and the Philippines in particular?
Left: Toki co-founder and CEO Frederic Levy. Source: Toki

Frederic Levy: We conducted a comprehensive study to understand the collectors’ behaviour in the region. The collectible market is now a lucrative and growing industry, with Southeast Asia alone accounting for USD60 billion.

Each country supports a robust re-commerce industry and numerous collectors, but specifically for the Philippines, the market has experienced significant growth, reaching a value of USD5 billion, with approximately 40 percent of the population identifying as collectors.

RiA: Tell us a bit about your background and how you and your co-founders arrived at the idea of Toki. 

Levy: I’ve spent over 17 years in the Philippines, deeply involved in the tech industry. My journey has encompassed various entrepreneurship projects as well as leading executive positions in well-known tech companies. In my last significant role as chief commercial officer at GCash, where I served for nearly four years, I connected with colleagues who shared more than just a professional bond; we were united by a passion for collecting. Our regular discussions about our collecting experiences revealed a shared vision.

From securing payments and verifying authenticity to overcoming logistical barriers and addressing the lack of customer support, collectors, including ourselves, often face a myriad of challenges. Driven to address these issues, we were inspired to launch Toki, the first social commerce platform tailored for collectibles. Our approach is comprehensive, featuring stringent seller selection, thorough product verification, escrow payment systems, and secured, protected delivery, just to name a few of the features that make Toki’s offering unique.

Source: Shutterstock

But Toki’s vision extends beyond these functionalities. With my co-founders, Zoe, Ocampo, Jules Jurado, and Prabh Singh, we’ve also engaged with collector communities, integrating their feedback and needs into our platform. Toki is more than just a marketplace; it’s a commitment to enhancing the entire collecting experience, ensuring a safer and more reliable environment for both buyers and sellers.

RiA: Can you share more on Toki’s offerings as a livestream auction platform?

Levy: We aim to cater to a diverse array of experiences for collectible enthusiasts, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. The allure often lies in discovering unique items and engaging in strategic price negotiations; these are integral aspects of the collector’s journey. This inspired us to innovate within the Philippine market by introducing live stream auctions, directly facilitated by our sellers from their offices, warehouses, or even their homes.

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Our platform is engineered with advanced technology, designed to deliver a rapid, seamless user experience free from latency issues. It offers real-time interactive capabilities with the seller and other buyers, almost replicating the experience of being physically present at the auction. It’s an exhilarating experience that’s definitely worth trying. The excitement is simply irresistible.