An accidental entrepreneur. This could very well describe the story of Chris Egan Roxas, who founded the internationally awarded startup, XS Multimedia. Roxas describes his company as a “one-stop shop” for corporate communication and branding needs. He describes it as an advertising agency, a broadcasting and media production outfit, and graphic design studio rolled into one. But the company’s evolution into what it is today had been the result of a need and an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
Roxas says it was in 2011 when he found himself at a crossroads. “I was an art director in GMA 7, and I quit my job to do freelance. I was also at the lowest point in my life.” He started getting a decent amount of projects, until one time when he decided to pitch to a company that asked him where his team was. Not wanting to lose the chance to do a project, he says his instant reply was that his team was already working on the presentation. With loud laughter he declared that he won the project but was now facing another dilemma — he needed to form a team.
He was eventually able to finish that project on his own, but he also realized that he needed to formally set up his own agency if he was going to make it in this business. So he used the payment given to him by his corporate client — which he says was quite sizable because it was an agency’s rate — and used it to buy professional grade machines and equipment. In time, he was also able to form his own team as the projects and his network grew.
It was in 2012 that he was formally able to set up the company which he called XS Design Studio. The startup, composed of young and equally talented individuals like him, quickly grew up in rank and recognition. Roxas says he was able to get projects internationally, and in 2013 they earned the award “5th Hardest Working Start Up Company in the World” in Dublin, Ireland. The award was given during WebSummit 2013, where XS Design Studio was chosen out of 15,000 startups across countries.
Roxas says the award eventually paved the way for more international projects to come their way. At the same time, their local clientele and network also grew. Soon, the company also began making TV commercials for both local and multinational companies in the Philippines.
In 2015, Roxas changed the name of the company to XS Multimedia, to reflect the evolution of what his startup company had become today. They have accepted projects from all over Asia, all the way to several European countries and even as far as Russia. The company had also become much bigger, with more than 20 employees taking on various projects simultaneously, from the initial number of just being Roxas as the one-man team.
The company also recently won at the Red Herring’s Top 100 Asia Forum, where Roxas presented his company’s winning strategy to an audience of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors from all over Asia.
The young CEO says XS Multimedia is looking at even brighter prospects for 2016. He says they will continue to push the current standards in their industry by bringing in more innovations in their work and at the same time breaking down barriers from one country to another to make their industry’s work even more seamless, no matter where the projects may be.
As with any other enterprise, Roxas says his corporate journey was full of unexpected twists and turns. Yet he wouldn’t have it any other way. This is his true passion, he says, which makes the challenges he had to go through “very much worth it.” This also means his business is currently taking up most of his time nowadays, and any other interests that he has would have to be in the back burner for the time being. On days he needs to relax, he says he sometimes goes out with his friends. Another form of relaxation for him is singing, although never professionally. “I just like to go out and sing with my friends as a way to de-stress.”